Lake Nipissing is the fifth-largest lake in Ontario, not including the Great Lakes. Historically, some 10,000 years ago, a great inland sea was formed, called the Nipissing Great Lakes, by the retreating melt waters of the last ice age. The Nipissing Great Lakes covered a huge area including all of today's Great Lakes plus Lake Nipissing. After the heavy glacial ice retreated the land rose and the lakes began draining. Some 600 years ago, during the time of the fur trade, more modern Lake Nipissing actually drained east through the Mattawa River, into the Ottawa and south through the French River. Today's Nipissing drains into Georgian Bay through the French River
Nipissing is relatively shallow for a large lake, with an average depth of 15 feet (4.5 meters). Large areas of the main lake have depths only down to 30 feet (9 meters).
The overall shallowness of Nipissing makes for many areas of extensive weed flats, especially in the bays located off the open lake. Some areas, such as West Bay are very shallow with many rock shoals and small islands separating the weed beds. The deeper areas of Nipissing are found at the mouth of the French River and the channels of the West Arm
The West Arm and West Bay of Lake Nipissing offer miles of twisting shoreline, picturesque islands and hidden back bays. Areas of shallows with extensive weed-beds and many rock shoals contrast with areas of clear, deep channels. Glaciers have carved the granite rocks, creating clearings of smooth rocks on the water's edge. These make great spots for a shore lunch or noon day swim.
Fish habitat and fish abound in Nipissing. The main sports fish include Musky, Northern Pike, Walleye and Bass. Originally the Lake Nipissing walleyes were all the smaller "blue" walleye. In the early 1920's Ontario's Lands and Forest introduced millions of "yellow" walleye fry into Nipissing. These new, larger walleye soon dominated the walleye population in Nipissing, a testament to the influence that fish stocking can have on a body of water.
Bordering the lake on the north shore of the West Arm and west end of West Bay area is a new 2000-acre (8 square kilometers) nature reserve called Mashkinonje Provincial Park. This new park now has 25 miles (40 kilometers) of hiking trails where you can explore the Northern Ontario wilderness firsthand. On the east side of the park is a new 25 foot (7.6 meter) viewing platform, overlooking the Loudon peak lands.
"Dear Leslie & Kevin, Hope all is well & the fishing superb! We had another wonderful, unforgettable trip. Your gracious hospitality and good cheer are unmatched anywhere. Thanks again and Best Wishes."
Warren Hollis (Ohio)
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