Lake Couchiching, Ontario, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Ontario -

Lucky cottagers at Lake Couchiching have the best of all worlds. As a part of the famed Trent-Severn Waterway, Lake Couchiching is the perfect home base for boating enthusiasts. For fishermen, the large lake offers plenty of angling action. And for those desiring a quiet, water-based retreat, the nearly 25 miles of shoreline and several islands hold a peaceful getaway. Over 8000 acres of water offer plenty of space for power-boating, water skiing, jet skiing, tubing, wake-boarding, canoeing and kayaking. House-boating on the Trent-Severn Waterway is a favored way to pass a summer, and just sitting along the shore boat-watching is an enjoyable way to spend leisurely hours.

Connected to larger Lake Simcoe via the Atherley Narrows, Lake Couchiching is sometimes considered a bay of the larger lake. However, it is a separate lake with a completely different topography based on the surrounding bedrock. Lake Couchiching is more shallow than the larger lake, with rock shoals that make uncharted sailing outside of the marked channel somewhat hazardous for large boats, but provide excellent fish habitat that attracts anglers like a magnet. Lake Couchiching has been a part of the original portage trail between Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay on Lake Huron since well before the arrival of Europeans, so it quickly developed along with Lake Simcoe as a part of Ontario’s original ‘cottage country’. Most of the shoreline is privately-owned, with cottages and year-round homes sharing space with resorts, private youth camps, public beaches, RV parks, campgrounds and several marinas.

The town of Orillia, a small city of around 30,000, provides for every need the visiting cottager or camper could want, including movie theaters, restaurants, shopping and standard services. Smaller settlements along the shoreline offer restaurants, access to resorts, fishing docks and beaches. Some of the several islands sport isolated, privately-owned cottages; the largest, Chief Island, is the reserve property of the Mnjikaning First Nation. The beaches of this uninhabited 110-acre island are open to the public, but the interior is off limits as it holds tribal burial grounds. The same tribe operates a popular casino on the east shore of the lake not far from the island.

Lake Couchiching is noted for both largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing. A variety of pan fish can be caught, but of more interest to most anglers are the walleye, northern pike, lake trout and yellow perch. Ice fishing is popular here in winter, and the frozen lake offers excellent snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Lake Couchiching is a four-season recreation area, with a number of walking and hiking trails along the shoreline, some of which are ideal for mountain biking, skateboarding and nature viewing. Although most of the shoreline is developed, a growing acreage is being preserved in the watershed by The Couchiching Conservancy, some areas of which are open to the public.

Marinas, including a municipal marina operated by the City of Orillia, rent fishing boats, pontoon rafts and paddle-craft. These marinas do not sell fuel, however, but boating fuel is easily obtained at marinas on the other side of ‘the Narrows’ closer to Lake Simcoe. Dinner cruises and sightseeing tour boats sail from the Narrows area near Orillia daily and are a great away to see the entire shoreline of both Lake Simcoe and Lake Couchiching. Some sail as far down the Severn River as Sparrow Lake, allowing the non-boater to experience the operations of Couchiching Lock 42 at the outflow to the Severn River. One trip on this historic waterway is usually enough that the first-time visitor vows to return to cruise all the way to Georgian Bay.

The City of Orillia has developed a number of activities and festivals to delight cottagers. Both the Spring Blues Festival and the Fall Jazz Festival bring many visitors from Toronto (100 miles) every summer. Historic Orillia Opera House offers live performances by the Sunshine Theatre Company on a regular daily schedule. The Stephen Leacock Museum, on the shores of Whiskey Bay, is the restored summer home of one of Canada’s favorite 20th-century authors. Here, an annual Leacock Summer Festival celebrates the literary arts with reading by many authors invited to read their works to an appreciative audience. For a somewhat different type of museum experience, visitors can view the exhibits at the Ontario Provincial Police Museum or the Orillia Museum of Art and History, which both tell the story of historic development in the area and display the works of various local artists. A must-visit location is the Mariposa Market, where several floors offer gourmet goods, bakery and restaurant. Several golf courses are within easy driving distance, and three provincial parks are located nearby with a variety of natural features.

Less than two hours from Toronto, Lake Couchiching is perfect for a long weekend or a fun-filled summer. All types of lodgings exist at the lake from conventional hotel rooms in Orillia to resort cottages, casino rooms, bed-and-breakfasts and private home and cottage rentals. Real estate is available in the area but has become rather expensive on the lakefront itself. Still, the perfect property can likely be found with a little looking. Nothing could be more relaxing than sitting on your private deck watching yacht and houseboat traffic on the busy waterway. So come give Lake Couchiching a try. You’ll be hooked after one visit.

Things to do at Lake Couchiching

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Provincial Park
  • Museum
  • Movie Theater
  • Shopping
  • Casino Gambling

Fish species found at Lake Couchiching

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Couchiching Photo Gallery

  • SONY DSC

  • SONY DSC

Lake Couchiching Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 8,340 acres

Shoreline Length: 24 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 719 feet

Average Depth: 20 feet

Maximum Depth: 39 feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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