Island Pond, Vermont, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Vermont - Northeast Kingdom -

One of Vermont’s northernmost lakes is Island Pond. Tucked in the Northeast Kingdom Region, Island Pond is only 15 miles south of the Canadian border. Because of the distances to major cities, the area is sparsely populated. This wasn’t always so: in an earlier, more agrarian culture, Essex County supported a number of small towns engaged in farming and lumbering. In the 1850s Island Pond was the nations’ first International Railroad junction, with 13 sets of railroad tracks running through the town. The natural lake was first called Knowles Pond or Knowlton Pond after the original surveyor. The Abenaki called it Menanbawk (meaning “island pond” after the 20-acre island on the lake), and it was not long before the townsfolk adopted the English version of the name.

Island Pond’s five-mile shoreline is well-populated with seasonal cottages and year-round homes. The village of Island Pond occupies the northwest shore. At the south end of the lake, Brighton State Park offers a day use beach and bath house on Island Pond, although the majority of the park is centered around adjacent Spectacle Pond. The large lake carries few of the restrictions of many Vermont lakes; boat motors are allowed on the lake, making water skiing and personal watercraft permissible. Residents and lake visitors enjoy sailing, pontooning, tubing, wind surfing, canoeing and kayaking on the more-than-600-acre lake. Although much populated, the shoreline is still heavily wooded, keeping the ‘northwoods’ feel to boating on the lake.

Island Pond is an excellent fishing lake. The water holds brown trout (15-pounders have been recorded here), walleye, rainbow trout, perch, chain pickerel, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and burbot. Vermont Dept of Fish and Wildlife maintains a public boat launch for small and medium-size boats on the lake. The lake freezes early, creating opportunities for ice fishing, so fishermen utilize the lake nearly year round.

With the decline of lumbering in the area, vast stands of timber have come available for sale or lease, primarily as conservation areas. In the immediate area around Island Pond, Brighton Municipal forest and The Kingdom State Forest add hundreds of acres of trails and paths for hiking and cycling. The area holds a wealth of wildlife, making bird watching and nature observation highly interesting activities for nature lovers. The Kingdom Nature Trail at Brighton State Park produces a down-loadable self-guiding trail booklet that is invaluable in helping to identify many of the plants and natural phenomena, not just within the park but everywhere in the Northeast Kingdom. Moose, deer, bear and other wildlife are prevalent in the area and hikers should be watchful at all times.

Not far east of Island Pond, in the northeast corner of the state, the Nulhegan Basin Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge protects over 130,000 acres of wildlife habitat. This refuge is part of a vast corridor of protected land that straddles the New Hampshire border for many miles. The Refuge consists of a combination of ownerships and easements guaranteeing protected acres for American woodcock, ruffed grouse, waterfowl, various birds of prey, moose, black bear, white-tailed deer, snowshoe hare, red squirrel, beaver, fisher, and coyote. A visitor contact center is located 10 miles east of Island Pond.

All of these protected areas are well-supplied with trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and, in some areas snowmobiling. Island Pond considers itself the snowmobile capitol of Vermont, with thousands of snowmobilers arriving as soon as the snow falls and the lakes have frozen sufficiently to bear the weigh of the snow machines. The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers maintains hundreds of miles of groomed trails, with a very active chapter located in Island Pond. The local snowmobile club can help the out-of-state visitor legalize their sled for use on the trail system.

Island Pond is unusual in that the lake has never been dammed. The Clyde River, a tributary to Lake Memphremagog originates in Spectacle Pond. It flows from there to Island Pond and out the northwest side of the lake where it is joined by Pherrin’s River. An interesting phenomenon occurs quite frequently when Pherrin’s River rises rapidly, causing the Clyde to reverse it’s flow back into Island Pond for several hours before it resumes its flow outward, taking the extra water with it.

At least one resort and a campground occupy a part of Island Pond’s lakefront. Motels, guest cottages and small inns provide lodging for the week-end snowmobiler or those looking for summer vacation rentals on the water. The village of Island Pond provides all the necessities for a self-catering vacation, along with several restaurants, pubs and services. The area holds many quaint shops, farmer’s markets and antique shops. The villages around Island Pond usually offer an annual festival of some type so the visitor can be assured of interesting local entertainment nearly every week-end in summer, with the inevitable winter carnivals popping up during the coldest months. Boredom is never a problem at Island Pond; there wont be enough hours in the day. There is currently real estate available on the lakefront itself for those wishing to make Island Pond a permanent part of their life.

A memorable vacation at Island Pond is only half an hour’s drive from St Johnsbury and two-and-a-half hours from Montreal, QC. It’s not hard to get to, but it will be hard to leave once you see Island Pond!

Things to do at Island Pond

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Wind Surfing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Island Pond

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Burbot
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Island Pond Photo Gallery

    Island Pond Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 626 acres

    Shoreline Length: 5 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,172 feet

    Maximum Depth: 63 feet

    Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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