Boating

Voted Westman’s ‘Best Lake’, Clear Lake certainly lives up to its name. Considered the clearest lake in the southern prairies, Clear Lake is a premiere destination for boaters.

Motorized boats are allowed on Clear Lake, Moon Lake, and Lake Audy. Boat launches are found on Clear Lake and Lake Audy.

Only non-motorized watercrafts are allowed on Deep Lake, Lake Katherine, Moon Lake and all backcountry lakes.

No personal water crafts are allowed on any waters in Riding Mountain National Park (Restricted Activities Order - Park Waters).

 

Mandatory watercraft inspections for aquatic invasive species (AIS)

MANDATORY INSPECTIONS are required for motorboats, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and inflatables entering RMNP waters. This includes Clear Lake, South Lake, and all outlying lakes (Deep Lake, Lake Audy, Moon Lake, Whirlpool Lake & Lake Katherine) as well as all streams and rivers. The service is free of charge and watercraft passing inspection will receive a permit from Parks Canada. Inspection schedule

 

Attention Boaters!!

Older, outboard motors, particularly conventional 2-strokes, can release up to 30% of their fuel unburned into the water or air via exhaust.

Marine motors that produce lower emissions contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment.

Parks Canada and its partners are committed to protecting our environment and the ecological integrity of our national parks and national marine conservation areas. As a result of public consultation, a decision was made by Parks Canada in 2001 to move towards protecting park waters by only permitting cleaner marine motors. In order to reduce emissions within Riding Mountain National Park of Canada, all internal combustion marine outboard motors used within the Park must be either 4-stroke or direct injected 2-stroke engines effective January 1, 2007.

Accepted Outboard Motors

  • Four-stroke and direct injected two-stroke. 
  • New low emission technologies will be assessed on a case-by-case basis as they become available.

Compliance and Monitoring

  • Park staff will be conducting inspections at various times and locations throughout the summer. 
  • Boaters will be asked to provide basic data for reference to show that their watercraft has a motor that meets the new emissions standards. 
  • After inspection a compliance sticker can be affixed to the motor. This will help avoid subsequent inspections or delays. 
  • Should any motor be found non-compliant, the operator will be formally advised to take action to comply with the Superintendent's Order and may be required to immediately remove the watercraft from all park waters. Continued non-compliance may result in formal charges. 
  • Park Wardens will be enforcing the Superintendent's Order in Riding Mountain National Park of Canada.

Lasting Benefits

  • Boaters will benefit from less fuel consumption and can take pride in keeping our waters clean for future generations. 
  • Riding Mountain's lakes will be healthier and will continue to support sustainable fish and aquatic populations. 
  • Park visitors and residents will enjoy cleaner water for drinking and recreation.

For more information or questions about watercraft engine requirements or motor inspections, please contact us at 204-848-7275.

 

Whirling Disease

What is Whirling Disease?

Whirling Disease is caused by a parasite that affects salmonids such as whitefish and trout. It has a complex lifecycle that requires an aquatic worm, Tubifex tubifex, as a host. The effects of whirling disease can vary greatly depending on the species and age of the fish; young fish are the most susceptible.

 

Signs of infection include: infected fish swimming in a circular pattern (whirling) and changes in physical appearance including skeletal deformities of the body or head and/or a darkened tail.

Whirling Disease is not harmful to humans.

Where is Whirling Disease Present?

Whirling Disease was first discovered in Canada in Johnson Lake, Banff National Park in 2016. Since then, it has spread to multiple other watersheds within Alberta. Prior to that, it was detected in fish hatcheries in the USA in the 1950s.

Photo: Ben Vasquez
 
What are the chances of Whirling Disease becoming present in RMNP?

The resource conservation team conducted sampling in December 2020 to determine if Clear Lake had Tubifex tubifex worms. The results came back positive. This does not mean that Whirling Disease is currently present, but if a contaminated vessel enters park waters it greatly increases the risk for a widespread infection.

Why can’t my watercraft be decontaminated?

Decontamination methods for whirling disease include using very hot water (90° Celsius) and/or harsh sanitization chemicals. These methods have proven to be damaging to both watercrafts, and the aquatic ecosystems to which they are discharged into.

Because we are seeing an influx of watercrafts that had previously launched in infected areas and decontamination methods are not feasible at this time, we have made the decision to prohibit watercrafts coming from moderate-high risk whirling disease zones from launching in Riding Mountain National Park.

How does it spread?

Whirling Disease spores can remain viable at the bottom of a lake or river for 20-30 years and may become suspended in the water by wind, waves or watercrafts. Once in the water column, the spores can be spread in multiple ways including:

  • Live fish or fish remains that contain the disease;
  • Watercrafts or equipment (i.e. fishing gear, chest waders, etc.) that come into contact with the disease;
  • Bait or bait buckets that have infected fish or contaminated water.

If you have information about unlawful use of live bait including minnows and leeches, please contact the park wardens at 204-848-7109 or ben.cudmore@canada.ca.

How can you prevent the spread?

Ensure that you are following Riding Mountain National Park boating regulations (https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/mb/riding/activ/rec/activ1-fsh).

  • Never move live or dead fish, including remains, from one waterbody to another;
  • Do not transport water or sediment between waterbodies- Remember: CLEAN-DRAIN-DRY;
  • Refrain from launching your watercraft in moderate-high whirling disease risk zones;
  • Consider renting a local watercraft at your desired destination;
  • If you purchase or launch a watercraft in Alberta and intend to launch in RMNP, please be advised that you will have to wait until the next season to launch;
    • Boats will be required to be exposed to seven days of below freezing temperatures or one full year without being in water;
  • Report sick or dead fish to Parks Canada Dispatch at 1-877-852-3100.
 

For more information, please contact Brandice Hollier, Aquatic Invasive Species Project Coordinator at 204-848-7214 (brandice.hollier2@canada.ca).

You can also visit:

Whirling Disease - Fact Sheet from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

 

pdf-icon Safe Boating Guide

pdf-icon Watercraft Engine Requirements (446 KB)