Rice Lake, Ontario, Canada

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.

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

Rice Lake Photo Gallery

Rice Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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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

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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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