Great East Lake, Maine & New Hampshire, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Maine - Southern Coast - New Hampshire - Lakes Region -

Great East Lake is a paradise for anyone who enjoys a relaxing time. With over 1700 acres of water and 12 miles of shoreline, Great East Lake is known for its natural beauty and abundance of wildlife. Regarded for its cleanliness, Great East Lake supports a large ecosystem of waterfowl, otters, turtles, deer, fish, and moose – to name just a few! It is the largest body of water in its vicinity and is itself surrounded by nine bodies of water. With Pine River Pond, Lovell Lake, Lake Ivanhoe, Province Lake, Stump Pond, Union Meadows, Sandy Pond, Horn Pond, and Belleau Lake nestled nearby, Great East Lake is an area of quiet beauty and rich experience.

Straddling the border between Maine and New Hampshire, Great East Lake forms the headwaters of the Salmon Falls River, the natural borderline between the two states which graces several towns before emptying into the tidal waters of the Piscataqua River and historic Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Copp Brook and Scribner Brook feed into Great East Lake.

Spanning the towns of Acton, Maine and Wakefield, New Hampshire, and located in the oldest historical region of America, Great East Lake offers a look into the past. The Salmon Falls River was one of the first rivers to be settled by Europeans, beginning in the early 1600s. Indeed, this river saw two historic firsts: the first cow and the first sawmill in the land. By the 1700s, at least 100 sawmills lined the shores of the river, including the northernmost one in Wakefield, New Hampshire. The dam on Great East Lake was completed in 1825 and used to control the flow of the Salmon Falls River as well as supply water power to the area. The towns surrounding Great East Lake continue to boast hundreds of 200-year-old homes and barns, many of which simply line the streets to catch your eye.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services operates the Great East Lake dam. Water levels are maintained at full pond during the summer, with the seasonal fall drawdown beginning in October. The level is gradually lowered to three feet below full pond level, refilling again with spring runoff after the ice melts.

Great East Lake is surrounded by residences, many of which can be rented. Seasonal visitors flock to the lakes of Maine and New Hampshire, and visitors to Great East Lake are certainly not an exception. An RV Resort located on the shores of the lake offers seasonal and year-round living to adults over 50, as well as a golf course open to the public.

The four seasons are filled with activity. Anglers might look no farther than Great East Lake. The rocky shores and deep cold waters hold 21 species of fish, including land-locked salmon, pickerel, perch, bass, and varieties of large trout, for which the lake is best-known. Catches are often at least two feet long.

In the summer, swimmers can enjoy a public sandy beach on the northern side of the lake. A boat launch near the lake’s outlet provides access for kayakers and other boating enthusiasts. From sailing to skiing; from the picturesque autumn foliage to the deep winter snows; from tens of country fairs to colonial covered bridges; from shopping to hiking; from snowmobiling to historic sightseeing, enthusiasts of all kinds will be satisfied.

Local food is abundant. In the warmer months, it will take very little effort to find the numerous farmers’ stands heaped with local produce, the berry fields and apple orchards, the maple syrup shacks. Seafood-enthusiasts will find themselves in heaven on Maine’s celebrated coast. Though there are many delicious inland seafood restaurants, it’s often preferable to drive a bit to reach the seaside and the freshest catch. Buy from a market to prepare your own food, or enjoy the scenery and eat at one of the hundreds of restaurants dotting the Maine coast. Even individuals who enjoy wild foods will find them in abundance, from berries to pickerelweed.

Visitors will be delighted by the rich experiences offered in the area. Located quite centrally between the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Maine coast, and Lake Winnipesauke, Great East Lake is a perfect setting for visitors who want to explore the best of Maine and New Hampshire.

Things to do at Great East Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Great East Lake

  • Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Great East Lake Photo Gallery

Great East Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

divider

Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Surface Area: 1,768 acres

Shoreline Length: 12 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 571 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 574 feet

Average Depth: 35 feet

Maximum Depth: 102 feet

Water Volume: 59,993 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 3.3 years

Drainage Area: 16 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

Spread the word! Share our Great East Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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."


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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.


Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.