Otter Lake, Ontario, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Ontario -

Also known as:  Big Otter Lake

Otter Lake is a sparkling 1,252-acre lake located near Parry Sound, Ontario, in the Georgian Bay region known as The 30,000 Islands. The Georgian Bay is 200 miles long by 50 miles wide and covers over 5,800 square miles making it almost as large as Lake Ontario. Local legend tells of a god called Kitchikewana, who was large enough to guard the entire Georgian Bay. Kitchikewana was known for his temper and, in a fit of rage, he dug his hands into the ground and threw fistfuls of earth at the departing canoe of his true love, thus the 30,000 Islands were created. Whether formed by an angry god or massive glaciers, the Georgian Bay region is the crown jewel of the Great Lakes and a fantastic spot for a vacation or second home.

Named Nigge-Cu-Bing (Lake of Many Otters) by the first Indian settlers, Otter Lake is located in the Township of Seguin (formerly Foley Township), in the District of Parry Sound. The lake is home to multiple islands, many of which are large enough for development. During the late 1800s, settlers were offered land grants to encourage development of the area. What is now Highway 69 served as a colonization road. Farms began to dot the landscape and agriculture became the predominant way of life. Seasonal residents began building on the lake in the early 1900s. The island properties were bought up first followed by the most desirable bays. The 24 miles of shoreline around the lake is mostly rocky with just a few sandy beaches. Today the perimeter of the lake is fully developed with cottages, permanent homes, resorts, a marina and one public beach.

Otter Lake, also known as Big Otter Lake, is easy to find on a map due to its unique meandering shape. The “Long Arm” of the lake is a long and narrow portion that stretches out from the southeast end of the lake. “Little Otter Lake” is a smaller, shallower part of the lake at the northeast end, separated from Big Otter Lake by an area called “The Narrows”. A dam on the Boyne River on the outflow of Little Otter Lake controls the water level. The maximum depth of the lake is 147 feet, with an average depth of 36 feet.

Otter Lake is known for its excellent trout fishing. Since 1949, the Ministry of Natural Resources has stocked the lake with lake trout and more recently rainbow trout. Anglers will also find largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, yellow perch, black crappie, cisco, pumpkinseed bluegill, and rock bass. Little Otter Lake is too shallow for lake trout, but other game fish can be found in the crystal clear water.

Visitors to Otter Lake can enjoy swimming, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and waterskiing during the warm summer months as well as nearby trails for hiking and biking. During the fall, the colorful foliage creates a spectacular backdrop for those getting in some last minute outdoor activities before winter’s long freeze. When snow blankets the area, trails are used for snowmobiling, cross country skiing, dog sledding, and snowshoeing. No matter what time of year, whether it is on the water or on the ice, fishing is always a challenging sport.

Accommodations on Otter Lake range from resorts to campgrounds to cozy lakefront cottages. Although there are plenty of vacation rentals, they book quickly during the peak summer months. Real estate for purchase is also an option for anyone looking for a summer or year round home. Additional lodging can be found in nearby towns. Boaters can access the water from a public beach on the lake or through the lake’s marina. Boat rentals are available along with fishing supplies. With the many islands and secluded bays, the lake is a paddler’s paradise.

Otter Lake’s proximity to Parry Sound and the Georgian Bay makes it a perfect vacation destination. The town of Parry Sound has the largest natural harbor on Georgian Bay and is the birthplace of hockey legend, Bobby Orr. With many recreational activities, Parry Sound offers something for everyone. Whether it’s sightseeing in your own boat or from a 30,000 Island cruise boat, exploring Georgian Bay is a must. Additional attractions include beautiful beaches, golf courses, seaplane tours, provincial parks, full service marinas, and municipal docks. If you’re hungry, there’s no shortage of choices for dining. Many restaurants dot the shoreline in local towns. Wintertime brings a whole new life of activities including snowmobiling, cross country skiing, ice fishing, dog sledding, snowshoeing and much more.

For an interesting daytrip, the Algonquin Provincial Park is an easy drive east of Otter Lake and covers approximately 2,950 square miles. Over 2,400 lakes and 750 miles of streams and rivers are located within the park. Hiking, canoeing, camping and fishing can be enjoyed by visitors to the park. Hikers have a good chance of seeing a moose in the dense woods and there are also a small number of wolves, lynx and bears in forest.

Whether you choose to call Otter Lake home, or just enjoy taking your vacations on this scenic lake, you are sure to find the natural beauty of the area to be mesmerizing. With areas of pristine wilderness and thousands of islands to explore, Otter Lake is outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

Things to do at Otter Lake ON

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog Sledding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Provincial Park

Fish species found at Otter Lake ON

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Cisco
  • Crappie
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Otter Lake ON Photo Gallery

Otter Lake ON Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: District of Parry Sound

Surface Area: 1,252 acres

Shoreline Length: 24 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 712 feet

Average Depth: 35 feet

Maximum Depth: 147 feet

Lake Area-Population: 336

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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