Mascoma Lake, New Hampshire, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - New Hampshire - Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee -

In 1793 a group of Shakers arrived at the valley between Mount Assurance and Mascoma Lake and declared it the “Chosen Vale.” They settled on the shores of the lake and built the ninth of the original Shaker communities. Today, the Shakers have gone, but the beautiful valley with its clean, clear water remains, drawing visitors to enjoy the western New Hampshire lake. Mascoma Lake, located in the Dartmouth – Lake Sunapee region, is a fantastic place to boat, sail, fish, and enjoy the natural beauty of the “Chosen Vale.”

Extending four and a quarter miles long and slightly over half a mile wide, Mascoma Lake covers 1,114 acres in Grafton County. It has a maximum depth of 68 feet and an average depth of 30 feet. The Knox and Mascoma Rivers make up the lake’s primary inflow. The Mascoma River is Mascoma Lake’s primary outflow, and a dam on the north end of the lake controls water levels. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services regulates the water levels on the lake. Water levels are drawn down three feet after Columbus Day each year, refilling to full pool level by June first.

The New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game stocks Mascoma Lake with trout. The lake contains healthy populations of rainbow trout, carp, yellow perch, white perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and black crappie. In the winter, the lake freezes and anglers can ice fish. Access to the lake is from a boat ramp at the north end of the lake. Mascoma Lake is a popular recreation lake with room for boating, sailing and water skiing, and there are three small islands in the lake to explore by canoe or kayak. The Dartmouth College sailing club and canoe club uses Mascoma Lake and the Mascoma River to practice for events. The town of Enfield maintains a public beach on the lake for swimming.

Mascoma Lake touches the city of Lebanon and is in the town of Enfield. The town was chartered by Benning Wentworth, the Royal Governor of the Province of New Hampshire in 1761. The Shakers arrived three decades later and built a village on the western shore of Mascoma Lake. At its peak the Shaker community had approximately 300 members practicing celibacy, equality of the sexes, and pacifism. By 1850, they were farming about 3,000 acres around the lake. They stayed in the village until 1923 when they sold it to the LaSalettes, an order of Catholic priests who occupied the community until 1985. Today, the Great Stone Dwelling, the largest Shaker dwelling house ever built, is the home of the Enfield Shaker Museum. Visitors can spend the day exploring the Shaker’s way of life through their furniture, tools and clothing or wander through the herb and flower gardens. Hiking to the top of Shaker Feast Ground offers visitors spectacular views of Mascoma Lake and the village on its shore.

To the south of Mascoma Lake, the Enfield Wildlife Management Area (WMA) covers 3,062 acres in Grafton and Sullivan Counties. The WMA is made up of forests scattered with ponds and is home to moose, white-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, black bear and wild turkey. Both the wildlife area and Mascoma Lake are home to a variety of waterfowl.

Vacation rentals and cottages dot the shores of Mascoma Lake, and there is real estate available for sale. Whether it is for a weekend or for a more permanent stay, Mascoma Lake is a fantastic destination in the Dartmouth – Lake Sunapee region. It still has the natural beauty and clean clear fish-filled water that made it the Shaker’s “Chosen Vale” and is sure to charm visitors for years to come.

Things to do at Mascoma Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum

Fish species found at Mascoma Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Carp
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout
  • White Perch
  • Yellow Perch

Mascoma Lake Photo Gallery

Mascoma Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: New Hampshire Dept. of Environmental Services

Surface Area: 1,114 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 750 feet

Average Depth: 30 feet

Maximum Depth: 68 feet

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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