Crystal Lake, Connecticut, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Connecticut - River Valley -

Crystal Lake lies in Connecticut’s River Valley. A dynamic region of cities and countryside, visitors may experience a fusion of entertainment, culture, history, and the breathtaking beauty of New England geography. Crystal Lake lies between the semi-rural towns of Ellington and Stafford, close to the dynamic Shenipsit State Forest.

The first white settlers in the region called the lake Square Pond, because of its square shape, or Ruby Lake, for the many garnets that were found in the surrounding land. Before that, the Nipmuc people, who had an ancient village on the northern shore of the lake, called the lake Wabbaquasset which was a reference to the grass-like cattails that grew all over the lake. The name of the lake was changed in 1889 to Crystal Lake.

Surrounded by forests of oak, maple, pine, chestnut and hickory and a sandy beach, Crystal Lake became a popular resort area in the 1890s, attracting throngs of fun-lovers. Hotels, tourist cabins, and cottages were built to accommodate a growing patronage. The Sandy Beach Ballroom which saw its heyday in the 1930s, hosted big bands to the likes of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway. The ballroom also doubled as a roller-skating rink where youngsters from nearby towns came to socialize and have a good time. Another ballroom, the Crystal Ballroom also enjoyed a large patronage that sought out its polka orchestras. The passing summers saw canoe carnivals, sailboat races, and plenty of fishing and swimming. And the winters brought out their own share of fans as ice skating and icefishing attracted still more crowds of people. In the 1930s, with its dances, beach fun and novelties (like the beach hot dog stand that served hungry customers from 1929 to 2004) Crystal Lake had the thrill of an amusement park.

Today, the entire shoreline is dominated with homes. As real estate began to develop from the small cottages that nearby town residents built at the lake, the once summertime resort slowly transformed into a year-round home for many, while vacation rentals continued to offer options to seasonal visitors. One thing definitely remained unchanged. Crystal Lake is still a hubbub of recreational delight.

Sandy Beach, operated by the Town of Ellington, offers a host of summertime activities. Fishing, boating, and swimming are still popular at the lake. Swimming lessons are offered in sessions through the summer. A state boat launch on the western shore of the lake gives boaters easy access. Crystal Lake offers a prime fishery. Designated a trophy trout lake in 1993, the lake is now a trout management lake and attracts anglers from everywhere. Atlantic salmon was stocked in 2007 by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, and an annual bass tournament has wide appeal and attracts a loyal gathering.
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The Ellington and Stafford areas offer much to do. The Ellington Annual Winterfest and Tree Lighting Ceremony feature choirs, a Christmas play, baking contest, parade and more. Summer concerts offer a delectable mixture of musical performances from country to jazz and will be a treat to music lovers. The stunning New England foliage during autumn is worth some sight-seeing adventures. And apple picking on apple farms and farmers markets are a fun way to appreciate the richness of these agricultural communities. There is so much more with Hartford only 15 minutes away from Crystal Lake.

At Crystal Lake you will contribute to the lake’s traditions of good old-fashioned fun. Aside from the endless amusements at your fingertips, you will create lifetime memories of refreshing boat trips on the calm water, the chatter of the lakeside birds and the luminosity of the setting sun casting its glow.

Things to do at Crystal Lake CT

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Ice Skating
  • Birding
  • State Forest
  • Amusement Park

Fish species found at Crystal Lake CT

  • Bass
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Crystal Lake CT Photo Gallery

Crystal Lake CT Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Crystal Lake Association

Surface Area: 200 acres

Average Depth: 20 feet

Maximum Depth: 50 feet

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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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