Lake Wentworth, New Hampshire, USA

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USA - New England - New Hampshire - Lakes Region -

One of the prettiest lakes in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is Lake Wentworth. All too often overlooked as tourists flock to nearby Lake Winnipesaukee, 3100-acre Lake Wentworth is no minor pond; it is one of the reasons the Town of Wolfeboro has long held the title, “The Oldest Summer Resort in America.” Named for the second (and last) Royal Governor of New Hampshire John Wentworth, the governor had a summer mansion and plantation here just before the Revolutionary War. The shoreline is primarily privately owned now, as are most of the 18 islands gracing the lake. Governor Wentworth’s’ mansion burned down in 1820, and the site is now a part of the Governor Wentworth Historic Site and the location of a major archeological dig. Summer resorts and ‘camps’ were being built along the shoreline by 1884, and Lake Wentworth saw its share of famous and historical figures spend summers here. Famous people still come to the Town of Wolfeboro to enjoy typical small-town lake resort living.

Swimming is a major activity at Lake Wentworth. Two public beaches assure access to the water: Albee Beach in the Town of Wolfeboro and the Wentworth State Park along the north shoreline. Albee Beach has a small picnic area and is the site of the community sailing project the town sponsors in conjunction with the New Hampshire Boat Museum. Wentworth State Park is a bit larger at 50 acres and offers a swim beach, picnic tables and grills, a boat launch, restrooms, hiking trails and fishing. The big lake is popular with boating enthusiasts, and nearly every type of craft is allowed on Lake Wentworth except for personal watercraft. The Smith River outlet stream connects Lake Wentworth to smaller Crescent Lake, where a dam controls water levels on both lakes. Although smaller boats can be launched either from the boat ramp at the state park or private properties, larger, trailered boats are usually launched at Mast Landing public dock and boat launch on Crescent Lake in the Town of Wolfeboro. These larger boats can then navigate the short Smith River up to Lake Wentworth. Sailing is one of the most popular boating activities, but many enjoy water skiing, tubing, pontooning, canoeing and kayaking.

As always, fishing is a major draw to Lake Wentworth. Anglers here catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, sunfish, white perch, pickerel, rainbow trout, whitefish and even burbot. Fishing around the islands is usually some of the most productive. In winter, the ice fishermen take command, with competition for the best spots to bore a hole to catch perch and pickerel. The large expanse of ice is also used for ice racing tournaments, with competitions centered around snowmobiles, ATVs and even trucks. Although the shoreline is populated with a large number of summer and year-round residences, Stamp Act Island is a nature preserve. The public can access the 100-acre preserve from a beach on the northeast side of the island for day use only. Public access is closed between May 15 and July 15 to allow for undisturbed bird nesting. The island contains a great blue heron rookery and is the site of scientific research and monitoring by advance arrangement with The Nature Conservancy and the Lake Wentworth Association.

A second area of natural delight is located near the north shore. Ryefield Marsh is a wetland that feeds into the north end of Lake Wentworth and is excellent for viewing deer, beavers, herons, moose and other species. A self-guided nature trail aids nature lovers in accessing the area. Another excellent way to view the natural ecology of the region is on the six-mile Cotton Valley Rail-Trail. The multi-use trail travels the same route that first brought summer resort visitors to Wolfeboro when the railroad arrived in 1872 and, crossing culverts and between lakes, includes Albee Beach. The trail begins in downtown Wolfeboro at the restored train depot on Railroad Street. A number of other small town woods parks and preserves are located in the area.

The Town of Wolfeboro has been polishing their tourism hosting skills for over 150 years and are well-prepared to offer services to visitors. Besides the usual restaurants and shops, Wolfeboro holds the Pop Whalen Ice Arena, host to most local hockey leagues and open for public skating. The town is also the location of the community-owned Abenaki Ski Area, one of the oldest and most affordable ski areas in the country. The Libby Museum holds natural history-themed exhibits and hosts children’s programs. The Wright Museum of World War II is ‘dedicated to celebrating Americans’ sacrifices and achievements during WW II’. Supported entirely by private donations, this one is a favorite among the older visitors and those wishing to learn more about the war years in America.

A museum dear to the hearts of Lake Wentworth residents is the New Hampshire Boat Museum, featuring vintage mahogany and antique boats, including runabouts, race-boats, sailboats, guide-boats and canoes. You can even take an antique boat cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee. The Clark House Museum Complex is a project of the Wolfeboro Historical Society. Located in Clark Park on South Main Street, the complex features a 1778 farmhouse-turned tavern, firehouse, barn, and one-room schoolhouse. Summer programs and special events are offered. Wolfeboro also produces several annual festivals each year, including a winter carnival.

A few housekeeping cottages are available on Lake Wentworth, and an RV campground provides a landing space for those with a home-on-wheels. Wolfeboro is filled with quaint bed & breakfasts, inns and small motels. Several major hotel chains also are located in the immediate area. Lakeshore property owners often rent their private cottages to weekly or monthly visitors. And, there is usually real estate available, often with lake frontage. Wolfeboro and the surrounding area can provide for nearly any boating or fishing need a visitor might have. It’s the perfect vacation spot and well appointed to claim the title, “Oldest Summer Resort in America”.

Things to do at Lake Wentworth

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Lake Wentworth

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Burbot
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • White Perch
  • Whitefish
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Wentworth Photo Gallery

Lake Wentworth Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 3,116 acres

Shoreline Length: 20 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 534 feet

Average Depth: 32 feet

Maximum Depth: 89 feet

Water Volume: 62,928 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 6 months

Drainage Area: 22,583 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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