With dozens of rivers and lakes, Madawaska Valley is the place to be. Whether you paddle, sail, motor or fish, from Combermere you can explore over 60 kms of navigable waterways on the York and Madawaska Rivers, Kamaniskeg Lake, and Conroy’s Marsh. Our Madawaska River is world-renowned for whitewater canoeing. Those who prefer sun and sand will enjoy the many public beaches. Moreover, our waterways are the best places to encounter wildlife – whether you watch birds, catch fish, or howl at wolves.
The Township of Madawaska Valley is fortunate to have several lakes within its boundaries; some of the larger bodies of water are included below; however we do have smaller gems as well including, Carson, Lepine, Greenan, Green, Divazie, Trout, Kuiack, Labrador, Campbell, Dam, Diamond, Long, Omega and McMaster Lake.
Motorized vehicles are permitted on most of the lakes in the Madawaska Valley, however drivers must remember that they are sharing the waterways with paddlers and other recreational vessels.
The Canadian Government requires all boaters to carry proof of competency while operating a powered watercraft. The most common form of this proof is the Pleasure Craft Operator Card, aka ‘a boat license’. You can obtain your licence at: http://www.boatsmartexam.com/en/
The Madawaska River starts at Source Lake in Algonquin Park and travels 225 kilometers east to merge with the Ottawa River at Arnprior. The word Madawaska means ‘hidden river’ as it runs in and out of so many lakes. For navigating purposes, The Madawaska River is divided into 3 sections. The Upper Madawaska runs from Whitney to the village of Madawaska. This 27 kilometer section is rough in the spring but becomes more manageable later in the summer. The Middle Madawaska (our region) runs from Bark Lake to Kamaniskeg Lake and features 5 Kilometers of class 1-4 rapids and is controlled by the Bark Lake Dam. The river then flows out of the south end of Kamaniskeg Lake at Combermere and continues through Conroy Marsh and on to The Lower Madawaska which is a 40 kilometer run from Palmer Rapids to Griffith.
Kamaniskeg Lake is located in the heart of the Madawaska Valley with Barry’s Bay at its north end and Combermere to the south. The Madawaska River flows in and out of its south end offering about 90 km of boating. The lake itself is approximately 7200 acres in size with a maximum depth of 133 feet. Fish species include Lake Trout, Pickerel, Small Mouth Bass and Northern Pike. The best way to access Kamaniskeg Lake from the north end is to “put – in” at the Barry’s Bay Lakeshore. To access Kamaniskeg Lake from the South Hinterland Beach is a good starting point. The most straight forward way to access the Middle Madawaska River is to “put – in” at the Siberia Rd bridge. Kamaniskeg Lake is the most popular motor boating lake in the Madawaska Valley. There are a number of business in the Barry’s Bay area that offer marine repair and sales services.
If you like scuba diving, you may want to visit the wreck of the Mayflower. A paddle-ship which sank in 1912. The wreck site is on the north side of the two islands, about 500 yards from the large island heading towards the section of the lake heading to Barry’s bay. It is usually marked by a white floating jug, and at a depth of about 25 feet to the bottom.
Bark Lake is large mostly undeveloped lake located approximately 15 km west of Barry’s Bay and is surrounded mostly by crown land. Bell Bay Provincial Park is located on its north shore. The surface area of the lake is 9386 acres with a maximum depth of 79 feet. Fish species in Bark Lake include Lake Trout, Smallmouth bass, White sucker, Yellow Perch, Lake Whitefish and Round Whitefish. Bark Lake has also been stocked with Northern Pike and Walleye.
Wadsworth Lake is situated in the heart of Kashub county and can be best accessed from the south end at the public beach on Hopefield Rd.
Conroy’s Marsh is a 2,400 hectar, provincially significant wetland located south of Combermere and can be accessed from the North by the Madawaska River, from the west by the York River or from the east by the Little Mississippi River. The marsh has smooth waters for paddling and offers visitors a plethora of birds, wildlife and plant species. The best starting point for the Conroy Marsh is to “put – in” at Dennison Bridge Park on HWY 62 in Combermere and follow the river South.