Merrymeeting Lake, New Hampshire, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - New Hampshire - Lakes Region -

Beautiful Merrymeeting Lake in the town of New Durham, New Hampshire was formed by an impoundment on the Merrymeeting River in 1923. At normal water level, the lake covers 1,233 acres and has a maximum depth of 120 feet. Although most of the land around the lake has been developed, a town beach and boat launch area grant visitors access to the crystal clear water. The lake is well stocked with fish and is known as one of the best lakes in New Hampshire for salmon, trout and bass fishing.

Merrymeeting Lake’s main purpose is recreation for residents and visitors. Swimming, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, motor boating, snowmobiling, ice skating, fishing, and ice fishing are popular pastimes on the water. Waterskiing is prohibited in the Elly Cove area and in designated salmon and lake trout stocking areas. A beautiful dam on the western end of the lake is used to regulate the lake’s water level. In the fall, the water level is lowered via the dam. In the spring, snow melt and rainfall quickly restore the lake to its normal level.

In the 1980s, most structures along the shoreline of Merrymeeting Lake were modest summer homes on large wooded lots. As land in the area became desirable, the small summer homes were replaced by sprawling, higher-end residences. Today, only a few sections of the nearly 11 miles of shoreline remain undeveloped.

Merrymeeting Lake’s irregular hourglass shape makes it easy to navigate. North Shore Road and South Shore Road begin at the dam and follow the shoreline for nearly three miles. Street numbers visible from the water indicate how many miles you are from the dam. North Shore Road and South Shore Road, which almost encircle the lake, are maintained year-round for the few permanent residents of the lake. Most properties on the lake are second homes, and in the winter, the lake population decreases dramatically. A small marina, cottage rental community, and seasonal country store are the only commercial developments on the lake. The western side of Sawtooth Cove, where the land is extremely steep, and the far eastern shore of the lake, which is not easily accessible by road, are the only untouched sections of the lake.

Boating and fishing are the main activities on Merrymeeting Lake. The deep, cold water allows for a variety of game species to thrive. Brook trout, brown trout, lake trout, rainbow trout, whitefish and landlocked salmon are the more popular fish in the lake with anglers. Warm water fish include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, pickerel, horned pout, white perch, yellow perch, crappie and bluegill. The Powder Mill Fish Hatchery, located just below the lake’s outlet, helps maintain the quality and quantity of fish in Merrymeeting Lake and other bodies of water throughout New Hampshire. The outlet of the lake is also a popular spot for fly fishing.

Year-round real estate and summer vacation rentals are numerous around Merrymeeting Lake and in the town of New Durham. The natural splendor of the mountains and lakes attracts many visitors and seasonal residents. Although mostly a summer retreat, winters draw tourists looking for a quiet location to enjoy winter sports. Unlike the shoreline of Merrymeeting Lake, most of New Durham and Strafford County is rather rural and perfect for snowmobiling, skiing, hiking, golfing, mountain biking and a full host of outdoor activities. Biking, hiking, and snowmobiling trails crisscross the area, making New Durham a prime spot for nature enthusiasts.

Those looking for a larger body of water with less development will find Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire, just northwest of Merrymeeting Lake. The spectacular lake contains 253 islands, large sandy swimming beaches, and unlimited water-related and outdoor activities. Along with the rest of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, which also encompasses Lake Winnisquam, Squam Lake and Newfound Lake, Lake Winnipesaukee has been a vacation destination for over a century, drawing people from the Boston and New York City region. Numerous hiking trails can be found in and around the surrounding mountains.

No matter what time of year you visit, you are sure to discover the sights, sounds and fragrances which make Merrymeeting Lake and the surrounding Lakes Region unique. The countryside offers spectacular vistas, but foliage colors make for especially gorgeous drives in the fall. New England is well known for its covered bridges, and more than 50 covered bridges can be found in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Whether you’re on vacation or searching for the perfect summer home, a trip to Merrymeeting Lake is a great way to discover the region’s spectacular scenery.

Things to do at Merrymeeting Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling

Fish species found at Merrymeeting Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Crappie
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Perch
  • Whitefish
  • Yellow Perch

Merrymeeting Lake Photo Gallery

    Merrymeeting Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

    Surface Area: 1,233 acres

    Shoreline Length: 11 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 639 feet

    Average Depth: 50 feet

    Maximum Depth: 135 feet

    Water Volume: 55,208 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1923

    Water Residence Time: 2.4 months

    Drainage Area: 11 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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