Buckhorn Lake, Ontario, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Ontario -

Also known as:  Trent-Severn Waterway, Kawartha Lakes

Part of the Kawartha Chain of Lakes, Buckhorn Lake is one of the many lakes that make up the famed Trent-Severn Waterway. The waterway connects Lake Ontario at Trenton to the Georgia Bay part of Lake Huron at Port Severn. Construction of the waterway started in 1833 at Kawartha Lakes and took 87 years to complete. It wasn’t until 1920 that the first boat was able to make the entire trip. Originally built for commercial use, the Trent-Severn Waterway spans 240 miles with 20 miles of manmade canals and includes 44 locks, 39 swing bridges and 160 dams and water control structures. There is also a marine railway at Big Chute that moves boats between the upper and lower sections of the Severn River.

Along with the manmade canals, the waterway includes the Trent and Otonabee Rivers and the Kawartha Lakes and Lake Simcoe. The waterway was never quite large enough to be viable as a commercial route, and today it is managed by Parks Canada for recreational use. The Trent-Severn Waterway includes 2,796 miles of shoreline, 123,520 acres of water and 18 hydroelectric plants and is open for navigation across southern Ontario’s “cottage country” from May through October. Buckhorn Lock is located at the halfway point of the waterway and is one of the busiest locks in the system.

Buckhorn Lake was created in 1830 when John Hall built a sawmill and dam. The lake was first known as Hall’s Bridge, but Mr. Hall’s habit of displaying his large collection of deer antlers on the outside of the mill led to the name Buckhorn Lake. The name wasn’t officially changed until 1936 long after Hall’s death. Before Mr. Hall passed away in 1883, he gave every female in the community a plot of land to encourage the hamlet of Buckhorn to grow. It has grown while at the same time maintaining its charm. There are restaurants (some on the water), shops with unusual treasures, and historic buildings to stroll past.

The community of Buckhorn has parks on both sides of the locks with nature walks and ample opportunities for bird watching. Bike trails turn to groomed trails for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in winter. Just a short walk from Buckhorn Lake are two boulders known as the Adam and Eve rocks. Legend says that if two lovers hold hands and each touches one of the boulders, they will have a blessed life. With its towering glacial rocks and cool, clear water, Buckhorn Lake is a charming, romantic part of Ontario, Canada.

The Kawartha Lakes extend 44 miles from Balsam Lake in the west to Stony Lake in the east. Buckhorn Lake along with Lake Chemong and Pigeon Lakes are referred to as the Tri-lakes because they are really one body of water with three names. As a result, boaters, kayakers and anglers have easy access to all three lakes. Lovesick Lake was also intended to become part of Buckhorn Lake. It didn’t flood enough, however, to completely combine. Water levels on all the Kawartha Lakes are lowered in the fall and winter to prepare for snow melt.

Buckhorn Lake is the sixth largest of all the Kawartha Lakes, but it is the third for shoreline miles. The lake itself has 43.8 miles and the islands have 25.9 miles. The shore is ringed with sand beaches and lakefront vacation rentals. There is real estate available for sale around the lake and in neighboring communities. There are several islands in Buckhorn Lake, including Flat Island and Seaweed Island favored by house boats. The weed beds around Red Rock Island are a particularly good spot for anglers. Pickerel, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, perch and muskie are all abundant in the lake.

A little over an hour and a half from Toronto, Buckhorn Lake is 20 minutes from the City of Peterborough. In the forest to the northeast of the city, Petroglyph Provincial Park preserves the largest known concentration of Aboriginal petroglyghs. Over 900 deer, turtles, snakes, birds and humans are carved into the white marble. Trails wind through the 4,060 acre-park which shares a border with the Peterborough Crown Game Reserve. White tail deer, beaver, otters, wolves, turkey and ruffed grouse can all be seen at the park.

Buckhorn Lake and the Trent-Severn Waterway may not have succeeded as a commercial waterway, but they have more than succeeded as a recreational one. Visitors flock every year to enjoy the hundred of miles of water and beauty of southern Ontario’s “cottage country.”

Things to do at Buckhorn Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Provincial Park

Fish species found at Buckhorn Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass

Buckhorn Lake Photo Gallery

Buckhorn Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Parks Canada

Surface Area: 7,880 acres

Shoreline Length: 70 miles

Average Depth: 7 feet

Maximum Depth: 47 feet

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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