A lake is a large area of water surrounded by land. Some lakes are formed when low spots fill up with water from melting ice and snow. Some lakes lie over natural springs where water bubbles up from deep underground. Lakes can also form along rivers, when the river encounters a low spot and spreads out to fill it up, or when a river is dammed by rocks or sediment or by man or animals such as the beaver. Lakes are usually fresh water but sometimes can be salty. Lakes that have water flowing into them and then out again, are not salty.

Did you know that half the lakes in the world are in Canada? Most were created when moving glaciers scraped away the topsoil leaving rocky basins which then filled up with water. The lakes in the north have very few plants growing in them because of their rocky bottoms. A few kinds of fish live in them and are fed by the tiny free floating plankton (tiny plants and animals).

A few summers ago, my little boy went fishing for his first time in a lake in Ontario. He was fishing from a little pier that jutted out into the water. He labouriously put the worm on the hook and then with a little help cast it out into the water and began to slowly reel it in. He was very surprised to feel a jerk on his rod, and he had to get some help to reel it in. He had a big fish on the end of it. It was a pike! Pike are funny looking fish with lots of sharp teeth. This makes it hard to get them off the hook!

Most of the lakes and ponds in Canada freeze over during the winter. This makes lots of outdoor skating rinks!! But you must be careful – the ice must be at least four inches thick before you can safely go out on it.

PROJECT: Do you have a pond or lake near you? If you do, see if you can find out where the water comes from. What grows around it? What grows in it? Are there any fish? frogs? ducks? insects? Draw a picture of a lake. Draw the stream that feeds it coming down from the hills, and the outlet flowing to the ocean. Draw what you might find in and around a lake.

BOOKS: The Biggest Fish in the Lake by Margaret Carney, Kids Can Press, 2001; Morning on the Lake by Jan Bourdeau Waboose, Kids Can Press, 1997.


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