ISSUED 2021.11.12

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.53 m (1058.2ft), a 10th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 1 cm (½ in) over the past week and is expected to change little over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 90 m³/s with no changes scheduled. 

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.93 m (1167.7 ft), a 10th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 7 cm (3 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 75 m³/s with no changes scheduled. 

Over the coming weeks, outflow from both lakes will increase to meet the anticipated winter hydropower demand.  Increases are expected to be gradual and should be complete before an ice cover is formed on the rivers.  Outflow increases will be announced on this Noticeboard. 

Winter Strategy Adopted

The Lake of the Woods Control Board held a Regulation Meeting on October 29th. The goal of the meeting was to discuss and adopt a strategy to guide Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul flow operations from now until the end of March. Invitations to participate in the discussion were sent to representatives of First Nations, Specific Interest Groups, and advisors from Resource Agencies as described on the Board Description page.

The focus of the discussion was the ongoing drought conditions and the low flows across the basin. For much of the year, the LWCB has regulated to hold back water in Lac Seul and Lake of the Woods given the extremely dry conditions. This stored water is essential to supply the English and Winnipeg Rivers through the winter when tributary flows are typically lowest. Flow requirements for hydropower in Ontario and Manitoba become a key consideration in the core winter period when energy demand for heating is at its highest. Maintaining a base flow to protect residential water lines along these rivers is also important. Other considerations include the rate of drawdown of Lac Seul and Lake of the Woods over the winter period, as this affects fall spawning success and has the potential to cause ice damage to shoreline structures such as docks. Finally, preliminary targets for the lake levels at the end of the winter were considered with a focus on risk of continued drought conditions in the spring of 2022.

The adopted strategy aims to maintain the current stable, low flows out of Lac Seul and Lake of the Woods for the remainder of fall until freeze-up, continuing to store water for release over the winter period. The LWCB will monitor the progress of freeze-up and lake and river ice development, and will look to increase outflow from these lakes to meet the core winter flow requirements for the English and Winnipeg Rivers ahead of significant ice build-up. The timing of outflow increases will depend on the temperature over the coming weeks and will be updated on this Notice Board.

The LWCB will meet to review the early winter conditions and assess the snowpack and winter severity in January. Based on this, it will target changes, if necessary, to the core winter flow rates before the next LWCB Regulation Meeting scheduled for early March. At that meeting, the strategy for the end of winter and early spring will be adopted.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.51 m (1058.1 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level changed little over the past week and is expected to decline by 2-3 cm (1 in) over the next week with continued dry weather. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 90 m³/s with no changes scheduled.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.83 m (1167.4 ft), a 10th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 2 cm (1 in), and is expected to rise by a similar amount over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 75 m³/s with no changes scheduled.

Issued 2021.10.29

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.52 m (1058.1 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 2 cm (1 in) over the past week and could rise by up to 2 cm (1 in) over the next week. 

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 90 m3/s and no outflow changes are currently scheduled.  

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.80 m (1167.3 ft), a 10th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 4 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 5 to 7 cm (2 to 3 in) over the next week. 

Lac Seul authorized outflow is 75 m3/s and no outflow changes are currently scheduled. 

Issued 2021.10.22

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.50 m (1058.1 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level fell by 2 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to fall by 1 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) over the next week. 

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 90 m3/s and no outflow changes are currently scheduled.  

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.77 m (1167.2 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 2 cm (1 in) over the past week and could fall by 1 cm (½ in) or rise by 2 cm (1 in) over the next week. 

Lac Seul authorized outflow is 75 m3/s and no outflow changes are currently scheduled.   

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Manitoba Hydro has provided the following weekly forecast for lake levels along the Winnipeg River in the Whiteshell. For questions related to water levels in this area, please contact Manitoba Hydro. 

Issue 2021.10.14

Over the past week, rainfall was above normal for early October for most of the Winnipeg River basin. This resulted in a modest increase in stream flows in most areas and in inflow to the major lakes. Flows remain seasonally low in most areas, however, as the long-term drought conditions remain in place.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.52 m (1058.1 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level rose by 5 cm (2 in) over the past week, and is expected to rise by 1-2 cm (1 in) over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 90 m³/s.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.75 m (1167.1 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level rose by 8 cm (3 in) over the past week, and is expected to rise by 3-5 cm (1-2 in ) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 75 m³/s.

Issued 2021.10.08

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.46 m (1057.9 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level fell by 1 cm (1/2 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 1 to 7 cm (1 to 3 in) over the next week. 

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 90 m3/s and no outflow changes are currently scheduled.  

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.66 m (1166.9 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 3 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 3 to 9 cm (1 to 4 in) over the next week. 

Lac Seul authorized outflow is 75 m3/s and no outflow changes are currently scheduled. 


Manitoba Hydro has provided the following forecast for lake levels along the Winnipeg River in the Whiteshell. For questions related to water levels in this area, please contact Manitoba Hydro. 

Issued 2021.09.30

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.47 m (1058.10ft), less than a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level fell by 2 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to fall by as much as 3 cm (1 in) over the next week. 

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will be reduced from 100 to 90 m3/s on Friday October 1st. The level of the Winnipeg River immediately below the Norman Dam is expected to drop by 1-2 cm (1 in) in response.  The level at Minaki will not be affected by this flow change. 

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.64 m (1166.8 ft), less than a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 2 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 2 to 6 cm (1 to 3 in) over the next week. 

Lac Seul authorized outflow is 75 m3/s and no outflow changes are currently scheduled. 

Issued 2021.09.23

The past week saw some much needed precipitation in a large portion of the Winnipeg River basin. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought categories for some Minnesota portions of the basin improved from Exceptional to Extreme Drought or from Extreme to Severe Drought.

Data Source: Canadian Regional Deterministic Precipitation Analysis (RDPA)

However, due to the widespread drought conditions, little of this rainfall has reached streams and larger tributaries in the basin. Substantial rainfall is still needed to resolve the underlying drought conditions in the landscape and return flows to normal.

Water levels in key reservoirs upstream of Lake of the Woods, Rainy Lake and Namakan Lake, rose modestly but remain below regulatory targets set by the International Joint Commission. As a result, there has been no increase in the very low seasonal outflows from the dams at these lakes.

Flows in the Rainy River and its main tributaries, the Big Fork River and Little Fork River, saw very small responses to the rainfall. Inflow to Lake of the Woods has not increased significantly as a result.

Rainy River from International Falls, MN. Sep 22, 2021. Photo: Lee Grim

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.50 m (1058.1 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level declined by 1 cm (1/2 in) over the past week and is expected to decline by 1-3 cm over the next week with forecasted dry weather. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 100 m³/s, with no outflow changes currently scheduled.

In the English River basin, the rainfall led to a greater rise in tributary flows in some areas, for example near Sioux Lookout and the Chukuni River where flows are now in the normal range for late September. Other tributaries remain well below normal, as does the level of Lac Seul and the mainstem of the English River as measured at Grassy Narrows.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.62 m (1166.7 ft), less than 5th percentile for this time of year. The lake level rose by 6 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 1-3 cm (1 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 75 m³/s with no changes currently scheduled. A planned regional power outage scheduled by Hydro One will result in fluctuations in outflow from Lac Seul on September 26 and 27, varying between 39 and 107 m³/s before returning to the authorized 75 m³/s.

Issued 2021.09.15 

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.51 m (1058.1 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level changed little over the past week and is expected to fall by 1 to 2 cm (1 in) over the next week. 

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 100 m3/s and no outflow changes are currently scheduled. Average inflow over the next week is estimated to be approximately 65 m3/s. 

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.57 m (1166.6 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 2 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 2 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) over the next week. 

Lac Seul authorized outflow is 75 m3/s and no outflow changes are currently scheduled. Average inflow over the next week is estimated to be approximately 150 m3/s.  

On Wednesday September 8, the Board held a Regulation Consultation call to review the current strategy and basin conditions. Based on the discussion, the Board determined that the current strategy adequately addressed the on-going drought conditions and a new strategy would be adopted at the next Regulation meeting, scheduled for the end of October.

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Manitoba Hydro provided the following forecast on September 9 for lake levels along the Winnipeg River in the Whiteshell. For questions related to water levels in this area, please contact Manitoba Hydro. 

* Note: average is based on limited historic data. 

The Winnipeg River receives most of its water from Ontario’s Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul, these flows are regulated by the LWCB. Manitoba Hydro models the expected rise and fall for lakes on the Winnipeg River downstream of Slave Falls Generating Station based on flows set by the LWCB, unregulated tributaries, and expected precipitation. 

Please note: 

  • Operations of Caribou Falls Generating Station in Ontario and local precipitation may cause daily fluctuations in levels. 
  • Manitoba Hydro’s generating stations on the Winnipeg River pass on all the water received from upstream – generally referred to as “run of river”. 
  • This weekly forecast will be provided during the open water season.

Issued 2021.09.01

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.51 m (1058.1 ft), a 10th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level changed little over the past week and is expected to fall by 1 to 3 cm (1 in) over the next week. 

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will be reduced from 120 to 100 m3/s on Thursday September 2.  The level of the Winnipeg River immediately below the Norman Dam is expected to drop by 3 cm (1 in) in response.  Areas farther downstream will observe a smaller level change.  The level at Minaki will not be affected by this flow change. 

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.55 m (1166.5 ft), a 5th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 2 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 1 to 3 cm (1 to 2 in) over the next week. 

Lac Seul authorized outflow is 75 m3/s.