About Lake of the Woods
Lake of the Woods is fed by the Rainy River, Shoal Lake, Kakagi Lake and other smaller rivers. The lake drains into the Winnipeg River and then into Lake Winnipeg.
Lake of the Woods is over seventy miles long and wide, and contains over 15,000 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline - the longest coastline of any Canadian lake. The lake boasts some of the best bass, walleye and muskie fishing in the world.
The lake's islands provide nesting habitat for the endangered Piping Plover and large numbers of American White Pelicans. There are also several hundred nesting pairs of Bald Eagles in this area.
As an international body of water, the lake's water levels are regulated and controlled by the International Lake of the Woods Control Board, part of the International Joint Commission. As early as 1912 water levels were a matter of concern. The governments of Ontario and Canada formed a board of control in 1919. A treaty between Canada and the United States, known as the Lake of the Woods Convention and Protocol, was signed in 1925 and established elevation and discharge requirements for regulating Lake of the Woods based on the IJC recommendations. The joint Canada-Ontario Board of Control continued to exist and retains responsibility for regulating normal water levels (maximum 1061¼ ft or 323.47 metres, minimum 1056 ft or 321.87 metres). Only when water levels exceed these levels are they referred to the international board which consists of two engineers, one Canadian, one American.
Communities near the Lake of the Woods
Angle Inlet, Minnesota
French Portage Narrows, Ontario
Rainy River, Ontario
Sioux Narrows, Ontario
Islands in Lake of the Woods
The Aulneau Peninsula
The largest land feature in Lake of the Woods is the Aulneau Peninsula. It is connected to the mainland with a tiny neck of land at its southeast corner, but a canal (Turtle Portage) was cut through at this point, effectively making the Aulneau an island. The canal is now disused. The Aulneau is approximately twenty miles long and ten miles wide, and contains within it over eighty lakes, the largest of which is Arrow Lake.
The Aulneau Peninsula was named after the Jesuit Father Jean-Pierre Aulneau, a French Catholic priest, who was killed 6 June 1736 on Lake of the Woods. The Catholic Church in Warroad, Minnesota, is named Father Aulneau Memorial Church after him.
Oak Island, Minnesota
Flag Island, Minnesota
Penasse Island - site of American Point, formerly the most northern point and the most northern post office in the United States
Magnuson's Island - site of the restored Fort Saint Charles