Lake Nipissing is located between the Ottawa River and Georgian Bay (part of Lake Huron). It is possible to travel by canoe to the Great Lakes from Lake Nipissing via the French River into Georgian Bay, then Lake Huron. Three main rivers flow into the lake: the Sturgeon River, the South River, and the Veuve River. One main river, the French River, flows out of Lake Nipissing (into Georgian Bay).

Lake Nipissing Fishing Lake Nipissing is about 25 km northwest of Algonquin Park, about 320 km north of Toronto and is about 700 km south of James Bay. The city of North Bay (population 52,000) is found along the northeastern shore of the lake. Sturgeon Falls, (part of West Nipissing, population 13,000) is found on the northwestern side of the lake along with the small towns of Cache Bay and Lavigne. On the eastern shore is the town of Callander.

Along the shore between North Bay and Sturgeon Falls, are many small communities that are part of Nipissing First Nation notably Jocko Point and Garden Village. Closer to the southwestern part of the lake, Dokis First Nation has a thriving community centred around Dokis Bay. The French River area has many seasonal and permanent residents and is a hub of tourist-related activity all year round.