Rice Lake, Ontario, Canada

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Rice Lake.

If you’re considering Rice Lake vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Rice Lake guide!

Rice Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: Canada - Ontario -

Rice Lake is a 24,748-acre lake located in south-eastern Ontario, southeast of the city of Peterborough and north of Cobourg. The beautiful lake is part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, which flows into the lake through the Otonabee River and out via the Trent River. Nearly 20 miles long by just over three miles wide, Rice Lake was named for the wild rice stands which used to grow in the shallow water along the shoreline. During the construction of the Waterway, which raised the level of the lake, most of the wild rice areas were washed away. Today the shoreline is home to many lakefront accommodations offering visitors unlimited use of the lake and surrounding area.

Against the backdrop of the scenic Ontario outdoors, Rice Lake is an attractive tourist area, most famous for its fishing. Rice Lake claims to be the lake with the most fish in all of Ontario. Because the lake is rather shallow (the maximum depth is only 26 feet), weed beds and mudflats are abundant and attest to the lake’s great fertility. Schools of panfish abound in the shallow waters and provide food for the highly sought-after predatory fish. Rice Lake is infamous for its muskie with some fish tipping the scales at 30 pounds, although 10 to 15 pound muskie are more common. Largemouth bass and walleye also share the lake, and several professional bass tournaments are held annually on Rice Lake. Shore anglers are likely to catch crappie, perch, smallmouth bass, bluegill and possibly carp.

Rice Lake is sometimes included in the glacial chain of Kawartha Lakes, but geologically, it differs from its neighboring lakes. Rice Lake’s origin is actually pre-glacial which makes it one of the oldest bodies of water in the region.

The shoreline of Rice Lake is heavily developed with resorts, cottages, inns, bed and breakfasts and all kinds of vacation rentals and real estate. Most accommodations cater to anglers and offer docks, boat launches, and boat rentals. For the recreational vehicle and camping enthusiast, campgrounds with all the amenities can be found around the lake. Those just visiting for the day will find public boat launches located in the towns of Bewdley and Roseneath.

Paddlers will find a number of enchanting islands, also called drumlins, on Rice Lake. Also of interest are the remains of the Cobourg and Peterborough Railway which once crossed the water. Completed in 1854, a railroad bridge crossed the lake from Harwood to Hiawatha. During a particularly hard winter, thick layers of ice damaged the bridge beyond repair, and it was closed within six years. Sections of the railway bed are still visible on the lake. Rice Lake boat cruises also navigate around the islands offering visitors scenic and informational tours. For water sports enthusiasts, watercraft rentals of all kinds are available from local marinas. Swimmers, boaters, snorkelers, and divers all share the pristine waters of the lake.

Golfers visiting Rice Lake can enjoy a choice of multiple golf courses ranging from challenging to relaxing, all with spectacular views. Great hiking and cycling opportunities can be found within the provincial and conservation parks that surround the lake. A scenic driving tour through the rolling hillside is a great way to visit the many historic villages in the area where artisan studios, antique shops and specialty outlets await tourists. The village of Bewdley sits on the western end of the lake, and the town of Hastings sits on the east.

On the northern shore of Rice Lake, visitors can tour the Serpent Mounds Park which is owned and operated by the Hiawatha First Nation. The park contains nine burial mound enclosed graves of ancient people who lived in the area more than 2,000 years ago. Other places of interest include the Native Reserves of Alderville and Hiawatha and the communities of Roseneath, Bailieboro, Gores Landing and Harwood. The early Mississauga name for Rice Lake was Pem-e-dash-cou tay-ang or Lake of the Burning Plains. This name refers to the hunting grounds on the southern shore where the Mississaugas burned the vegetation each spring to encourage a type of grass favored by deer.

Wildlife on the shores of Rice Lake include white-tailed deer, moose and even elk have been spotted close by. Muskrats, beavers, fishers and minks share the area as well. For bird lovers, keep an eye open for bald eagles, osprey, blue heron, loon, woodpeckers or any of the other dozens of birds that make their home near the lake. Large flocks of geese, ducks, and wading birds visit the lake throughout the year.

With inviting waters that can accommodate fishing, swimming, and boating, Rice Lake is a great place to enjoy a relaxing day. Sample some fine local cuisine, shop for that unique souvenir of your travels, or cast your line and wait for that big one to bite. Just 50 miles east of Toronto, Rice Lake is the ultimate destination for any type of water oriented activity.

Custom Rice Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Rice Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Rice Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Rice Lake

The Rice Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Rice Lake photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Rice Lake statistics & helpful links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Parks Canada

Surface Area: 24,748 acres

Average Depth: 9 feet

Maximum Depth: 26 feet

Trophic State: Eutrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

Advertise your Rice Lake vacation rental

LakeLubbers will soon offer homeowners and property managers the opportunity to to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily for accommodations. If you’d like additional details, please contact our advertising team here.

divider

Looking for the Rice Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

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