Chemong Lake, Ontario, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Ontario -

Also known as:  Lake Chemong, Lake Chemung

Chemong Lake is the largest lake in the Kawartha Chain of Lakes, covering more than 5,630 acres. This lake holds historical significance for the residents in and around Peterborough, Ontario. Stretching almost nine miles in length, the lake was a major obstacle to travel for early settlers before there were roads or bridges built. Those with access to boats used the lake and the connecting waterways to travel throughout the region. Chemong Lake connects with other lakes in the Kawartha region, and became part of the famed Trent-Severn Waterway system of locks and canals. Now, Chemong Lake’s miles of shoreline and many islands constitute highly prized water frontage for cottagers and year-round residents. The large number of pleasure craft passing through the lakes each summer means business is always booming for the several marinas and lakeside retailers. Chemong Lake, along with connected Buckhorn and Pigeon Lakes, are called the ‘Tri-Lakes’ system and host more fishing tournaments than any other group of lakes in the Kawartha region.

Tournament anglers are most often after the largemouth bass in the lakes, but other fishermen are just as happy to snag smallmouth bass, walleye, perch, muskellunge or panfish. The long stretch of water provides plenty of boating recreation, including sailing, power boating, water skiing, tubing and pontooning. Boats anchored in the lee of an island may be fishing or taking a break to dip in the shallows. Since the early development of the Trent-Severn Waterway in 1824, the Chemong Lake community has had plenty of time to develop amenities for visiting boaters. Bait shops, marinas, boat rentals, boat-accessible restaurants and even boat-in bed-and-breakfasts dot the shoreline. Villages along the shore usually offer beach areas and park lands adjacent to the lake.

Only five miles from the major city of Peterborough, Chemong Lake receives many visitors from the surrounding area throughout the year. Many head to the beach offered at the Selwyn Beach Conservation Area. Here, visitors enjoy picnicking, swimming, horseshoes and badminton. In winter, the area offers cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ice skating. There are events and festivals going on year-round at the small villages around the lake, including the Chemong Lake Triathlon. The BEL (Bridgenorth Ennismore Lakefield) Rotary Polar Plunge has been an annual event for over 30 years and the site of great hilarity as the intrepid swimmers brave frigid temperatures to take their annual dip from the edge of the ice to raise funds for charity. The area is filled with hiking paths and mountain biking trails and is the perfect location to get off the water and enjoy a little dry-land exercise.

Tucked between towering rock walls in some areas, Chemong Lake can be treacherous to the uninformed boater. Parks Canada operates the Trent-Severn Waterway and provides navigation charts that cover the most difficult areas and explain the location and operation of the many locks that allow boats to access differing water levels. Although Chemong Lake was originally a smaller natural lake, dam construction along the Kawartha system raised water levels and left some areas with barely submerged rocks. Good navigational maps are a necessity for those with larger boats. Smaller boats can go nearly anywhere on the lake, and canoes and kayaks often ply the near-shore waters and the Harrington Narrows leading to Buckhorn Lake. It’s easy to understand why so many have built their dream cottage along Chemong Lake, and why seasonal rentals are in such high demand.

Early in Chemong Lake’s history, locals made efforts to solve their lake-crossing problems by use of a floating log bridge that stretched nearly a mile from shore to shore. Although ingenious and in use for many years, the bridge was finally replaced with the James A. Gifford Causeway connecting east and west shores via the towns of Bridgenorth and Ennismore. Although many seasonal residents swell the summer population, a strong group of year-round residents provide all of the services of a much larger community such as medical care, schools, and parks. With Peterborough only five miles away, big city entertainment and shopping are close enough to be easily accessed. There are a number of golf courses, museums, arts venues and major shopping options located in the city. And the famous Peterborough Liftlock is a must-see engineering marvel that even non-boaters will enjoy. The hydraulic lift lock is the highest in the world and has been in operation for over 100 years. A visitors’ center on-site provides exhibits and films of the building and operation on this important lock on the Trent-Severn Waterway.

Lake Chemung is the official First Nations spelling of the lake. The word chemung means muddy place, an apt description of the wetlands that existed before the Trent-Severn water structures raised water levels. There’s nothing muddy about Lake Chemung now; it’s a beautiful expanse of water teeming with fish and visiting boaters. Visitors to the area will find all types of lodgings readily available, from many bed-and-breakfasts to hotels, motels, inns and cottage rentals. Seasonal or weekly rentals are in high demand, and reservations should be made early to assure a spot. Campgrounds and RV parks are also found along the shore. When repeat visitors fall in love with Chemong Lake, real estate is often available on the water. Other properties can be found with water views. What could be better than being close to city services, with water views that allow you to feel like you are the only soul on the lake?

Things to do at Chemong Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Chemong Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye

Chemong Lake Photo Gallery

  • Peterborough Lift-Locks

Chemong Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Parks Canada

Surface Area: 5,634 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 807 feet

Average Depth: 8 feet

Maximum Depth: 22 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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