Join us on the water! We are experts at boating, canoeing, swimming and fishing, because we get to do it all, all the time! The lakes are a 4 season playground. There’s multiple public access points, so we never miss a chance to get wet.
The Bonnechere River
The Bonnechere River travels 145km from its source in Algonquin Park to the Ottawa River at Castleford. It connects lakes, communities and cultures. It weaves our history together. The river has served as a main travel way for people and a log driving route for timber. It has powered grist mills, electricity generating dams and multiple industries. The bountiful fish and wildlife of the Bonnechere have sustained populations for thousands of years and continue to do so today. The waters offer everything from exciting recreation to calming relaxation. We welcome all travellers to The Bonnechere River, the heart of our valley.
Boat Launches: Water Street, Eganville, small boats and canoes/kayaks only
Beaches: Rotary Beach, 178 Jane Street, Eganville (behind the arena)
Fourth Chute on the Bonnechere River
The Bonnechere is marked by 5 Chutes (waterfalls) of varying height. The falls created obstacles for floating lumber downriver, so the loggers created chutes to bypass them. Although the physical chutes are long gone, the name has stuck. At the Fourth Chute, the Bonnechere plunges over a small ridge then continues to the main falls, dropping aproximately 35 feet over large square blocks of limestone.
In spring, the falls rage over the limestone river banks and slam into the 120 year old concrete remnents of an old saw mill. As spring moves into summer, the water levels lower and tame the falls. More of the limestone blocks of the waterfall structure become visible, creating beautiful opportunities for photographs. No matter how often you visit, it’s never the same view twice.
The falls are easy to access, just 8km east of Eganville, with lots of parking, a view from the road, and a short walking trail. Save time to explore the Bonnechere Caves while you are at the 4th Chute and discover how the river helped create the cave.
Address: Bonnechere Caves, 1247 Fourth Chute Road
Put In / Take Out: North side of bridge, opposite side of road from the Caves. Parking at south side of bridge.
The Fifth Chute
The Fifth Chute is located upriver from the Fourth Chute, at the village of Eganville. The aproximate 40 foot drop is dammed with a power generating station owned by the Township of Bonnechere Valley. A much lower, but more photogenic river drop is located at McRae Lookout Park.
Travelling farther up the Bonnechere you will arrive at tiny Wilber Lake. Some locals refer to this lake as Mud Lake, because that was its orginal name, and because, well, its really muddy. The mud and the muck may not attract human swimmers but the fish, turtles and frogs love it. It’s a great spot for waterfowl espeically during the spring and fall migrations. Trumpeter Swans regularly make stops on Wilber and Golden Lake as they pass through the area. Osprey fishing the lake are a very common sight in summer. Bald Eagles are common year round.
Boat Launch: Small fishing boats, canoe/kayaks can put in on Highway 60, between the Wilber Heights Road signs. There are no signs and no facilities at this unmaintained township launch. Park to the side of highway on the extra wide shoulder.
Fishing: Northern Pike, Large and Smallmouth Bass, various Panfish
Beautiful Golden Lake is home to many resorts and recreational opportunities.
Golden Lake is known for its smallmouth bass and Northern pike fishing and has
a smooth, sandy bottom for swimmers. The lake reportedly got its name from the
flecks of pyrite or “fool’s gold” that can be seen glinting on the bottom of the
lake near the shore. The lake is made up of three sections: the largest at the
western end of the lake, a smaller section to the east, and a much smaller section
at the eastern end of the lake, where it flows into the Bonnechere River. It is
Public Boat Launches
Township of Bonnechere Valley owns and maintains a free public boat launch at
Bonnechere Lodge on Golden Lake. There is also a public boat launch at Wilber Lake.
Lake Clear is famous for its incredible landscapes, island camping, fantastic
fishing and boating, and clear, turquoise waters. Lake Clear also has a renowned
reputation for drawing some of the finest artists from far and wide to paint here.
Once such artist, A.Y. Jackson of the Group of Seven, painted extensively in this
area in the 1950’s and 60’s. Lake Clear’s vibrant art community has
commemorated A.Y. Jackson’s presence in a
website, www.ayjacksontrail.ca, featuring contemporary artists
who have painted from the lake, and with a trail that takes you to some of the
places A.Y. Jackson painted in the area.
You can stand in the spot where A.Y. Jackson painted Big Rock by walking to the
end of the public beach on Beulow Road and following the walking trail. A close-
up view of Big Rock is an easy paddle away.
With a very gradual bed drop off, visitors can wade up to
at least 200m before hitting swimming depth which makes it ideal for young
families. The lake bed is smooth and clean; the beach is fine white sand is ideal
for sand castles. There are no picnic areas or lifeguards on duty but compost
toilets are available to the public. There are no boat launches in proximity to the
beach but the area is perfect for a paddle to nearby Hurds Creek where you can
spot many snapping turtles and Peregrin falcons.
Not far from Golden Lake and only a few minutes from Eganville, Lake Dore is
home to campgrounds, cottages, trails and Melissa Bishop Park. Lake Dore is a
long-time favourite for Eganville vacationers and famous for being the largest
freshwater lake in North America without any islands.
Melissa Bishop Park
Frolic on the beach an swim in beautiful Lake Dore. Relax in the shade and grass.
Bring a picnic! There are washrooms on-site and a playground for children.
However, no dogs allowed on the beach at this time. Access is free but the water
is not supervised by lifeguards. In 2015 this park, which was then called the North
Algona Wilberforce Township Park was renamed Melissa Bishop Park to honour
our hometown Olympian. The park sign lists Bishop’s accomplishments including
being a gold medallist at the Pan Am Games, a two-time Olympian and the
national record holder in the women’s 800m.