Maranacook Lake, Maine, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Maine - Kennebec & Moose River Valleys -

Maranacook Lake, a 1,673-acre freshwater body of very irregular shape, is located in Kennebec County, Maine. The lake borders the town of Readfield on its northern end and Winthrop on its southern tip. Maranacook Lake is in the central southern area of Maine, about 10 miles west of the capital city of Augusta. Maranacook Lake is situated in the Kennebec and Moose River Valleys Region, specifically the Winthrop Lakes Region, which is known for its excellent fishing.

Androscoggin Lake is situated to the west of Maranacook Lake, while Annabessacook Lake is to its south. Maranacook is at the hub of several bodies of water, with Carlton Pond to its east, Upper Narrows Pond and Lower Narrows Pond to its southeast, Wilson Pond to its southwest, and Pocasset Lake, Torsey Lake, Lovejoy Pond, and Echo Lake to its northwest.

Maranacook Lake contains two distinct basins, the North Basin and the South Basin. The North Basin is located in the town of Readfield, and the South Basin is found in Winthrop. The full lake has an average depth of 30 feet, but its northern basin is much more shallow than the southern basin. In fact, the 1,000-acre surface area South Basin has a maximum depth of 118 feet and better water quality than the North Basin. The North Basin’s 700-acre surface area and shallow waters help it to maintain a homothermous quality, meaning that the water temperature at the surface of the lake is nearly the same as it is at the deepest points in the lake. The North Basin’s maximum depth is 39 feet. The basins are both developed around the perimeter, with homes, businesses, and vacation rentals being the main components of development. Public boat launch landings are available for vacationers and other local boaters. The North Basin is host to warm water fish, including bass, pickerel, and perch. The South Basin is known for its coldwater catches, including brown trout. Along with these species, lake trout, bullhead, rainbow smelt, and eel are also frequently on the hook for anglers in this area.

This mesotrophic lake (moderately fertile) belongs to the Cobbossee Watershed, and is monitored by the Maranacook Lake Association whose goal is to survey, protect, and improve the Cobbossee Watershed District (CWD). The group formed in 1973 and is very active today in its attempts to keep invasive species from changing the constitution of the lake, as well as to prevent pollution and phosphorus from entering the lake system. Maranacook Lake serves as the secondary drinking water supply for Winthrop, Maine. The area around Maranacook Lake that is not developed for businesses and residences and other human activity is mainly forest and fairly level ground used for agriculture.

Winthrop, with a population of roughly 6,300, and Readfield, at population 2,400, are both known for their small-town vibes while serving as tourist locations for Maranacook Lake. These small resort areas are popular for their many events and annual fairs and festivals, as well as the charm of experiencing New England’s finest lakes with the bonus of being able to relax in a rustic rural backdrop. Winthrop boasts a farmers’ market, tennis facilities, bird watching, walking and biking trails, and a history and art walking tour of the town; indeed, the motto of Winthrop is “the small town with big character.” Readfield has a popular fairground that is used for different events, and is also home to Readfield Beach on the North Basin. As could be expected on an accessible and beautiful lake such as this, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating, and other water-based activities are popular, and the many choices for winter recreation–from skiing to skating to snowshoeing–keep residents and visitors active all year round.

Maranacook Lake Upper Dam is a recent addition to the area. Constructed in 1995, the concrete dam is found at the southeastern tail of the lake in Winthrop. This dam was owned by Carleton Woolen Mills, Incorporated until its closure in 2000, when ownership was transferred to the Winthrop Commerce Center, which now maintains and oversees the dam. The dam’s creation has helped regulate water levels in Maranacook Lake as well as in associated local bodies of water, and it has slowed erosion on the shores of the lake.

Maranacook Lake is fed primarily by four perennial streams: Tingley Brook from the northeast, Beaver Brook from the east, Roseanne Brook from the west, and Dead Stream from the northwest. Dead Stream is the main outlet from Torsey Pond to Maranacook Lake’s west. Lake Annabessacook is the main outlet for Maranacook Lake, but the lake also feeds Cobbosseecontee Pond and Cobbosseecontee Stream, as well as the Kennebec River.

Maranacook Lake visitors will find vacation rentals ranging from modest lakeside cottages to large luxury homes nestled in the woods. Choices abound for those looking for a lovely area near a scenic lake to spend some time–from a week in the summer to a whole season, from a winter-long escape to a retirement cottage. Lakefront properties are available for various rental periods, and real estate is filled with variety. Some properties boast cultivated gardens and detailed landscaping, while others grow wildflowers and untamed but gorgeous and lush greenery. Some larger lakeside rentals can accommodate everyone in a family reunion, and others are picture-perfect cozy cabins for one person or two–all of these options can be found in the area around Maranacook Lake. It’s a spectacular region of Maine just waiting to be explored.

Things to do at Maranacook Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Tennis
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Birding

Fish species found at Maranacook Lake

  • Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Eel
  • Lake Trout
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Smelt
  • Trout

Maranacook Lake Photo Gallery

    Maranacook Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Winthrop Commerce Center

    Surface Area: 1,673 acres

    Shoreline Length: 22 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 212 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 218 feet

    Average Depth: 30 feet

    Maximum Depth: 118 feet

    Water Volume: 48,020 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1995

    Water Residence Time: 174 days, 2-basin average

    Lake Area-Population: 8,700

    Drainage Area: 33 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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