Orange Lake, Maine, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Maine - Down East & Acadia -

For a truly unusual Maine vacation, give Orange Lake a try. Located in Maine’s Down East and Acadia Region, Orange Lake is near US Route 1 and only ten miles from the Atlantic coast. A week at Orange Lake will keep you close to historic coastal attractions, yet serenely isolated when you want to be. Here you don’t have to choose one or the other – you can have both.

Northern Maine has an abundance of freshwater inland lakes along the rivers that drain the inland heights. Most have been settled for centuries, but sparsely. Other than the heyday of lumbering, Maine’s fortunes have been made on the bays and harbors of the Atlantic. The rocky soil makes farming a difficult and risky task, so lake living was inconvenient for most local residents. In recent years, summer homes have sprung up on lakes near the bigger commercial harbors and cities, yet Orange Lake has escaped the building boom that occurred farther south. Orange Lake is only 15 miles from Lubec – the northeastern-most town in the United States. The location guarantees warm summers and plenty of snow in winter, and uncrowded beaches, great fishing and plentiful wildlife.

Orange Lake is located along the Orange River. Just upstream, larger Rocky Lake once supported mills at the two dams across the outlet streams. One dam is breached – has been for many years. The other is tumbling down and the State of Maine feels it is not worth the cost of repair. All that remains of the former Halls Mills is a house or two and the Orange River gushing freely downstream into Orange Lake. Orange Lake itself has only a few houses and seasonal cottages, primarily along its southern shore. The lucky residents at Orange Lake have 235 acres of water in which to fish, swim and boat. The wooded shoreline assures lots of wildlife and pleasant paddle sports. There is no public boat launch so residents and vacation renters can pursue the brown, brook and rainbow trout, yellow perch, chain pickerel and pumpkinseed sunfish at their leisure. In winter, ice fishing becomes the main attraction. The scenic lake is a perfect spot to relax away from traffic and city lights and is a favorite of photographers and artists. Autumn foliage explodes in a riot of color, doubly reflected on the lake’s surface. Seemingly, everyone here has a canoe or kayak and possibly a pontoon boat from which to enjoy the water. At the southeast end of the lake, the Orange River travels on in it’s trek to Whiting Bay. Visitors enjoy paddling downstream at least as far as the Orange River Reservoir – water supply for the town of Whiting. Surrounding the reservoir, the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Dept of the State of Maine maintains the Orange River Wildlife Management Area.

Wildlife around Orange Lake and along the Orange River includes deer, beaver, eagles, osprey, geese, many kinds of songbirds, ducks, water birds and blue heron. Some areas of the Wildlife Management Area are open for hunting in season and ice fishing in winter. Trails in the area are available for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

The wise vacationer uses Orange Lake as a base from which to explore Maine’s downeast coastal areas. Fifteen miles from Machias and 35 miles from Eastport, coastal Maine is available in all of its rocky splendor just a few minutes from Orange Lake. From Machias, the visitor can explore Machias Bay and take a guided tour of the ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks at several sites. A must-see side trip is Jasper Beach, one of the few jasper beaches in the world. Here, glaciers and water have polished and smoothed multicolored stone into a beach of jewels glistening in the sun. Another stop must be historic Burnam Tavern, site of the first Naval battle fought in the Revolutionary War. Also near Machias, the Fort O’Brien State Historic Site tells the story of the fort that was rebuilt and utilized during three separate wars. The Machias area is resplendent with festivals to delight the visitor: the Blueberry Festival celebrates the harvest of the local blueberry fields that produce 90% of the nation’s blueberry crop is not to be missed. And of course, fishing charters and the opportunity to dine on abundant Maine lobster provide even more reason to visit Machias.

Going east from Orange Lake, one can visit Eastport, the easternmost city in the continental United States – although nearby Lubec is the easternmost municipality. Built entirely on islands, the city can be reached by causeway. A border Port of Entry, Eastport was once the sardine capitol of the United States. Now, tourists come to fish, sail and play at such events as the Maine Salmon Festival and the light-hearted Pirate Festival. The tongue-in-cheek Pirate Festival features elaborately-costumed ‘pirates’ sailing to ‘invade’ neighboring Lubec, accompanied by a flotilla of pleasure boats and escorted by ‘pirates’ on Harleys along the shore. One of the highlights of the Pirate Festival is the deadly-serious Bed Races where contestants compete for prizes. The Salmon Festival celebrates the salmon farming industry locally where salmon are pen-raised in the cold waters of the bay.

No visit to downeast Maine would be complete without a visit to Quoddy Head, the most eastern point in the United States. And an enjoyable day can be spent taking the International ferry to Deer Island, skirting the second-largest whirlpool in the world. Called ‘the Old Sow,’ the whirlpool often spawns ‘piglets’ and is sometimes as much as six feet below the level of the surrounding water. A second ferry trip will take the visitor to Campobello Island, President Roosevelt’s summer escape and an international park featuring his 34-room cottage. And make sure to plan a stop at Lubec with its views of four lighthouses and numerous small islands off-shore. Stay late and enjoy wandering through this authentic fishing village learning its history – it’s less than 20 miles back to Orange Lake.

If the visitor intends to view the many wildlife preserves and explore the many back country roads, lakes and ponds near Orange Lake, it will probably take at least a week. Luckily there are vacation rentals available from private owners along the lakefront. Get your reservations in early as vacation lodgings on the lake are limited. The area is well-supplied with bed-and-breakfast facilities, cozy inns and hotels near the coast. Real estate may be available but is usually limited along the lakefront. So, come ‘downeast’ and start looking now. You’ll fall in love with Orange Lake, the rocky Maine coast and its amazing history.

Things to do at Orange Lake ME

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding

Fish species found at Orange Lake ME

  • Chain Pickerel
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

Orange Lake ME Photo Gallery

    Orange Lake ME Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 235 acres

    Shoreline Length: 4 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 79 feet

    Average Depth: 12 feet

    Maximum Depth: 24 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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