Gouin Reservoir, Quebec, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Quebec -

Also known as:  Reservoir Gouin

When the directions say ‘turn off the paved road’, you know you’re on your way to Gouin Reservoir. Visitors can drive to the lake, but most opt to fly. Although leisurely driving along gravel roads through forests teeming with wildlife is attractive, most visitors are anxious to arrive at the massive reservoir to start their outdoor adventure. The lake covers 390,400 acres with 3,500 miles of shoreline. The area is called the Mauricie Region, which is criss-crossed by unmarked forest roads and hundreds of lakes and streams. Resorts and outfitters in the area smile when they suggest that those arriving by car not attempt to follow their GPS along the wilderness gravel roads.

Gouin Reservoir was created in 1918 when the Shawinigan Water & Power Company built a dam across the St-Maurice River outflow to control water levels downstream for hydroelectric generation. Named after a former premier of Quebec, Gouin Dam combined an unknown number of smaller lakes that made up the St-Maurice headwaters into one large reservoir containing many islands, peninsulas, bays and coves-a virtual sport-fishing heaven. With an average depth of only 16 feet and an unlimited amount of underwater structure and spawning area, the reservoir contains sauger and other native species. But it is walleye and northern pike that most anglers focus on and one of the main fishing package options the local resorts and outfitters offer. The many anglers who come here usually hope to net a trophy pike, and are usually pleased with their catch.

In order to assure continued excellent fishing, an Aires Fauniques Communautaires or Community Wildlife Area was formed to protect a portion of the Gouin Reservoir and assure the continued good health of the fishery. Special fishing regulations are in place for specified areas during part of the year to assure adequate time for spawning and early growth. Fishing is permitted by lease via the Gouin Reservoir Management Corporation, and all local resorts and outfitters are members of the corporation and leaseholders of fishing rights. Fishing licenses are also required.

Fishing is not the only activity that visitors enjoy at Gouin Reservoir. Canoeing, kayaking, nature hiking and winter sports are all popular. Although the land surrounding the reservoir is private, most of the resorts and fishing lodges have permission for their guests to use large areas of the surrounding forest for ATV trail-riding, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and hunting. Many of the lodges offer black bear hunting among their specialized packages. The resorts offer a wide variety of lodgings, often with different options to meet different needs. From shoreline cabins to luxury camps with dining halls and WiFi, nearly every possibility has been provided. Some resort packages offer three meals a day, and shore lunch can be provided during fishing trips.

One of the favorite forms of lodging is to rent a houseboat with fishing dinghy in tow to travel the many bays at leisure. Another popular option is to transport visitors to an isolated camp on an island. Most rentals include the use of a boat and motor. Guides are available, and outfitters can help to arrange licensing and fees for fishing on Gouin Reservoir. Due to the difficulties of transportation, many of the resorts and outfitters offer fly-in service from either Clova or Parent. Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City are all about 200 miles by air from Gouin Reservoir, so the pontoon plane bases are well-used and very convenient to the lodges.

There are a few private cottages on Gouin Reservoir. Obedjiwan, a small First Nation community, is located on the north shore of the reservoir, but no services are available there. Although the Gouin Dam is not technically a hydroelectric generation facility, enough power is produced to provide for the local needs of a few of the nearby fish camps and lodges. The rest generally use generators and propane for heat and light. Because of the distance to obtain supplies, visitors generally plan to bring plenty of food and extra clothing. The lodges and outfitters’ base camps usually carry some groceries, ice and fishing tackle.

Although this is the kind of fishing vacation anglers dream of and plan for many weeks or years, the Gouin Reservoir resorts have become increasingly popular with families. The lodges usually offer sandy beaches and shallow coves for swimming. A wide variety of waterbirds and ducks can be seen near the shore, and native mammals small and large inhabit the forests and glades. In fall, the leaves in hardwood areas are spectacular, and on chilly evenings most camps have woodstoves or fireplaces for a little cozy heat. This is a good introduction to children in how their ancestors braved the elements with few modern conveniences.

Although some distances are involved, there are other activities available within a couple of hours driving from Gouin Reservoir. The Mauricie Region is filled with nature and outdoor-oriented locations for wildlife watching, skiing, canoeing and photography. The region offers a welcome respite from city life, providing the perfect escape to refresh the weary soul. So, on your next vacation, head north into the wilderness around Gouin Reservoir. Go native for a week or two; conquer the mighty walleye and brave the many miles of water. Bring a kayak and try for trout in the many incoming streams. Make Gouin Reservoir your special place.

Things to do at Gouin Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing

Fish species found at Gouin Reservoir

  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sauger
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Gouin Reservoir Photo Gallery

Gouin Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Hydro-Quebec

Surface Area: 390,400 acres

Shoreline Length: 3,510 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,325 feet

Average Depth: 16 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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