Lake Winnipeg may not be one of the Great Lakes, but it is so large that one may think it may as well be one. This massive lake is completely located in the Canadian province of Manitoba and is situated around 55 kilometers or 34 miles north of the city of Winnipeg.

If one is planning to go to Manitoba's frozen north along the Hudson Bay, then consider going on a Manitoba polar bear expedition. But the massive Canadian province of Manitoba is much more than just polar bears, there are many things to see and do in this province (including seeing the Northern Lights).

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About Lake Winnipeg

Lake Winnipeg (together with Lake Manitoba) are remnants of the prehistoric Lake Agassiz from the last ice age. That lake was so massive that it changed the world's climate and was larger than the five Great Lakes combined. It disappeared around 4,000 years ago.

Lake Winnipeg is large, but it is also relatively shallow. It is Canada's sixth-largest freshwater lake and the third largest to be completely located within Canada. It is home to many islands of which most remain undeveloped.

  • Size: 24,500 Square Kilometers or 9,500 Square Miles (About the Size of New Hampshire)
  • Mean Depth: 12 Meters or 39 Feet
  • Eleventh Largest: It is The Eleventh Largest Freshwater Lake On In The World

On the eastern shores of the lake are pristine boreal forests that are not UNESCO Listed as Pimachiowin Aki. When the locals in Winnipeg talk about "going to the coast" in reference to the lake, one can get the feeling that this is a very large lake.

Unfortunately, this massive lake is suffering from environmental issues - one of the most pressing being the explosion of the population of algae because of the excessive amounts of phosphorus seeping into the lake.

Attractions and Activities At Lake Winnipeg

Lake Winnipeg is a favorite local destination as it is affordable, the beaches and the lake are stunning, and because there are so many beaches they don't get too crowded. The beaches on this mighty lake boast some of Canada's whitest and best beaches.

Activities include sunbathing in the summer, snowkiting across the lake in the winter, Nordic skiing, kiteboarding in the summer, and fishing (catch walleye and perch). It is considered something of an all-season getaway.

Tip: The 1.8 Long Sandy Grand Beach Has Warm Lake Water

  • Peak Season: July and August

Related: This Lake Superior Island Is Unique For Its Wolf And Moose Population

The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba

Come during the Icelandic Festival of Manitoba (which has been celebrated continuously since 1890) and see people discover and embrace their inner Viking. This is held in summer during early August at Gimli and normally attracts a crowd of around 50,000 visitors.

  • The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba: One of North America's Oldest Continuous Ethnic Festivals Held Here In Gimli In Early August

The event includes a folk music festival, fireworks, an AD 800 living history village, and more. In the living history village, one will see a hundred re-enactors clan in authentic Viking garb.

Have fun reliving the age of the Vikings (of course most of what is believed about Vikings is borne of eighteenth-century revisionist history, but don't let that get in the way of a fun Viking time).

Fishing In Lake Winnipeg

Fishing is one of the main attractions and things to do here. The lake boasts a range of varying habitats and these support a large number of fish species (some of which grow to be very large). The number of fish species found here is more than any other lake in Canada west of the Great Lakes.

  • Number of Native Species: 60 Of The Native Species Are In The Lake

Fish include catfish, sturgeon, whitefish, pike, trout perch, codfish, sunfish, perch, and others. In addition, rainbow trout and brown trout are stocked in Manitoba waters by the provincial fisheries (oddly enough neither of the two popular trout species can sustain themself independently in Manitoba). Bass and common carp have also found their way to the lake.

If one needs outfitting with tackle everything to haul in the big one, consider outfitters like Jason Hamilton Outdoors and Blackwater Cats. They can help with both summer and winter ice fishing.

Related: Welcome To Nirivia: A Micronation That Exists In Lake Superior

Where To Stay

When it comes to places to stay around the lake, National Geographic's top recommendations are:

Inn Among the Oaks: Located Just outside of Grand Beach Provincial Park And is A Wooden B&B

Lakeview Hotel: Located In Gimli And Has Stunning Views of The Lake From Its Rooms

Lakeview Hecla Resort: Is Pet Friendly and Is Located Inside Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park (Plus it Has an 18-hole Golf Course)

Eagles Nest and Pine Island Lodge: Great Fly-in Lodges For Trophy Anglers

Next: A Circle Tour Of Lake Superior Is The Best Way To See America's Largest Great Lake