Kennisis Lake, Ontario, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Ontario -

A true jewel in the crown of Ontario’s Cottage Country, 3500-acre Kennisis Lake has been the prefect vacation getaway for generations of Canadian cottagers. Located in the area popularly known as the Haliburton Highlands, Kennisis Lake is the largest lake in the region and a vital part of the Trent-Severn Waterway headwaters. Although not a part of this popular boating destination, Kennisis Lake acts as a storage reservoir to keep water levels navigable in dry seasons. Nearly all of the lake’s 26-mile shoreline is privately owned, but much of the surrounding area is enclosed in one of several reserves that are open for public use. Because of this, cottage visitors feel they are part of a vast wilderness bordering a pristine north-country lake. Indeed, visits from bears are not uncommon and many cottage visitors have their own ‘bear-tale’ to tell.

The rocky, irregular shoreline of Kennisis Lake provides excellent canoeing and kayaking scenery. Power boating, water skiing, jet-skiing and pontooning are also popular activities among lake visitors and summer residents. Many cottages along the shore are only seasonally occupied, although property owners are increasingly inclined to remodel cottages as full-time retirement homes. Winter and summer both, the view is spectacular. The lake provides many private swim docks for the pleasure of visitors. A generous assortment of waterfowl and native mammals small and large call the lakeshore home. Whitetail deer and moose are often sighted at the water’s edge.

A marina is located on the south shore of the lake and functions as a neighborhood gathering spot. The Kennisis Lake Cottage Owners’ Association sponsors several festivals and celebrations throughout the year, including a sailing regatta. A public boat launch is located near the marina with a second launch adjacent to the dam at the west end of the lake. To accommodate non-boat owners, the marina rents all types of watercraft – and water-skis – by the day and by the week. From kayaks to pontoons to ski boats, the marina provides nearly everything except personal watercraft. In winter, the marina becomes snowmobile headquarters, offering sales, rentals and repairs. The Kennisis Lake area is one of Cottage Country’s favorite winter playgrounds with easy access to many miles of trails in the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve just north of the lake.

Kennisis Lake is a favored fishing destination year round. Primarily a lake trout fishery, the lake also holds yellow perch, brook trout, smallmouth bass, walleye, muskellunge, largemouth bass and rock bass. Kennisis Lake is one of the most popular ice fishing lakes in the Highlands. All Ontario fishing regulations apply, and a fishing license is required of all anglers. Nearby Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve offers many miles of trails for snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and winter hiking. During the summer months, the 70,000-acre reserve provides trails for mountain biking and hiking, camping areas, fishing sites, an outdoor education center, and a wolf reserve and education center. The reserve consists of forest twice cut-over and now managed as a sustainable forest demonstration site. Although open to the public, Haliburton Forest is privately owned by the forestry company and an active logging site. Not far northeast of Haliburton Forest, Algonquin Provincial Park remains one of Ontario’s most popular vacation destinations.

Originally a natural lake, the outflow at Kennisis River was dammed at some point during early settlement, likely to improve shallow areas for log transport. Between 1900 and 1910, the British government took control of most of the small dams in the region and improved them. The first navigation lock on the Trent-Severn waterway was installed in 1833, improving the ancient canoe route of fur traders and natives for more modern shipping needs. Dams such as the Kennisis Dam served to balance water flow and handle snow melt and spring flooding. As the waterway is no longer used for commercial freight traffic, the entire system of dams falls under the control of Parks Canada. Just downstream from the dam, a large area of publicly-owned land houses the Leslie M. Frost Natural Resources Center which provides environmental and outdoor education programs. Several of the islands in Kennisis Lake are now under the control of environmental groups and available for picnicking and day use.

At the end of the lake opposite the dam, a short navigable channel of the Little Kennisis River leads to Little Kennisis Lake. The smaller lake is also a popular cottage destination and considered a vital part of the Kennisis Lake community. The smaller lake is also a favored fishery and, like Kennisis Lake, well supplied by coves, shoals and bays where the big fish hide.

Vacation rentals are numerous along Kennisis Lake – many right on the shore. A number of seasonal cottage owners offer their private residents for weekly or monthly rental. Several can be found available year-round. A few fishing lodges still exist and are just as popular as they were a generation or two ago. Some resorts exist with housekeeping cottages catering to weekly visitors and often include a canoe or rowboat for visitors’ use. Several bed-and-breakfasts serve the Haliburton Highlands area, with motels located in the larger towns. Real estate is available for purchase, but is usually in the form of existing cottages as there is little undeveloped land on the lakefront. One visit is all it will take: you’ll become hooked on Kennisis Lake as soon as that big lake trout is hooked on your line. Come explore Kennisis – you’ll wonder why you didn’t arrive years ago!

Things to do at Kennisis Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog Sledding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Provincial Park
  • Playground

Fish species found at Kennisis Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brook Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Kennisis Lake Photo Gallery

    Kennisis Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Parks Canada

    Surface Area: 3,502 acres

    Shoreline Length: 26 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,212 feet

    Average Depth: 77 feet

    Maximum Depth: 223 feet

    Water Volume: 270,159 acre-feet

    Water Residence Time: 5.26 years

    Drainage Area: 29 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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