Little Limestone Lake, Manitoba, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Manitoba -

One of Manitoba’s newest provincial parks is the home of Little Limestone Lake. The approximately 10,000-acre lake is unusual in that it is considered to be the largest ‘marl’ lake in the world, meaning that it contains limestone comprised of the mineral calcite. It is a natural lake formed by water dissolving the underlying limestone rock over millennia. The water is crystal clear when cold. But when the water warms and the calcite begins to precipitate out of the water, the water takes on a milky turquoise-blue hue.

Efforts to protect the unique lake from development took several years. The Province of Manitoba finally reached an agreement in June of 2011 with the Mosakahiken Cree Nation and the holder of several mining claims around the lake. The agreement calls for Manitoba Conservation to maintain the lake and surrounding shoreline as a ‘non-operational’ park with no development. Under Backcountry Land Use rules, the lake will be open for hiking, primitive camping and other non-invasive uses. The Mosakahiken community will continue to use their designated reserve area on the east shoreline for hunting, trapping and fishing and will continue to exercise their Aboriginal and treaty rights in the park. Because of the unique nature of the lake and surrounding area, it has been named a IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) protected area.

Little Limestone Lake has no major inflowing or outflowing streams. Most of the water comes from ground water percolating through the porous limestone rock. The karst limestone rock in this area of the Manitoba Lowlands has eroded to form many caves and depressions which provide excellent winter habitat for bats and snakes. The wooded shoreline supports mixed wood forests with trembling aspen, black spruce, jack pine, tamarack, swamp birch, alder, and willow. This diverse land cover offers shelter to bear, wolf, moose, lynx, muskrat, beaver, spruce grouse and numerous songbirds. The lake’s shoreline and surface offer a haven to ring-billed gull, double-crested cormorant, common tern and various ducks and geese. Although the lake bottom has almost no weed cover, walleye, whitefish, perch and pike are relatively abundant. A managed bi-annual commercial fishery for walleye and whitefish exists on the lake and harvests about 20,000 pounds of fish a year. Several islands break the wide expanse of water, and all are a part of the new provincial park.

There are no boat ramps available to the public on Little Limestone Lake at present. Boating and fishing regulations will be developed as a park management plan is finalized. Most fishermen bring canoes from Grand Rapids, 40 miles to the south. The Provincial Parks system should be contacted for information about what types of bait are permitted. Protecting the unusual lake environment is of paramount concern. Now that scuba divers in the region have become aware of the lake, many are planning to dive to explore the bottom structure for underwater caves. Karst lakes around the world have offered up artifacts of archeological interest, and some are hoping to find such evidence of prehistory here. No scientific studies of the lake have been done except for the most preliminary water testing, so there is much to be learned from Little Limestone Lake.

Located about 230 miles north of Winnipeg, the lake is some distance from most services. Few permanent inhabitants will be found in the area around Little Limestone Lake. The northern tip of Lake Winnipeg is about ten miles to the east, and William Lake extends within a mile or so of the west shoreline. Many small lakes dot the region around the new park, but none are included in the new protected area. Development on the lakes in the area is very sparse.

This isn’t the kind of lake one stumbles on accidentally. Visitors must make a concerted effort to get here. The nearest town, Grand Rapids, was once a booming center of water transportation on the main canoe route toward the west. In 1741 Fort Bourbon was built at Grand Rapids, and the village was the site of fur trading activity and eventually a steamship destination. Once water transportation was replaced by railways, Grand Rapids lost its prominence in Manitoba development and is now a sleepy small town which hosts a hydroelectric dam and several outfitters and campground resorts. The village is likely the best starting point for a day trip to Little Limestone Lake.

Much of the area is undeveloped and mostly utilized by mining and logging companies. Various First Nations tribes own much of the area. The occasional piece of real estate is sometimes found for sale in the vicinity of Little Limestone Lake. Most private properties are used as seasonal vacation cottages or hunting and fishing camps. Little Limestone Lake will remain pristine and unspoiled for future generations as long as it remains in protected status. If you have a yen to experience Canada’s wild places, a visit to Little Limestone Lake is a must.

*No statistics as to size or depth are available. The 10,000-acre surface is an estimate based on park size.

Things to do at Little Limestone Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Provincial Park

Fish species found at Little Limestone Lake

  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Walleye
  • Whitefish

Little Limestone Lake Photo Gallery

Little Limestone Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 10,000 acres

Shoreline Length: 30 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 880 feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

Spread the word! Share our Little Limestone Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.