Lake Salem, Vermont, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Vermont - Northeast Kingdom -

Also known as:  Big Salem Lake, Little Salem Lake

Salem Lake is nestled in Vermont’s breathtaking Northeast Kingdom and consists of Big Salem Lake and Little Salem Lake. Hayward Road Bridge spans the channel between the two lakes. Located in the Town of Derby, Salem Lake is a recreational paradise and can be enjoyed any time of year. Autumn brings vibrant colors, while winter provides the perfect climate for snow sports.

The Town of Derby was chartered in 1779 under a grant to 60 grantees. The southern part of Derby was originally chartered as Gatesborough, but when the grantees failed to pay their fees, the town was sold and chartered as Salem. However, the Town of Salem never fully developed; part of Salem was annexed to Newport in 1816, and the remainder became part of Derby in 1880. In addition to Lake Salem, the Town of Derby is also home to Lake Memphremagog, Derby Lake, Derby Pond, Clyde Pond, and Brownington Pond.

The Clyde River enters the southern portion of Little Salem Lake and exits through the northwestern tip of Big Salem Lake on its journey to Derby, Clyde Pond, and Newport. Whitewater enthusiasts may find Class I to Class IIl rapids as the Clyde River enters and exits each lake and pond. Scenic cedar-lined portions of the Clyde River offer a rewarding and breathtaking whitewater experience.

Quaint cottages dot the pristine shoreline of Salem Lake, providing excellent vacation getaways. Visitors can unwind on lake view decks while watching loons and ducks glide gracefully across the water. Real estate can be found around the lake as well as in Derby and other nearby towns including Newport.

Recreational activities at Salem Lake are numerous and include swimming, camping, boating and fishing. Anglers will find an abundance of bass, walleye and landlocked salmon. Additional fishing is made possible with access to the Clyde River where anglers enjoy fly fishing. The Clyde River is also great for canoeing and kayaking. With Salem Lake’s location in the Northeast Kingdom, referred to as the Switzerland of Vermont, many lake visitors have the added benefit of the stunning peaks of Burke, Owls Head and Jay Peak, which are popular locations for skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Vibrant autumns with crimson red, golden yellow, and vivid orange leaves make hiking and mountain biking through the woods of the Northeast Kingdom enjoyable activities. The Northeast Kingdom is also home to several championship level golf courses. Golfers, hikers and other sport enthusiasts can spend the day outdoors, and then unwind while leisurely sipping wine on their lakeside deck and watching a sunset over Salem Lake.

Located near the Canadian border, the Town of Derby is home to CANUSA Avenue, which has a yellow line in the middle of the road dividing Canada and the USA. Other scenic drives and day trips include Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont’s highest point, local museums, and historical sites. Travel back to the 19th century with a trip to Old Stone Museum located in the Brownington Village Historic District. The museum includes six buildings and a cemetery and is surrounding by beautiful Vermont farmland. The main feature of the museum is Athenial Hall which was built in the 1830s by Rev. Alexander Twilight, the first African-American college graduate and state legislator. Visitors can participate in county fairs, watch maple syrup operations, or even witness the sky fill up with colorful balloons during a hot air balloon festival.

Not only is Lake Salem an excellent place to visit, it is also a portal from which visitors can experience the best of New England’s hospitality. Salem Lake visitors can participate in the excitement of lake activities and then unwind in the comforts of their own personal vacation rental, while lake residents can enjoy the dazzling beauty of Salem Lake year round.

Things to do at Lake Salem

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Museum

Fish species found at Lake Salem

  • Bass
  • Perch
  • Salmon
  • Walleye

Lake Salem Photo Gallery

    Lake Salem Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 573 acres

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 961 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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