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2023.12.14 Level Forecast

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.64 m (1058.5 ft), a 30th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 1.5 cm (0.5 in) over the past week and is expected to decline by 1.5 to 2.5 cm (0.5 to 1 in) over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 300 m3/s with no changes scheduled at this time.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.71 m (1167.0 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level declined by 9 cm (3 in) over the past week and is expected to decrease by 9 to 10 cm (3.5 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 325 m3/s with no changes scheduled at this time.

2023.12.07 Level Forecast and Ice Formation Monitoring

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.66 m (1058.6 ft), a 30th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 1.5 cm (0.5 in) over the past week and is expected to decline by up to 1.5 cm (0.5 in) over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is increasing to 300 m3/s today, December 7.

This flow increase will cause levels on the Winnipeg River to rise by approximately 5 cm (2 in) downstream of the Norman Dam, 2 cm (1 in) at the Dalles and will cause very little level change at Minaki.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.81 m (1167.3 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level declined by 9 cm (3 in) over the past week and is expected to decrease by 7 cm (2.5 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 325 m3/s with no changes scheduled at this time.


With the official start of winter a couple weeks away, the Lake of the Woods Secretariat has been monitoring the formation of ice on the major lakes and rivers in the Winnipeg River basin. We use observations from webcams or field visits to monitor ice formation. There is also a special tool on NASA’s Earth Observing Satellites, Terra and Aqua, that allows us to monitor ice over the entire Winnipeg River basin. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) is a sensor on board both of these satellites that creates images of the earth’s surface. When skies are clear and there are no clouds blocking the view, the images of the Winnipeg River basin are extraordinary!

The image below on the left is from December 3d when there was a good view of Lake of the Woods. The image on the right is the same but shown in “false colour”, meaning different bands of the satellite signal were used to colour the image. In this image, ice and snow show up as a bright aqua blue colour, allowing us to see the ice forming over Lake of the Woods and all the other small lakes in the Winnipeg River basin.

Knowing when lakes and rivers have frozen over is useful for a variety of reasons. For example, to avoid damage to docks and ensure safe (and stable) ice conditions on the Winnipeg River, outflow increases from Lake of the Woods are kept at a minimum once a stable ice cover is in place. Ice also has an impact on water level and flow measurements. On lakes that are frozen over, the water surface no longer shifts due to wind setup and waves and becomes very smooth. This has happened at the gauges around Lake of the Woods in the last week and is evident in the Lake of the Woods level graph shown below. It can also be more difficult to estimate the flow of water under ice, and therefore the flow data for certain rivers may be less accurate and gets flagged in our data graphs by a pink line.

2023.12.05 Lake of the Woods Outflow Increase

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.66 m (1058.6 ft), a 30th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 1 cm (0.5 in) over the past week. With the lake level slightly higher than expected for early December, Lake of the Woods outflow can be increased while still targeting end-of-winter levels set in the Regulation Strategy. Temperatures are also expected to climb above freezing this week and ice has just started forming on the Winnipeg River.

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will increase to 300 m3/s on Thursday, December 7. This flow increase will cause levels on the Winnipeg River to rise by approximately 5 cm (2 in) downstream of the Norman Dam, 2 cm (1 in) at the Dalles and will cause very little level change at Minaki.

2023.11.30 Level Forecast

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.67 m (1058.6 ft), a 30th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 3 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to decline by 2 to 3 cm (1 in) over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 275 m3/s with no changes scheduled at this time.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.89 m (1167.6 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level declined by 9 cm (3 in) over the past week and is expected to decrease by 11 cm (4 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 325 m3/s with no changes scheduled at this time.

2023.11.23 Level Forecast

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.69 m (1058.7 ft), a 30th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level remained stable over the past week and is expected to decline by 2 to 3 cm (1 in) over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 275 m3/s with no changes scheduled at this time.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.98 m (1167.9 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level declined by 7 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to decrease by 8 to 9 cm (2.5 to 3.5 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 325 m3/s with no changes scheduled at this time.

2023.11.16 Level Forecast and Outflow Changes

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.69 m (1058.7 ft), a 30th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level remained stable over the past week and is expected to change little over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 275 m3/s with no changes scheduled at this time.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.05 m (1168.1 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level declined by 6 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to decrease by 7 to 9 cm (2.5 to 3.5 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 250 m3/s and is scheduled to increase to 325 m3/s on Tuesday, November 21.

2023.11.09 Level Forecast and Outflow Changes

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.69 m (1058.7 ft), a 25th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level increased by 1 cm (0.5 in) over the past week and is expected to decline by 1 to 2 cm (1 in) over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow was increased to 250 m3/s today and is scheduled to increase to 275 m3/s on Tuesday, November 14.

Over the next week, these flow increases will cause levels on the Winnipeg River to rise by approximately 14 cm (5.5 in) downstream of the Norman Dam, 5 cm (2 in) at the Dalles and will cause very little level change at Minaki.

By the end of next week, outflow from Lake of the Woods will be at or near the preferred flow for the winter and only minor outflow changes may be necessary depending on conditions. An authorized outflow of 275 m3/s should also provide an adequate level on the Winnipeg River downstream of Kenora to avoid freezing of domestic water line intakes.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.11 m (1168.3 ft), a 25th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level changed little over the past week and is expected to decrease by approximately 5 cm (2 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 200 m3/s and is scheduled to increase to 250 m3/s on Tuesday, November 14. Another outflow increase is tentatively scheduled for the week of November 20.

The Basin Data page will not be updated on Monday, November 13 due to the federal holiday for observance of Remembrance Day in Canada.

2023.11.06 Outflow Increase Postponed

Due to scheduled maintenance at the Norman Dam this week, the Lake of the Woods outflow increase to 250 m3/s is postponed to Thursday, November 9.

This flow increase will cause levels on the Winnipeg River to rise by approximately 8 cm (2 in) downstream of the Norman Dam, 2 cm (1 in) at the Dalles and will cause very little level change at Minaki.

The Lac Seul outflow increase to 200 m3/s remains scheduled for Tuesday, November 7.

2023.11.02 Level Forecast and Winter Regulation Strategy

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.68 m (1058.7 ft), a 25th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level changed little over the past week and is expected to remain stable over the next few days until the next outflow change, when levels will rise up to 2 cm (1 in) by end of next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 200 m3/s and will increase to 250 m3/s on Tuesday, November 7.

This flow increase will cause levels on the Winnipeg River to rise by approximately 8 cm (2 in) downstream of the Norman Dam, 2 cm (1 in) at the Dalles and will cause very little level change at Minaki.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.10 m (1168.3 ft), a 25th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level changed little over the past week and is expected to decrease by approximately 2 cm (1 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 150 m3/s and will increase to 200 m3/s on Tuesday, November 7.

Winter Regulation Strategy

On October 24, the Lake of the Woods Control Board (LWCB) held its fall Regulation Meeting, attended by specific interest groups and resource agencies, and adopted its Winter Regulation Strategy. The strategy outlines regulation targets for various inflow conditions for the period of November 2023 to March 2024. The Secretariat provided a review of current drought conditions and how outflows and levels on the major lakes had declined over the summer and early fall. Climate forecasts indicated El Nino conditions may strengthen and drought conditions could persist into the spring. At the meeting, these outlooks were reviewed and considered when setting spring lake level targets.

With the expected limited winter inflow to Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul, the strategy focuses on providing minimum flows along the English and Winnipeg Rives for hydropower production and plant heating, as well as monitoring the drawdown of both lakes over the winter.

For Lake of the Woods, the strategy targets a normal spring level target, given the risk of drought conditions in the spring. For Lac Seul, the strategy recommends a lower than normal spring level target while ensuring the supply of core winter flow requirements on the English and Winnipeg Rivers.

2023.10.27 Level Forecast and Outflow Increases

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.68 m (1058.6 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level changed little over the past week and is expected to remain stable over the next week as well. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will increase to 200 m3/s on Tuesday, October 31.

This flow increase will cause levels on the Winnipeg River to rise by approximately 8 cm (2 in) downstream of the Norman Dam, 2 cm (1 in) at the Dalles and will cause very little level change at Minaki.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.13 m (1168.4 ft), a 25th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level changed little over the past week and is expected to decrease by up to 2 cm (1 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow will increase to 150 m3/s on Tuesday, October 31.