Boating in the Northwest Territories Check out these top bating destinations in NWT. 

Mackenzie River

If you’re going boating in the Northwest Territories, The Mackenzie River is a must-see.  The longest river system in Canada and flows through a vast, largely unpopulated region of forest and tundra. It is entirely contained with the Northwest Territories although its tributaries reach four other provinces and territories.

In history the river was travelled by First Nations, explorers, fur-traders, missionaries, and adventurers. It is a site for boating adventurers today.

The River passes through the Dehcho Region, by the communities of Fort Providence, Jean Marie River, Fort Simpson and Wrigley. The river continues through the Sahtu region where you can visit the communities of Tulita, Norman Wells, and Fort Good Hope. Also the communities of Tsiigehtchic, and Inuvik in the Gwich’in Region.  From there you can continue through the Inuvialuit Region to the Arctic Ocean and Tuktoyaktuk.

The river is some 1,700 kilometres long and flows north-northwest from Great Slave Lake into the Arctic Ocean.


Great Slave Lake

Great Slave Lake is the second-largest lake in the Northwest Territories after Great Bear Lake. It is the deepest lake in North America at 614 metres deep and it’s the 10th largest lake in the world. It’s 469 kilometres long, 203 kilometres wide and covers and area of 27,200 kilometres squared.

Towns situated on the lake include Yellowknife, Hay River, Behchokǫ̀, Fort Resolution, Łutselk’e, Hay River Reserve, Dettah, and Ndilǫ. The only community in the East Arm is Łutselk’e, a hamlet of about 350 people. They are largely Chipewyan Indigenous peoples of the Dene Nation. As well as the now abandoned winter camp/Hudson’s Bay Company post, Fort Reliance. Along the south shore, east of Hay River is the abandoned Pine Point Mine and the company town of Pine Point.


Prelude Lake

The largest developed park on the Ingraham Trail, it offers a variety of facilities. There is a sandy beach for swimming, a dock and boat launch and boat rentals. There are two trails. One is a short stroll to a panoramic view and one is a longer, interpretive hike. Panoramic Trail offers an easy, well-marked half-kilometre walk, much of it on boardwalks. It leads to two lookout points that provide splendid views of Prelude Lake. You can access the Trail either from the boat launch parking area near the beach; or from the parking lot located between the boat launch and the campsites.

The Nature Trail forms a loop, passing through several natural zones that vary from loose sand to bedrock to muskeg and swamp, with an equally varied array of inhabitants. Follow a series of informative signs along the way, with pictures of some of the creatures that you may see. These include squirrels, ruffed grouse, whiskey jacks, snowshoe hares and crossbills.

This trail is fun for both kids and adults alike. Prelude is a popular vacation area for Yellowknife residents. The lake, about 16 km long stretches east and west and forms part of the Cameron River system. There are several islands, and many pleasant places to fish for trout and pike.


Prosperous Lake

The Prosperous Lake Territorial Day Use Area in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada in the Northern Frontier Region is located east of the community of Yellowknife on the Ingraham Trail. The Ingraham Trail is a popular recreation highway leading to a vast network of lakes, rivers, waterfalls and boat launches popular for adventure and recreation.

The Prosperous Lake Day Use Area on the Ingraham Trail is best known as a boat launch. A paved boat launch in good condition with a very long pier. The boat launch is used to access Prosperous Lake and the connecting chain of lakes. Prosperous Lake is very large, with most of it is out of sight. The lake is one of many of the lakes on the Ingraham Trail popular for boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing.

There are many boat launches with access to different lakes on the Ingraham Trail route. Many come to fish for northern pike, arctic grayling, walleye, whitefish and lake trout – making it a top spot for fishing and boating in the Northwest Territories. Please be reminded to pick up a fishing licence in Yellowknife as a fishing licence is required to fish in the Northwest Territory, Canada.

From the boat launch on Prosperous Lake canoe and kayak paddlers can access the last section of the Powder Point Paddle Route which ends just down stream at the Yellowknife Bridge near Back Bay on Great Slave Lake.


Great Bear Lake

Great Bear Lake is the largest lake entirely within Canadian boundaries (but not larger than Lake Superior and Lake Huron in size). It is the forth-largest lake in North America. It is on the Arctic Circle 512 feet above sea level. The name comes from the Dënesųłiné word satudene which means “grizzly bear water people” named after the Sahtu Dene people.


Best Fishing Spots in Yellowknife

Here are some spots to find arctic grayling, inconnu, lake trout, northern pike, walleye, and lake whitefish.

The Yellowknife River bridge on the Ingraham Trail offers a great opportunity for catching lake trout and pike. The spot features a day use picnic site and a boat launch. You can also use the boat launch and cruise up the river.

Pontoon Lake on the Ingraham Trail is shallow and weedy in certain places. It is home to ducks, loons, terns, beavers, muskrats, and weasels.

Prelude Lake, about 29 km from Yellowknife on the Ingraham Trail. It is the site of a major campground, with picnic sites, scenic trails, and a boat launch. Anglers come to this lake in search of trout and pike due to its deep coldwater.

Walsh Lake is about 10 km from Yellowknife and a half an hour by boat from the Vee Lake boat launch. It is a large, deep, wilderness lake which can turn dangerous with a shift in the wind. Boaters will find pike and trout in these cold waters.