Sprawled across one of western Quebec’s most beautiful environments, Lake Kipawa offers nearly 75,000 acres of pristine water stretching into countless coves, arms and bays. This beautiful lake winds among islands, steep limestone cliffs, narrow channels and rocky shorelines covered in trees and inhabited by native wildlife. Reaching over 300 feet in depth in some places, the lake offers excellent fishing for at least 15 different fish species, including northern pike, yellow perch, ling, lake whitefish, lake herring, white sucker, walleye and lake trout. Nearly a dozen fishing resorts inhabit the isolated reaches of the lake, providing lodgings for vacationing anglers who return again and again.
Except for the summer cottages along parts of the shoreline, and a slightly higher water level, the lake looks much as it did hundreds of years ago when native First Nations bands fished these waters and hunted game in the surrounding woods. The name Kipawa (or Kippewa, as it was originally spelled) stems from a Nishnabi phrase meaning “narrow passage between rocks” or “closed off waters”, an apt description of the lake’s character. First Nations people never lost their love of the lake and still inhabit the area on several Reserve parcels.
The clear waters of the lake provide for excellent underwater diving adventures, where divers sometimes encounter one of the large sunken boats remaining from the days when Lake Kipawa was a logging and lumber transport center. Because Lake Kipawa is only about 10 miles from the City of Temiscaming, Lake Kipawa is a favored destination for both day trips and overnight excursions. Temiscaming provides more variety in the way of services, including restaurants, medical facilities and entertainment. The smaller Laniel and Kipawa Villages offer necessity groceries and services but little in the way of variety. About 65 mils away, the larger city of North Bay, Ontario serves for major shopping and less-common services.
The hamlet of Kipawa is at the far end of the lake from Laniel. Home to two Algonquin Native Communities, the village of Kipawa offers a convenience store and simple food menu for the hungry visiting fisherman. Kipawa is also the location of a dam, one of the two that regulate the water levels on the lake complex. The outlet is called Gordon Creek but was not the original water outlet for the lake until an artificial channel was dug to direct the cut logs downstream toward Lake Temiscamingue in 1888. A dam was built to regulate the water by the same group of investors who built the dam across the Kipawa River outlet near the same time.
Visiting Lake Kipawa is as easy as making a reservation at one of the many fishing resorts. Most are equipped with activities for all family members to enjoy; they rent boats, sell bait and offer guide service. Many families return to the same resort year after year for generations. Often private cottages are available to rent by the week or even the season and provide a wide variety of amenities including boats, canoes, docks and fishing gear. There is nearly always a semi-formal arrangement with a local outfitter or guide service to transport vacationers to their temporary homes.