Johnson’s Pond, Rhode Island, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Rhode Island - Kent County -

Also known as:  Flat River Reservoir, Johnson Pond, Johnsons Pond

Johnson’s Pond, also known as Flat River Reservoir, is a recreational gem located in Kent County. Damming the south branch of the Pawtuxet River near where it is joined by the Flat River created the 659-acre lake. Exactly when it was first dammed and by whom is lost in early American history.

The Warwick, Rhode Island area gave birth to the Industrial Era, ushered in with textile mills along the rivers leading to the coast. Many, many dams have been built along the Pawtuxet since the 1700s. Most have disappeared; all have been rebuilt. Many were moved. These dams all were built for hydro power in the form of water power and, later, steam. Most logically, someone named Johnson built one of the more recent dams in the area and the pond was named after him.

Something that is not generally known about the settlement of the eastern woods is that the first settlers invariably built dams and mills on local streams to provide power to grind grain, mill lumber or perform small work with crude machinery. Both the Pawtuxet and Flat Rivers have seen this kind of early development. Located less than 13 miles upstream from the modern City of Warwick, it is known that the Flat River hosted at least two small dams for textile looming purposes, although both are long disappeared.

The Pawtuxet contains a number of dams currently, creating ponds for municipal water, recreation and in some cases, electricity. No electricity is generated at the Flat River Reservoir but municipal water and recreation are the two main uses of the current lake. In fact, Johnson’s Pond, as it is known locally, is a favored upscale residential area — a community focused on the joys of lake living. Real estate opportunities in the area are numerous for both existing and developing properties.

All types of water sports are enjoyed at Flat River Reservoir. Wakeboarding Magazine once named Johnsons Pond as the best spot in Rhode island for wakeboarding. Personal watercraft are allowed at Flat River Reservoir even though they are banned at some other local water bodies. Water skiing is popular here due to the elongated shape of the reservoir, with tubing, power boating and sailing engaged in as long as the weather is warm. As soon as the ice is safe, ice skating and ice boating season begins. Large watercraft can be launched at the local marina for a nominal fee. The marina also rents water craft.

Flat River Reservoir is a favorite among fishermen; tournaments are held here regularly and the public access boat launch at Zeke’s Bridge provides a convenient spot to launch. The launch isn’t suitable for large watercraft, however, as there are low bridges between the launch site and the main reservoir. Fishermen thoroughly enjoy fishing for spotted sea trout, steelhead trout, smelt, whitefish, yellow bass, pickerel and pan fish. The average depth of 18 feet and the generous bottom cover provide fine fish habitat. Efforts are underway by the State of Rhode Island to begin a stocking program to further improve recreational fishing. Ice fishing is equally popular; cold, sunny days find the ice filled with bundled sportsmen jigging a line into the dark water.

Planning a vacation on Flat River Reservoir can make the entire family happy. Vacation rentals are available in the area that can provide both for water time and for more urban entertainments. With Warwick to the east and Coventry immediately to the west, there’s never a shortage of things to do. Trails in the area are popular for ATV riding, mountain biking, hiking and wildlife watching. Along the northwest shore of Johnson’s Pond, the Coventry Greenway is a bike and hiking path that uses the old New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad right of way and is part of the East Coast Greenway.

Near the western shore, the George B. Parker Woodland Wildlife Preserve protects over 800 acres for the enjoyment of New England wildlife and birds. Within the preserve, many mysterious stone cairns are found, built in the wooded area by unknown prehistoric peoples.The structures are apparently related to other stone structures in New England built by an unknown extinct tribe. The City of Coventry has several preserved historic structures, including Spell Hall, the General Nathanael Greene Homestead Museum. The General was second in command under George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

The history lesson continues with a trip to Warwick. Thirteen miles east of Flat River Reservoir, this thoroughly modern city has managed to hold onto its colonial roots. Several small crossroad towns from the 1700s are incorporated into shopping districts, with museums and historic points of interest clearly marked. Those with an interest in Victorian architecture and lifestyles will thoroughly enjoy the Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum. The Warwick Museum of Art is a great place to spend a rainy afternoon and nd a visit to Goddard Memorial State Park on Narragansett Bay is a must for seaside sand and salt water swimming. The park is supplied with miles of hiking and bridal paths, picnic areas, game fields and a nine-hole golf course.

Vacation rentals can be found in Coventry, Warwick the small villages of Hope, Crompton, West Warwick and Cranston. Often, sublets are available on the shores of Johnsons Pond. New condo developments are currently under construction, often with water views. Bring the kids and the water toys. Fun waits for everyone at Flat River Reservoir.

Things to do at Johnson’s Pond

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Johnson’s Pond

  • Bass
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Smelt
  • Steelhead Trout
  • Trout
  • Whitefish
  • Yellow Bass

Johnson’s Pond Photo Gallery

    Johnson’s Pond Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Quidnick Reservoir Association

    Surface Area: 659 acres

    Shoreline Length: 17 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 240 feet

    Average Depth: 19 feet

    Maximum Depth: 36 feet

    Trophic State: Eutropic

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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

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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

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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.

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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.

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    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.

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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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    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.

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    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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    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.

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    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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    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.

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    - 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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