Rainy Lake & Namakan Lake Data and Information
Courtesy of the Lake of the Woods Control Board
 Current Settings         Namakan Lake Past Settings         Rainy Lake Past Settings

Namakan Lake

Since 1914, two small dams on either side of Kettle Island have controlled the flow of water entering Rainy Lake directly from Namakan Lake.

One of the dams is at Squirrel Falls, which is entirely in Canada. The dam is known as the Canadian Dam or the Squirrel Falls dam, accordingly. The other dam, at Kettle Falls, straddles the international border and is therefore known as the International Dam. Both dams have five stop-log controlled sluices.

In addition to the two main channels, there are two natural overflows from Namakan to Rainy Lake. Bear Portage is to the east of Kettle Falls, Gold Portage is to the west. These channels, although relatively small, permit uncontrolled flow from Namakan to Rainy when Namakan is at its higher summer levels.

Kettle Falls Dams

International Dam


Squirrel Falls Dam
Hi-Res (4.7 MB)


Aerial View of Dams


Log Sluice
(from downstream)
Hi-Res (4.2 MB)


Log moving equipment


Rainy Lake

Outflows from Rainy Lake have been controlled since 1909 by a dam that spans the upper Rainy River between Fort Frances, Ontario and International Falls, Minnesota. The dam is U-shaped, with the apex pointing upstream, and there is a hydroelectric powerhouse on each side.

The Canadian powerhouse has eight turbines, the USA powerhouse has seven. On the Canadian side of the dam, between its apex and the powerhouse, there are 10 gate-controlled sluices. Also on the Canadian side are five gate-controlled sluices which discharge into a never-used navigation canal. The apex of the dam and its USA side are designed as a spillway or overflow section to discharge exceptionally high inflows to the lake.

Fort Frances-International Falls Dam

Fort Frances Canal Gates
(View from downstream)
Hi-Res (2.2 MB)


Fort Frances Sluice Gates
(View from downstream)


Aerial View of Dam


Fort Frances Sluice Gates
(View from upstream)


Gates at
Fort Frances Dam