Lake Fairlee, Vermont, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Fairlee — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Lake Fairlee

Lake Fairlee is a lake where memories are made. The 450-acre lake in the Eastern Vermont Gateways region is a natural lake, enlarged by damming a tributary of Ompompanoosuc River in 1939. Actually, Lake Fairlee is the second water body to hold the Fairlee name; nearby Lake Morey was originally called Fairlee Pond. This tends to confuse those not familiar with the region. Both lakes were once part of the town of Fairlee – a typical New England town that included a large amount of acreage. Lake Morey was near the business district of Fairlee and Lake Fairlee about five miles to the southwest of town. A ridge of hills separated the two locations and the town split in two, with West Fairlee, Post Mills and Thetford a separate entity altogether. They inherited Lake Fairlee.

All types of water sports are enjoyed at Lake Fairlee except personal watercraft – banned by the Sate of Vermont. Residents and visitors alike enjoy sailing, wakeboarding, water skiing, tubing, pontooning, canoeing and kayaking. Although there are a number of summer cottages and year-round residences along the lake, much of the shoreline is still wooded as large areas of the lake are owned by summer camps. Since 1906, at least nine children’s camps have held sessions on Lake Fairlee; four are still in operation.

Lake Fairlee is an excellent fishery: rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and perch from the lake have all been represented on the state size records. The town of Thetford along the southeast shore provides a boat launch for local residents, and the state Fish and Game Department owns a public boat launch on the northeast shore along the highway. Huge trout are caught in Lake Fairlee, with the inlets of Middle Brook and Blood Brook most attractive to fly fishermen. In winter, ice fishing and ice skating are favorite activities on the lake if the ice is thick enough.

The Lake Fairlee Association works to assure good water quality and keeps a close eye for invasive species. The very active organization works with the towns to provide annual events, organize clean-up days and keep cottage owners up-to-date on current issues, new regulations and expectations. The town of Thetford maintains a recreational facility with swimming, tennis, picnic grounds and child’s play area that is open to residents of West Fairlee and Post Mills for a nominal fee. Canoeing is very popular, as is kayaking in the hopes of spotting bald eagles, herons and raptors hunting their dinner near the shore.

Around Lake Fairlee, there is much public land available for hiking and cycling. The West Fairlee Wildlife Management Area, Fairlee Town Forest and Thetford Town Forest all offer limited opportunities for mountain biking and nature observation. The Podunk Wildlife Management Area is only six miles west of Lake Fairlee and offers both hiking and ponds for fishing. The Wildlife Management area is an excellent spot for bird watching, and autumn colors here are absolutely spectacular! Groomed snowmobile trails, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails are all plentiful in the area near Lake Fairlee. There’s even an old-fashioned drive-in theater near Fairlee for summer evening entertainment.

Lake Fairlee was likely better known a hundred years ago than now. In 1869, Thomas Henry Chubb began to manufacture fine fishing rods and sell all sorts of fishing gear from a factory in Post Mills. Chubb’s father, a former commodore in the Confederate Navy, built the town’s first summer hotel, the Commodore House, and helped promote the idea of marketing Thetford’s scenery and climate to summer visitors. Other summer hotels were built, cottages began to dot the lake shores, and there was a boat livery – and a steamboat – at Post Mills.

A succession of summer camps for children offered healthy outdoor activities to city children, resulting in the three camps now operated by the Aloha Foundation and the YMCA Camp still in existence. One of the camps is a family multi-generational camp, where adults can relive their childhood fun and introduce the summer camp experience to their children and grandchildren. West Fairlee was once an important copper mining area. The dam is owned by the owner of the former mill site in Post Falls. An amusing tale in the area relates that, when the mill changed hands, the new owner declared he owned the water and opened the dam to let the water out. This promptly lowered the water level by seven or eight feet, leaving the camps’ swim docks in shallow water. The state of Vermont had to step in and declare ownership of the water.

Vacation rentals are usually available on Lake Fairlee if reserved early in the spring. Most are private self-catering cottages rented by the week or month. Several bed-and-breakfasts are located in the area, although not directly on the lake. The area to the east near the Connecticut River is well-supplied with country inns, often with specialty dining. Real estate in the area around Lake Fairlee is occasionally available, sometimes on the lakefront itself. Only 65 miles to Rutland and 40 to Montpelier, Lake Fairlee is close enough to draw you for a weekend or a lifetime. Come experience the traditional Vermont lake vacation. Lake Fairlee’s waiting for you.

Things to Do at Lake Fairlee

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Drive-in Theater

Fish Species Found at Lake Fairlee

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout

Find Places to Stay at Lake Fairlee

If you’re considering a Lake Fairlee lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Fairlee Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Fairlee lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Fairlee Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Pr

Surface Area: 457 acres

Shoreline Length: 6 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 679 feet

Average Depth: 23 feet

Maximum Depth: 50 feet

Water Volume: 10,511 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1939

Drainage Area: 20 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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