Namakan Lake, Minnesota USA & Canada

Also known as:  Namakan Reservoir

Namakan Lake’s delights await the lucky visitor. Covering more than 24,000 acres with many small islands, about half of the lake is located in Minnesota’s Northeast Region and the other half in Ontario, Canada. The USA portion of the lake lies within Voyageurs National Park, a vast expanse of woods and water protected from development to remain in much the same condition as the famed fur trappers and traders found – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Namakan Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Namakan Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Namakan Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Namakan Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Namakan Lake

Lake Locations: Canada - Ontario - USA - Midwest - Minnesota - Northeast -

Namakan Lake’s delights await the lucky visitor. Covering more than 24,000 acres with many small islands, about half of the lake is located in Minnesota’s Northeast Region and the other half in Ontario, Canada. The USA portion of the lake lies within Voyageurs National Park, a vast expanse of woods and water protected from development to remain in much the same condition as the famed fur trappers and traders found it. Namakan Lake is only a part of the huge reservoir bearing the same name: Namakan Reservoir also includes Sand Point Lake, Little Vermilion Lake, Kabetogama Lake, and Crane Lake. All flow into Namakan Lake. Waters then flow northward into Rainy Lake at three points from Namakan Lake.

Long the property of a succession of lumbering interests, Voyageurs National Park was formed in 1975, creating the only national park within Minnesota. The hundreds of miles of lakeshore on the connected lakes never became developed for private cottages, although several resort properties offered lodgings and fishing trips. Due to distance from large metropolitan areas, with the Twin Cities five hours, Winnipeg four hours and Duluth three hours away, Namakan Lake remained a remote resort lake reached primarily by boat or float plane. When lumbering interests decided to sell their holdings, the USA side promptly became the national park, with a few private cottages located on the Canadian shoreline and on some of the larger islands. The heavily wooded shoreline still presents an unbroken expanse of forested lakefront, providing the signature solitude and wild nature so necessary to a traditional up-north vacation.

Water is always the focus of time spent at Namakan Lake: swimming, paddling, wildlife viewing and nature photography consume most of visitors’ days. The clear, cool lake is a delight to swim in, with many natural sandy beaches. The water is so clear that boaters can see over ten feet in depth. All types of boats are permitted except for personal watercraft as long as they are legally registered according to Minnesota law. Boats crossing into Canadian waters must obtain a CANPASS Remote Area Border Crossing permit in advance from the nearest port of entry or by mail. Comparable regulations are in effect when returning to the United States side. These permits are not easily available along the shoreline, so it is best to obtain necessary forms by mail before embarking on any boating adventure. There are no marinas on Namakan Lake, and most boat ramps are located along the Ash River between Namakan Lake and Kabetogama Lake near the Ash River Visitors Center. A number of campsites-all primitive-can be accessed by boat on the Namakan Lake shoreline. Permits are available at the Visitors Center with reservations required for most.

Fishing is always a big attraction at Namakan Lake. Most commonly caught are black crappie, bluegill, northern pike, rock bass, sauger, smallmouth bass, walleye and yellow perch. Fishing guides in the area regularly lead fishing expeditions on Namakan Lake and its connected waterways and may be the better option for first-time visitors because they know where the whoppers are hiding. Those fishing Canadian waters will need an Ontario Non-Resident Fishing License, along with approved Canadian bait. Ice fishing is permitted but not very common due to the distance to the lake from traveled roads. Luckily, snowmobiling within the park is allowed on the many marked trails, and snowmobilers can access the more remote parts of the lake via snow machine.

Many visitors to Voyageur National Park stay at one of the several resorts located along the Ash River. Boats and houseboats can be rented at several locations, and houseboat camping trips are very popular. The several lakes of the Namakan Reservoir are all accessible by boat, and one could spend a month lazily exploring the hundreds of miles of shoreline. A few private cottage rentals are locate on the Canadian side of Namakan Lake, and there is even a limited amount of real estate available-usually in the form of existing cottages. Other properties are located on the many smaller lakes in the area. Most private rentals will help prospective vacationers arrange transportation to their remote properties. Arrival in winter offers the unique opportunity to travel the marked ‘ice road’. Wildlife is plentiful, with moose, bear, bald eagles, otters, loons and timber wolves seen along with a wide variety of songbirds.

There is little in the way of tourist accommodations or conveniences available at Namakan Lake. The entire park is meant to be a wilderness experience. Visitors are expected to pack in their food, drinking water and sleeping gear and pack out their trash. The nearest Visitor Center to Namakan Lake is the one located at Ash River, which does offer some services, including food, supplies, maps and boat rentals. The Visitors Center offers extensive information on the history, geology and ecology off the area. Voyageurs National Park is a natural extension of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness to the east and receives many paddling visitors from that area.

The Voyageurs National Park Association is a volunteer group which works to protect the area and promote pleasant wilderness experiences to outside visitors. One project they have recently been involved in has been stopping the development of a large hydroelectric dam on the Namakan River, west of Namakan Lake. Their overall goal is to protect the natural environment of this beautiful area, including the natural watercourses. The association coordinates information on local attractions, points of interest, lodgings and restaurants near the park.

Water levels at Namakan Lake are controlled by small dams at Kettle Falls and Squirrel Falls. The entire system within the Park has levels controlled by a larger dam at International Falls, MN/Fort Frances, ON. Because of the cross-border nature of the waterway, the entire system is under the ultimate control of International Rainy Lake Board of Control. Adjustments have been made in recent years to more closely replicate the natural seasonal water level changes so as to provide better habitat for fish spawning. This appears to have improved walleye fishing, which is being closely monitored.

Add Namakan Lake to your ‘must-visit’ list soon. Such natural beauty and solitude are a rare find in today’s busy world.

Things to Do at Namakan Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Fish Species Found at Namakan Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sauger
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

All About Namakan Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Namakan Lake

The Namakan Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Namakan Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Namakan Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Namakan Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Namakan Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Namakan Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Water Level Control: International Joint Commission

Surface Area: 24,066 acres

Shoreline Length: 285 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,112 feet

Average Depth: 45 feet

Maximum Depth: 151 feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Namakan Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Namakan Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Namakan Lake photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Namakan Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Namakan Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Namakan Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Namakan Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Namakan Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Namakan Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Namakan Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Namakan Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Namakan Lake forum group? Click Here

New Namakan Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi