Lake Williams, Connecticut, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Connecticut - Mystic Country -

Also known as:  Williams Pond

One of the lesser known water destinations in Connecticut’s Mystic Country is beautiful Lake Williams. Although the lake is mostly private, a hand-carry boat launch near the dam provides public access. The launch is owned by the Town of Lebanon, and visitors can fish along the shore. Residents and their guests have plenty of water access for swimming, fishing, boating, sailing and wildlife watching,

Lake Williams is not a natural lake. It first became a temporary pond about 1816, when a succession of settlers built temporary dams across Bartlett Brook to provide water power for mills. Water was usually held only during the fall and winter months, while the adjoining fields were dried out and used to plant hay in spring and summer. It wasn’t a full-time lake until 1865 when a permanent dam created the year-round pond. Officially called Williams Pond, the lake was named after local settler Elias Williams who operated a sawmill at the dam. Although the sawmill is long gone and the water power no longer as vital to downstream business, Lake Williams has become a tightly-knit community of seasonal and year-round residents who thoroughly enjoy waterfront living. Swimming, water skiing, tubing, jet-skiing, sailing, paddling and fishing are some of their favorite summer activities.

The homes are clustered on a small portion of the Lake Williams shoreline, primarily on the east side. Much of the western bank is semi-marshland and undeveloped. A few of the older lots were grandfathered into the zoning plan as year-round residential, while the rest are zoned as seasonal. Seven islands dot the lake’s surface, with cottages on several of them. The Lake Williams Beach Association has existed as a property owners association for many years. The group works to engender community spirit and provide community access to the water with three separate beach sites and a large pavilion which can be reserved by members for large gatherings. The beaches, all located toward the northeastern end of the lake, are available to cottage owners and their guests. One of these holds the only actual boat ramp on Lake Williams. A second group, named Friends of Lake Williams, was formed in the late 1990s in response to the threat of invasive plant species found in the lake. This group worked to eradicate the imminent threat and continues to warn against invasive species, monitor water quality, arrange for local lake clean-up events, and produce a well-attended boat parade.

Because the lake is uncrowded and has much undeveloped shoreline, the area is a haven for wildlife. Beaver, otter, heron and cormorants join the more common ducks, geese, and other pond familiars such as turtles, frogs, salamanders and the like along the shoreline. The quiet backwaters are particularly attractive to such wildlife, and canoeing or kayaking these bays is a popular activity. Fishing is always a favorite way to enjoy the lake. Lake Williams holds largemouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, bluegill, sunfish and bullheads. The bass grow to good size and are one of the main fishing draws. The perch are especially favored as a target of ice anglers. All fishermen must hold the appropriate fishing license and adhere to state fishing regulations.

A commercial campground occupies a portion of the southwest shore. This popular business has spaces for tents and RVs and even advertises a ‘doggy beach’ for campers’ four-footed family members. The campground rents canoes, kayaks and rowboats and allows private boat launching from their boat ramp during regular business hours. Boats over 20 feet, jet skis and wave runners are not permitted to launch here. A few property owners rent their cottages or homes on a short-term basis. Real estate for sale becomes available occasionally. Since Lake Williams is only about 20 miles from the City of Hartford, such properties tend to sell quickly.

Most of Lake Williams is located in either the Town of Lebanon or the Town of Hebron. Both are old, historic towns, with Lebanon recognized as one of the oldest in the former colony of Connecticut. Chartered in 1700, Lebanon was always a patriotic stronghold, with a full 50% of its adult male residents participating in the Revolutionary War. The home of colonial Governor Trumbull is open for regular tours, and opportunities for a history lesson avail visitors in several locations. Lebanon is also a great place for outdoor activities such as bike riding and walking; many dirt roads wind through farmlands and forest plots. Well-attended attractions include the Farmers Market, Memorial Day Parade, Summer Dancefest, Lebanon Country Fair, and Antique Show on The Green. Air Line State Park Trail passes just north of Lake Williams. This 22-mile long trail is based on the famed Air Line Railroad route that once provided fast service between cities along the east coast. The trail is free to walk and is open to non-motorized traffic, including biking and horseback riding. Some portions are wheelchair accessible.

Located only a few miles from the Rhode Island state line, Lake Williams is within a few miles of Mystic Seaport and Waterford Speedway. The entire area is filled with historic markers and the locations of famous battles and events of the Revolution. Lake Williams offers the perfect home base for visiting the countryside and exploring this part of New England. Activities are not limited to the summer months; downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are favored pastimes in winter. Autumn is particularly beautiful, as the glorious golds, reds and yellows of the forested hills rise majestically between giant granite boulders and rock outcroppings. Here and there, an ancient stone wall snakes mysteriously through the forest, leading one to wonder at the long-gone settler who built it. Small inns and quaint cafes join artisan shops on country crossroads, and the rural atmosphere allows one to forget that busy 21st century life exists just over the next hill.

A visit to Lake Williams is great any time of year. Come join the locals in enjoying this hidden piece of paradise for an afternoon or a weekend. You’ll be surprised you’ve never heard of Williams Pond before.

Things to do at Lake Williams

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Lake Williams

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Williams Photo Gallery

Lake Williams Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Gilman Brothers Company

Surface Area: 272 acres

Shoreline Length: 6 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 443 feet

Average Depth: 5 feet

Maximum Depth: 12 feet

Completion Year: 1865

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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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