Clear Lake, Ontario, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Ontario -

Also known as:  Rideau Lakes

One of the well-known smaller lakes on Ontario’s Rideau Waterway is Clear Lake. Often overshadowed by bigger lakes such as Big Rideau Lake, Clear Lake plays a critical part in traversing the Rideau Canal. One of six connected lakes surrounding the landmass known as Scotts Island, the route of the famed canal crosses Clear Lake on its way to Newboro Lake. The six lakes surrounding Scotts Island – Clear, Indian, Mosquito, Benson, Newboro and Loon – all share the same water level. Boaters can travel from one to another without having to pass through any of the waterway’s many locks. Clear and Indian Lakes are natural lakes, whereas several of the others were created with construction of Chaffey’s Locks. The resulting higher water level drowned several creeks and individual ponds, connecting the chain. The water level of Clear Lake was raised six feet by the new lock.

The first settlement in the region was Chaffey’s Mills, when a mill was built in 1820 by Samuel Chaffey at the foot of Indian Lake. The Clear Lake area has likely been a popular spot for fishermen and cottagers ever since. A number of cottages hug the shoreline, and a campground graces the far eastern end of the lake. Many of these cottages have been the vacation destination of families from Ottawa and Kingston for several generations. It is not uncommon on the Rideau to find entire family cottage compounds with a main cottage and several ‘bunk houses’ for younger family members who now bring their own families to the Rideau. Cottagers here enjoy swimming, sailing, pontooning, water skiing, wakeboarding and scuba diving. The irregular shoreline is ideal for wildlife viewing and bird watching while canoeing and kayaking. The entire area is a part of the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, and the wealth of natural habitat supports deer, small mammals, a variety of song-birds and waterfowl. Loon echo their eerie calls across the water at dawn, and osprey raise their young in their nests over the water. Both require solitude to raise their young successfully, so good-citizen cottagers give them all the space they need. Great blue herons are often seen, and woodpeckers work diligently among the trees. Clear Lake is the ideal spot to escape the noise and confusion of the city and restore the soul.

Clear Lake is a fisherman’s favorite. The lake is especially known for largemouth bass but also supports smallmouth bass, walleye, muskellunge, northern pike, perch and crappie. Guide service is available at Chaffey’s Lock, and the marina on neighboring Indian Lake can provide fishing licenses, bait, guidelines and plenty of advice. Boats can be rented in several places, and many cottage rentals provide some type of watercraft for the vacationer’s use. Some cottage rentals on Clear Lake are more accurately fishing camps; they rent cottages and boats, and provide free hints on where the hot-spots are. For the non-fisherman, the many country roads and lanes along the lake provide unlimited opportunities for walking and cycling. For hiking enthusiasts, the Cataraqui Trail is only a few minutes away. This 65-mile part of the Trans-Canada trail follows an old Canadian National Railway rail bed and is open all four seasons for hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobile riding.

The Rideau Canal system is a Canadian national treasure and attracts thousands of visitors every year. Not only is the extensive waterway a biosphere reserve, it is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built between 1826 and 1832 for British defensive purposes, the 125-mile waterway contains 47 locks connecting a series of lakes and rivers. The waterway connects Ottawa on the Ottawa River with the St. Lawrence Seaway. The waterway is a marvel of 19th century ingenuity. Although never used for defensive purposes, the waterway greatly aided in the settlement of Upper Canada and is now used strictly for pleasure boating. Although there is no commercial marina on Clear Lake, both adjoining Indian Lake and Newboro Lake have marinas available at a reasonable distance.

Managed by Parks Canada, each of the lock systems is individually operated by a lock master on-site. The locks and canals can handle boats up to 90 feet in length as long as they have a draft of no more than five feet. As much of the waterway remains in its natural state, house-boating the canal has become increasingly popular. Most boats, including houseboats, can be rented at several spots along the waterway. Non-sailors can take one of the regularly-scheduled cruises through portions of the canal. Terrain varies from towering granite outcroppings to low-lying marsh wetlands with hundreds of islands in the chain. In some areas cottages dot the shoreline in large numbers but in others, nary a road or habitation is seen for long stretches. A boater can easily become lost among the many lakes and islands – a good navigation map is absolutely necessary. The left sidebar provides internet resources for marina locations, boat docking facilities, nearby towns and the history of the canal.

Vacation rentals are numerous around Clear Lake. Some are small enterprises consisting of several cabins; others are individual cottages or homes leased by the week or month by their owners. Larger towns such as Westport hold motels, but most vacation lodging is the more intimate, self-catered variety. Real estate is possible to find, although one may have to wait until property on just the right lake comes available. Cottagers here tend to keep the same property for generations. One cruise along the Rideau will convince you that Clear Lake is the place you’ve been looking for. Bring the fishing gear and the swimsuits. You’ll quickly discover Clear Lake feels like home.

Things to do at Clear Lake ON

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Scuba Diving
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding

Fish species found at Clear Lake ON

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

Clear Lake ON Photo Gallery

Clear Lake ON Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Parks Canada

Surface Area: 395 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 400 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 398 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 401 feet

Maximum Depth: 103 feet

Completion Year: 1832

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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