Ossipee Lake, New Hampshire, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - New Hampshire - Lakes Region -

Ossipee Lake covers an impressive 3,245 acres in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, making it the sixth-largest lake contained entirely within the state. Ossipee Lake is located in Carroll County, bordered by the towns of Ossipee, Freedom and Effingham. Known as a true four-season natural playground, the lake attracts visitors from miles around during every month of the year.

The Ossipee Valley boasts villages that look the same as they did 100 years ago, residents whose hospitality equals that of the South’s, and scenery that stays spectacular year-round. Beautiful pines and other trees sprinkle the countryside, decorating with their spectacular fall colors. The Ossipee Mountain range looms in the distance, it waters tumbling down slopes to empty into Ossipee Lake. The West Branch River flows into the lake from the north, Bearcamp River and Lovell River from the west, and Pine River from the south. Water flows from Ossipee Lake at the east end into the Ossipee River on its way to the Saco River in Maine and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean.

Outdoor activities abound in summer and winter at Ossipee Lake. During warmer months, fishing, power boating, jet skiing, waterskiing, canoeing, and swimming rule at the lake. Public access is provided at the Pine River boat ramp off of Route 25E, and several marinas offer boat gas and boat dock rentals. Fish species found in this warm and cold water fishery include rainbow trout, lake trout, brown trout, salmon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, pickerel, and horned pout. Off-water daytime activities include horseback riding, berry picking, and attending craft fairs typical to the area. Evenings are spent dining at the area’s restaurants, taking in a sunset, and enjoying the simple beauty of the nature that surrounds you.

Fall days are spent apple picking and sightseeing, as cooler temperatures tempt you into the warmth of your car to take one of greater Lake Ossipee area’s scenic driving tours. Spectacular reds, yellows, and oranges dominate the landscape, slowly giving way to winter’s grasp. The falling white snow creates a winter wonderland for the entire family.

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing please the more adventurous types, while others love snowball fights and snowman competitions. White Mountain ski area is a short drive away and provides true adrenaline junkies with downhill skiing and snowboarding runs. Other favorite winter pastimes must be indulged as well, and ice skating, sledding, and dog races will paint a smile on everyone’s face. Anglers head to Ossipee Lake for some prime ice fishing when the ice reaches recommended safety depths. Of course, in true winter tradition, all activities must be followed by a mug of hot cocoa and a seat in front of a roaring fire.

Make sure to spend some time exploring the four undeveloped areas around Ossipee Lake that are dedicated to preserving the area’s natural resources. The state-owned Ossipee Lake Natural Area encompasses 400 acres of undeveloped shoreline on the southern end of the lake. Also known as Long Sands, this sand plain pond shore system contains rare and threatened plant species and the remains of some of the area’s oldest settlements. The state-owned Heath Pond Bog Natural Area, located off Route 25 near Pine River, provides 100 acres for nature lovers and bird watchers. The Bog is colorful during three seasons of the year with rare orchids, carnivorous plants, and cranberry moss. The banks of the pond grow over the water, creating a “quaking bog” that undulates up and down when stepped on. The Nature Conservancy of New Hampshire manages the Ossipee Pine Barrens, covering about 2,000 acres of sand deposits left by melting glaciers 15,000 years ago. Although the land is not conducive to farming (thus deemed barren by the early settlers), the pitch pine scrub oaks comprise a rare forest ecosystem that is home to rare butterflies and moths and declining numbers of shrubland birds. The New England Forestry Foundation manages the 244-acre Bearcamp Woodlands on the northwest portion of Ossipee Lake. The combination of wetlands and forest terrain is prime territory for hiking, canoeing, and kayaking. Wildlife species include black bears, moose, beavers, otters, muskrats, and deer.

Ossipee Lake campgrounds offer water, sewer, and electric hookups. Vacation rental homes are also available on Ossipee Lake, so book your romantic weekend or family vacation for your preferred season of the year.

Things to do at Ossipee Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Playground

Fish species found at Ossipee Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout

Ossipee Lake Photo Gallery

Ossipee Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Dam Bureau of the N.H. Department of Environmental Services

Surface Area: 3,245 acres

Shoreline Length: 10 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 407 feet

Average Depth: 28 feet

Maximum Depth: 61 feet

Trophic State: Oligo-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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