Newnans Lake, Florida, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Florida - North -

Also known as:  Newnan's Lake, Lake Newnan

An alligator slips silently into the water as cormorants look on from their perches in the bald cypress trees that ring Newnans Lake. With the Spanish moss-draped trees, surrounding swamps and otherworldly beauty, Newnans Lake feels like a world removed, but in reality the 7,000-acre lake is only two miles east of Gainesville in Alachua County, Florida. The natural beauty and abundant fish draw both anglers and quiet boaters to the lake.

Newnans Lake is a natural, shallow cypress dome in Florida’s North tourism region. It is a typical shallow basin lake a little over a mile across with an average depth of just five feet. The lake has two main inflows, Little Hatchet Creek and Hatchet Creek, and one outflow on the southern shore. Prairie Creek drains Newnans Lake and used to flow entirely into Paynes Prairie. With the construction of Camps Canal in 1927, a significant portion of the outflow from Newnan’s Lake was diverted through the River Styx and into nearby Orange Lake.

As a result of the canal, water levels dropped so low in Paynes Prairie that it was drained and ranched extensively. In the 1970’s it became a State Preserve, and today the 21,000-acre Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park is a National Natural Landmark and a fantastic place to see wildlife. There are over 270 different species of bird along with wild horses, bison and of course alligators. The Preserve has 20 distinct biological communities all with different habitats. A visitor center and trails for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding makes the Preserve accessible to everyone to explore. They are also sites for camping and picnicking. Paynes Prairie and the River Styx are designated Outstanding Florida Waters as are Newnans Lake and Orange Lake.

Along with diverting water through Camps Canal, Newnans Lake was dammed. The artificially stabilized water, however, caused a decrease in fish habitats, so normal water levels were restored. The lake has a reputation as a largemouth bass and sunshine bass fishery, and it was stocked with over 120,000 largemouth bass fingerlings. There is also year-round fishing for bream and catfish. The bream prefer the area around the shore, but Newnans Lake’s mucky bottom is ideal for catfish. Anglers can expect to catch white catfish and yellow and brown bullhead catfish at a perfect size for eating.

There are public boat ramps and picnic facilities at the Owens-Illinois Park on the southeast shore of Newnans Lake and also at the Earl P. Powers Park on the southwest shore. Old-fashioned fish camps nearby have boat rentals for motorboats, kayaks and canoes. Most of the shore of Newnans Lake is undeveloped, but there is some scattered real estate and residential development. There are various accomodations and vacation rentals available at nearby Gainesville and real estate for sale within a few miles of Newnan’s Lake.

The Newnans Lake Conservation Area is on the northeast side on Lake Newnan. The 5704-acre area includes three miles of shoreline, depression and dome swamps. There is also a large basin swamp known as Gum Root Swamp. The bird watching is exceptional with great blue herons, osprey, sandhill cranes and even nesting bald eagles. The Conservation Area is home to turkeys, foxes, and white tailed deer and there are trails for hiking and biking to explore.

The Seminole name for Newnans Lake was Pithlachocco which means “long boat” or “lake where boats were made.” In the spring of 2000, an extended drought lowered the lake’s water level and exposed the remains of 120 canoes giving the Seminole name new significance. The canoes, which range in length from 15 to 31 feet, were estimated to be from between 2300 to 5000 BC. It is the largest collection of prehistoric canoes found in North America, and the site is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

With its rich history, abundant wildlife and plentiful fish, Newnans Lake is the perfect outdoor getaway. Add the shopping, restaurants, and amenities of nearby Gainesville and a trip to Newnans Lake is sure to please anyone.

Things to do at Newnans Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Newnans Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Bullhead Catfish
  • Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Sunshine Bass
  • White Catfish

Newnans Lake Photo Gallery

  • Alternate view of Newnan's Lake

Newnans Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: St. Johns River Water Management District

Surface Area: 7,517 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 66 feet

Average Depth: 5 feet

Maximum Depth: 12 feet

Water Volume: 47,021 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: .6 years

Drainage Area: 119 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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