Rice Lake Conservation Area

Rice Lake is in Northumberland and Peterborough counties in south-eastern Ontario, south of the city of Peterborough, and the Kawartha Lakes and north of Cobourg. It is part of the Trent-Severn Waterway, which flows into the lake by the Otonabee and out via the Trent. The lake is 28 kilometres (17 mi) long and 5 km wide. Its maximum depth is 10m, with a surface water level at 187 m above sea level, raised to its present height by the Hastings Dam, built in the 19th century as part of the Trent-Severn canal system. Natives called it Pemadashdakota or “lake of the burning plains”.

A drumlin field is located northwest of the lake, and the lake’s islands are partially submerged drumlins. Rice Lake nearly bisects the Oak Ridges Moraine, with three wedges to the west (Albion, Uxbridge, and Pontypool), and one wedge to the east (Rice Lake) which has terminus at the Trent River. A narrow corridor to the south of Rice Lake connects these wedges.

Rice Lake is shallow and was named for the wild rice which grew in it and was harvested by native people of the area. Most of the extensive stands of wild rice originally found in here were wiped out when water levels were raised in the lake by the construction of the waterway.

Rice Lake is now an attractive tourist area and is recognized for its recreational and sport fisheries. Rice Lake fish include panfish, walleye, muskellunge, and bass. In addition, in recreational fishing a number of annual fishing contests are held here.


An annual charity poker run boat race starting from Bewdley is held the first Saturday after Labour Day, with proceeds going to the Children’s Wish Foundation.