Sebago Lake, Maine, USA

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USA - New England - Maine - Lakes & Mountains -

Sebago Lake is the deepest and second largest lake in Maine. It stretches 12 miles long, boasts a 98 mile shoreline, covers 45 square miles, reaches an impressive 316 feet at its deepest, and has an average depth of 107 feet. In fact, since its surface is only 270 above sea level, its deepest point is about 46 feet below sea level! Some sources describe the lake as covering 29,992 acres and others as 30,513 acres. Topographical variations over time and the improved accuracy of satellite mapping may account for these differences.

Sebago Lake is located in Cumberland County and is bordered by the Maine towns of Casco, Naples, Raymond, Sebago, Standish and Windham. The lake is the primary water supply for the Portland Water District, home to Greater Portland (Maine) and about 15% of the state’s population. Although Sebago Lake is a natural lake formed more than 14,000 years ago from melting glaciers, construction of the Eel Weir Dam in 1830 raised the lake’s water level about 12 feet to its present full pond level of 266 feet. The Cumberland and Oxford Canal Company constructed the dam at Wescott’s Falls, Sebago Lake’s natural outlet, to divert water to a newly constructed navigational canal. SAPPI is the current owner of the dam and manages the lake’s water levels in compliance with various regulatory agencies.

However, Sebago Lake is much more than a water supply; it is well-known and loved for its recreational activities. Sebago Lake State Park is one of Maine’s five original state parks and covers 1,400 acres. It is open year-round with sandy beaches, a boat ramp, a camping area, and day use facilities. The park provides visitors many opportunities to enjoy nature: swimming, boating, sport fishing, hiking woodland trails, and biking on park roads.

Sebago Lake is connected to Long Lake and Brandy Pond through the surviving locks from the old canal that was constructed between Portland and Naples in 1830. While in Naples, visitors can board the 90-foot paddle boat, the Songo River Queen, for a scenic tour on Long Lake, across Brandy Pond, and through the Songo River lock to Sebago Lake. Visitors can rent pontoon boats, ski boats, and jet skis from Sebago Lake marinas. Sailboat rentals and sailing lessons are also available on the lake.

Frye Island is a green jewel in the center of Sebago Lake. It lies about 1/4 mile off Raymond Cape, and is accessible by two car ferries named the Leisure Lady and the Ellie Corliss. The Frye Island community of approximately 450 homes is open May through October. Swimming and water skiing are popular activities from the island’s many sandy beaches.

Known as the “home of the land-locked salmon”, Sebago is an excellent fishing lake. When the glaciers retreated at the end of the Ice Age, the watershed was under sea water. Salmon populations were established as the sea water eventually retreated. Other popular fish are lake trout, brook trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and northern pike. Of note: northern pike were introduced to the lake illegally, so anglers are encouraged to keep (not release) and notify the state of all northern pike that they catch.

Sebago Lake is an exciting winter destination, too, with snowmobiling, alpine and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, ice fishing, and snow tubing. The Winterfest and Derby in February features an ice fishing tournament, the Sebago Lake Snowmobile Speedrun, the Sebago Lake Cross Country Ski Race, and the Polar Ice Dip!

Things to do at Sebago Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Ice Skating
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Snowshoeing
  • State Park

Fish species found at Sebago Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Eel
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Pike
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout

Sebago Lake Photo Gallery

Sebago Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: SAPPI

Surface Area: 29,992 acres

Shoreline Length: 98 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 266 feet

Average Depth: 107 feet

Maximum Depth: 316 feet

Water Residence Time: 5.4years

Drainage Area: 440 sq. miles

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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