Grand Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Newfoundland and Labrador -

Grand Lake is one of those often-overlooked gems that has much to offer. Located in the province of Newfoundland, Grand Lake is a natural lake dammed for hydroelectric power early in the last century. The expanded lake now covers about 132,000 acres along the Humber River. Set amid the craggy heights of the eastern fringe of the Appalachian Mountains, the area around Grand Lake has evolved into a wide swath of Provincial lands used in the past for logging and mining. When the local paper milling company dammed the outlet of the existing Grand Lake in 1925 to produce power for the mills, the water level was raised over 100 feet, drowning the abandoned coal mines and a portion of the Humber Valley over sixty miles long. The resulting lake is nearly 1000 feet deep in spots, the deepest lake in Newfoundland. The large lake also holds the largest island in Canada, Glover Island.

Grand Lake is nearly uninhabited, with only the small town of Howley located along its shoreline. A limited number of hunting and fishing lodges hold leases to provide lodgings for visitors. Just outside Howley, the Grand Lake Tourist Camp offers excellent camping facilities that are much in demand during the short summer months. In addition to shady, spacious campsites with full service, campers can enjoy fishing, hiking the many trails in the area, and picking wild blueberries in season. Along with the smaller ‘feeder’ lakes, Sandy and Birchy, the entire system is a popular boating and fishing waterway. All types of motor boats are allowed except for personal watercraft, but there are few launch facilities available. Consequently, most bigger boats are those belonging to guests at lodges on the feeder lakes. The waterway is especially popular with kayakers and canoeists. The rocky shoreline is rimmed with forest and towering cliffs, and the many inflowing streams are teaming with trout and landlocked salmon. Wildlife is abundant, including some of the most sought-after game species in eastern Canada. Paddle trips along Grand Lake’s scenic shoreline are a favorite with photographers.

Although temperatures are reliably cold in winter, Grand Lake doesn’t usually freeze completely. Therefore, ice fishing for trout (legal with appropriate permits) isn’t a big draw here. Most of the outdoor activities are focused on areas around the lake rather than the lake itself. A number of informal trails cross the area, with the Newfoundland portion of the International Appalachian Trail crossing nearby. Winter brings heavy snowfall, with snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling popular outdoor outings. Some of Newfoundland’s best downhill ski locations are located nearby. The rugged terrain offers excellent hunting for moose, black bear and woodland caribou, with a number of nearby hunting lodges offering guided hunts and fishing trips. The moose are actually non-native, having been introduced around 1900 by the government from New Brunswick. They have proliferated, with a population estimated to around 40,000 animals.

The varied terrain around Grand Lake includes many forested areas interspersed by swamp and wetlands which offer excellent habitat for nearly all types of native animals. The area supports a healthy population of the increasingly-rare American martin mammal, so a reserve has been set aside near the south end of the lake to protect critical habitat. The Little Grand Lake Provisional Ecological Reserve encompasses connected Little Grand Lake and extends along the eastern shoreline of Grand Lake for several miles. Within the reserve, areas are set aside for hunting and trail-hiking. Small boats, canoes and kayaks can be launched here from shore. Large, 44,000-acre Glover Island is also a reserve. The island is uninhabited, but gold mining leases have been awarded by the province to allow some gold exploration. The ‘island in the lake on the island’ also holds several lakes, some of which are of good size and also contain small islands.

Other than the popular campground and the hunting and fishing lodge near Howley, there is little lodging available in the immediate area of Grand Lake. Howley, a small town of less than 300 people, offers groceries and camp necessities to local campers. More lodging facilities are located at Deer Lake, about 30 miles away by road. Deer Lake is a bit larger than Howley and contains an airstrip where many hunters and lodge visitors fly in to stay at local camps and resorts. It is here that the Humber Canal offers a shorter water route to Deer Lake and was the site of the paper mill that originally dammed Grand Lake. The paper mill has changed hands several times over the years, as has control of the dam and power generating units. The Deer Lake Power Company now distributes the hydro-power to several small communities in the area and to the main power grid. The old paper mill plant whistle sill sounds daily during the week and on Saturdays, more as an historic tradition than as a call to work. Deer Lake is one of the few remaining towns where parents still tell their children to ‘be home when the whistle blows!’ Strategically located on the Trans Canada Highway, Deer Lake provides both water activities on Deer Lake itself and several small motels, bed & breakfasts and campgrounds. Deer Lake also offers annual festivals geared to visitors such as the Strawberry Festival.

Thirty miles farther west along the Trans Canada Highway, Corner Brook is a larger city with a variety of attractions to interest visitors. The Corner Brook Museum leads visitors on an intimate tour of Newfoundland history, including the social, cultural, and natural history of Corner Brook and the Humber Valley/Bay of Islands area. Exhibits include Pulp and Paper, the History of Corner Brook, Aboriginal, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Military, and more. Hockey fans will enjoy the Newfoundland Hockey Hall of Fame, while rail buffs will delight in the historic photos, steam engine and diesel engines exhibited at the Railway Society of Newfoundland Historic Train Site. A variety of tour companies in Corner Brook offer cycling tours, zip line excursions above nearby falls, cruises on the Bay of Islands and hunting, fishing and photography tours. Lodgings here include hotels, motels, cabins, campgrounds, bed & breakfasts, and efficiency units for short-term rental. There are plenty of winter sports complexes nearby, and Grand Lake is still only an hour away.

Real estate may be available in the area around Deer Lake and Corner Brook. Opportunities to buy or lease property owned by the provincial or federal government are limited, however. One trip to the scenic shores of Grand Lake will have visitors wanting to return again and again.

Things to do at Grand Lake NL

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Museum

Fish species found at Grand Lake NL

  • Salmon
  • Trout

Grand Lake NL Photo Gallery

Grand Lake NL Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Deer Lake Power Company

Surface Area: 132,696 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 279 feet

Maximum Depth: 985 feet

Completion Year: 1923

Drainage Area: 1,942 sq. miles

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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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