Amston Lake, Connecticut, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Connecticut - Mystic Country -

Amston Lake is between the towns of Hebron and Lebanon, near the border of Connecticut’s Mystic Country and River Valley tourism regions. Jurisdiction of this 186-acre lake was divided between the two towns, leading to confusion over services and maintenance. Wanting their own identity, Amston Lake property owners formed their own tax district and bought their lake outright. Although properties along the lake were privately-owned, the lake itself had been in the hands of an estate, the last of a long chain of private owners. The new tax district started life with the unusual situation of holding a lake mortgage, since paid off.

Amston Lake is entirely private. There is no public access to the lake. All tax-paying property owners are allowed use of the lake, even those who don’t have lake frontage: The Amston Lake District holds a number of properties in common for the use of all, including two lovely sand beaches, a duck pond, and seven other lake access points for boat launching. The shallow lake is noted for excellent fishing, leaving outside anglers hoping to gain access through a property owner. As 70% of the properties on the Lebanon (east) side of the lake are seasonal, many rent a cottage for a week or two in summer to try their luck with the largemouth bass, calico bass, rock bass, pickerel, eels, bullheads, pumpkinseeds, yellow perch, bluegills, green sunfish and white perch. A few trout remaining from a 2005 stocking are sometimes caught but are not common. Since 70% of the properties on the Hebron side are year-round residents, the fishing action never stops completely.

No gasoline motors are allowed on the lake, assuring peaceful fishing, canoeing, sailing and kayaking. Although about 700 property owners are listed on the tax rolls, several parts of the shoreline are undeveloped, leaving plenty of space and habitat for the abundant wildlife native to the area. Muskrats, possum, red-tailed hawks, turtles and harmless snakes are all seen regularly, and wayward beaver sometimes invade the duck pond. Migratory birds, ducks and geese show up seasonally, and residents have reported seeing wild turkey, osprey, blue herons, swans, cormorants and even a golden eagle.

Local residents take their job of caring for their beloved lake seriously. Both the Amston Lake District organization – the regulatory group – and the Amston Lake Association – the social and cultural group – work to assure water quality surveys are completed regularly and work to improve lake living for all residents. The lake association sponsors a number of activities such as boat parades and children’s activities throughout the year.

Because of its central location, Amston Lake visitors and residents can find many off-lake activities to enjoy. Nearby the Air-Line Trail extends a side spur down to the lake area. The Air-Line Trail State Park is a 50-mile hiking path that follows the old railway founded by a previous owner of the lake, Phineas Turner. The popular trail skirts such natural areas as Raymond Brook Marsh, Salmon River State Forest, Greyville Falls Park and, of course, the Amston Lake Dam. The trail is suitable for walking, cycling and, in some areas, horseback riding. In winter, it is used for cross-country skiing and, in the State Forest portion, snowmobiling.

Those yearning for a night on the town can easily head for Hartford, only about 30 miles away. Hartford has every possible entertainment and activity visitors can desire. Some popular spots are the Mark Twain House and Museum, Connecticut Science Center, The Children’s Museum and the famed Hartford Stage Theater. About 30 miles to the south, Groton welcomes with its sea breezes and several accessible beaches. The Submarine Force Museum, home of the USS Nautilus, will delight submarine buffs. Nearby Mystic holds both famed Mystic Seaport and Mystic Aquarium. In between Hartford and Groton/Mystic are a wealth of state parks and forests, fabulous fall foliage, local craft and antique shops and farm stands offering the freshest in local produce.

Amston Lake has a long history of settlement. Chief Uncas, made famous by James Fenimore Cooper in his tale “Last of the Mohicans”, and his tribes used the area as hunting lands. The first dam was built in 1735 across the unnamed tributary outflow of what was then known as North Pond to power a grist mill. A hundred years later an ironworks furnace occupied the site. By 1850, Phineas Turner had established three large and successful silk mills along the tributary to Raymond Brook. He rebuilt the dam, raising the lake seven-and-a-half feet, and doubled it in size to power the huge 44-foot waterwheel that ran his three factories. Turnerville, as Turner called the settlement that grew up around his factories, at one time held more than 30 homes, boarding houses, a store, and landed its own post office – of which he was the Postmaster. By the time of his death in 1903, the market for silk ribbons had passed its heyday and the business closed in 1897.

The next owner was Charles Ams, who promptly renamed the settlement and the lake after himself: Amston. Charles Ams was a successful industrialist until he attempted to produce the Ams-Stirling automobile at Amston. The automobile was plagued with design flaws and was unsuccessful. After two years and a grand total of 24 vehicles, all of which were returned for repairs, the business quietly folded for lack of investment capital. One thing that Ams did do was begin raising ducks on the three small mill ponds left from the Turner mills. Ams was far more successful in this hobby than he had been in the automobile business, likely because ducks come programmed to reproduce. One of these duck ponds still exists at Amston Lake.

Although Amston Lake is totally private, vacationers can still come here to enjoy the clear waters and the excellent swimming and fishing. A number of private lodgings are available for rent at the lake, both by the week and for longer lease. Some real estate is usually for sale, but little new development is being approved at present to protect water quality. Amston Lake is an ideal getaway for vacationers who need to be close to the metropolitan area but wish to fish or swim after a hard day at work. Come sample all the Amston Lake area has to offer. You’ll quickly decide that perhaps owning a piece of the lake is in your future.

Things to do at Amston Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • Museum
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Amston Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Eel
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Salmon
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • White Perch
  • Yellow Perch

Amston Lake Photo Gallery

    Amston Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Amston Lake District

    Surface Area: 186 acres

    Shoreline Length: 3 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 535 feet

    Average Depth: 6 feet

    Maximum Depth: 25 feet

    Drainage Area: 1 sq. miles

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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