Pipmuacan Reservoir, Quebec, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - Quebec -

Also known as:  Reservoir Pipmuacan

Far to the north in Quebec’s vast evergreen forests, Pipmuacan Reservoir performs unseen yet vital service to the customers of Hydro-Quebec. About 90% of the province’s electrical power is generated by hydroelectric, necessitating a way to store and control the large amount of water rushing from the higher lands in the interior toward the St. Lawrence River. When the task can be accomplished without destroying natural habitat or scenic beauty, and when recreational opportunities can be increased at the same time, the project can be considered an unqualified success. Such a success is Pipmuacan Reservoir.

Pipmuacan Reservoir covers over 241,000 acres. About 198,400 of those acres are water; the remaining acres are islands and rugged outcroppings that support a variety of native animals and birds. Created from former Lake Pipmuacan and Lac Casse, the deep basins and rocky shoals shelter a wealth of fish that are favorites among sport fishermen. Several outfitters arrange fishing trips to the reservoir for visitors from around the world. The deep holes support lake trout and lake whitefish, while the many incoming streams provide the perfect spawning ground for brook trout and speckled trout-all cold-water fishery favorites of anglers. The shallower and warmer coves and ledges hold a spectacular population of northern pike. It is a rare visitor who leaves without a picture of a trophy string of these beauties, although many are cooked and eaten for a delicious shore lunch. Visitors are encouraged to practice good conservation techniques; catch, admire and release is the process followed for much of the catch.

Access to Pipmuacan Reservoir is a bit easier than reaching many of Quebec’s more remote fishing locations. The reservoir can be reached by gravel road, although it is quite a distance from the nearest town of any size. Montreal is 435 miles from the reservoir, but Chicoutimi is only 80 miles to the south on the Saguenay River. Several outfitters solve the logistics problem by flying in their guests by sea plane, either to Pipmuacan Reservoir or another nearby lake. They maintain small lodge facilities along the shore and leave their guests everything needed to enjoy their stay, including fishing guides. Outfitters can assist guests in obtaining the proper fishing license and carrying a supply of tackle to replace any lost to the chase. Facilities are usually spartan but comfortable, with cooking facilities, running water and generator power. One outfitter advertises directly to European visitors and business guests with short-week schedules.

Currently, only one full-time lodge operates directly from the shoreline of Pipmuacan Reservoir. Operated by the Innu First Nations band, the lodge is more of an all-around northwoods nature experience than luxury resort. Besides fishing trips, the lodge also arranges hunts targeting bear, moose, ruffed grouse, ptarmigan and ducks. An all-season lodge, the facility also accommodates hiking, nature observation, ATV riding, mountain biking, snowmobile treks, kayaking and canoeing. A supervised swim beach is provided, and forest survival and native culture are taught. Ice fishing vacations are popular, with the lodge providing everything, including fishing tackle. The lodge has only been in existence for a few short years but has already developed a reputation for good food, cleanliness and glowing reports on all provincial inspection standards. It is hoped that the lodge will be able to grow and expand their services at the reservoir. Long the native lands of the Innu, the name Pipmuacan is actually derived from the Innu word for ‘arrow’ and commemorates a historic battle with the Iroquois on Mount Pipmuacan which overlooked the original lake.

Pipmuacan Reservoir lies on the border of two well-known Quebec tourism regions: Cote-Nord and Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean. The Saguenay Lac-Saint-Jean area is popular with those who wish to experience nature reserves and river culture. The Saguenay Fjord National Park downriver from Lac Saint-Jean holds spectacular scenery, camping facilities, plenty of hiking and biking trails and winter sports venues. Cruises on Saguenay Fjord are available departing La Baie and showcase the towering cliffs and unique ecology of the fjord. Other cruises are available from the mouth of the fjord on the St Lawrence, where excursions can be arranged for whale watching and tours using underwater video of native flora and fauna. All of the activities can be found in the area between Lac Saint-Jean and the St. Lawrence River.

Those with an appreciation for geology or engineering will appreciate the unique surroundings at Pipmuacan Reservoir. The feat accomplished in creating the massive reservoir required three years and untold hours. Two dams were built to contain Lake Pipmuacan and Lac Casse, collecting the flow of many rivers including the Pipmuacan, Sylvestre, Hirondelles and Betsiamites rivers. Then a spillway was blasted through another mountain and a tunnel to carry the water drilled through tons of rock to carry the water for power generation to the Bersimis underground power facility 7.5 miles away. Since completion in 1956, Hydro-Quebec has partially diverted the flow of Portneuf River into the reservoir to provide more water for power generation and is considering diverting the partial flow of other rivers into the reservoir in the future. The successful project is possible due to the sparse population of the region and the unsuitability of the land for farming. Modern environmental and conservation knowledge assures that the area can be maintained in as pristine a condition as possible while still providing the clean hydro-power needed by Quebec’s growing population. Hydro-Quebec also sells power to eastern North American markets, providing some of the United State’s renewable energy.

So, if you’re looking for a unique, adventure-filled vacation, visit Pipmuacan Reservoir the next time you plan a fishing trip. Even if your tastes run more to nature observation, paddling or hunting, you’ll find everything you could wish for offered by the services centered around the massive lake. The lodge will provide high adventure to a family with children, and even teens may acquire a new passion for nature and their world.

Things to do at Pipmuacan Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish species found at Pipmuacan Reservoir

  • Brook Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Northern Pike
  • Pike
  • Trout
  • Whitefish

Pipmuacan Reservoir Photo Gallery

Pipmuacan Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Hydro-Quebec

Surface Area: 198,400 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,300 feet

Water Volume: 11,151,360 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1956

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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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