Lake Winnipeg is a large but shallow lake in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Located near the city of Winnipeg, the lake covers an area of 9,465 sq mi and has a mean depth of only 39 feet. It ranks as the sixth largest freshwater lake in the country and the eleventh largest in the world. Lake Winnipeg is surrounded by spectacular landscapes that feature tall limestone cliffs, numerous bat caves, pristine boreal forests, rivers, and remote sandy beaches. The Saskatchewan River, Winnipeg River, and Red River are the primary inflows of Lake Winnipeg while the Nelson River is the primary outflow.
Primary Inflows of Lake Winnipeg
The Saskatchewan River rises in central Saskatchewan, near the confluence of the South Saskatchewan and North Saskatchewan rivers. It then flows roughly east, into Manitoba, and then drains into Lake Winnipeg through Cedar Lake.
The Red River rises at the confluence of the Otter Tail and Bois de Sioux rivers in the US states of Minnesota and North Dakota. The river then flows north through the Red River Valley, enters the Canadian province of Manitoba, and drains into Lake Winnipeg.
The Winnipeg River starts from Lake of the Woods in the Canadian province of Ontario. The river then flows northwest, enters Manitoba, and ultimately empties into Lake Winnipeg.
Other rivers that flow into Lake Winnipeg include the Dauphin River, which drains Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis, and then enters Lake Winnipeg from the west. Numerous other rivers, such as the Berens, Poplar, Manigotagan, Bloodvein, as well as various creeks, also drain into Lake Winnipeg from all directions.
Primary Outflow of Lake Winnipeg
Lake Winnipeg drains into the Nelson River at an average yearly rate of 72,960 cu ft/s. The river then flows for a distance of 400 mi before draining into Hudson Bay.
Environment of Lake Winnipeg
Lake Winnipeg is home to numerous species of fish, such as lampreys, suckers, catfishes, pikes, whitefish, codfishes, sunfishes, perch, and drums. The bigmouth buffalo and shortjaw cisco are two species found in the lake which are considered to be at risk. Lake Winnipeg also provides nesting and feeding sites to a variety of birds in summer. For example, American white pelicans, common terns, Caspian terns, herring gull, ring-billed gull, and double-crested cormorant all visit the lake during the summer months.
Fishing is an important economic activity on Lake Winnipeg. The lake is also used for the transportation of people and goods, tourism, and recreational activities.