Winchester Lake, Connecticut, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide to Winchester Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!
Topics we cover in this article:
- All About Winchester Lake
- Things to Do
- Fish Species
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Winchester Lake Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Shop Winchester Lake Gifts
Looking for Winchester Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.
All About Winchester Lake
Winchester Lake is nestled in the heart of northwestern Connecticut’s elegant Litchfield County. At 229 acres, the inviting water offers visitors and residents plenty of opportunity for fishing and boating. Some private homes are scattered along the forested shoreline. Visitors can gain access to the lake through a public boat launch on the southern shore adjacent to the Winchester Lake dam.
Winchester Lake was created by a dam on the headwaters of the East Branch Naugatuck River, which was completed in the late 1920s. The lake averages nine feet deep with a maximum depth of 17 feet. Most of the deep water is in the southern end of the lake near the dam. The northern end of the lake is fairly shallow. Rather than cut the trees in the area when the dam was first constructed, engineers allowed the forest to flood and later cut the tree tops during winter ice. Today, submerged trees and stumps abound throughout the lake. Although a bit of an obstacle course for boaters, the lake is known for its largemouth bass and northern pike.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection began stocking northern pike into the lake in 2005. Anglers are now reporting pike exceeding the state’s 26-inch size limit, with many of these fish reaching 36 inches. The dam is a popular spot for fishing, but anglers should use heavy line to deal with the numerous underwater snags. Note: Although most fish taken from Connecticut lakes and streams are safe to eat, refer to the Connecticut Fish Consumption Advisory before eating fish caught from any Connecticut waterway.
Winchester Lake’s beautiful setting, varied shoreline and rocky coves make it a favorite destination for boaters and paddlers. An eight MPH limit on motorboats keeps the water calm and peaceful. Due to the abundance of submerged trees, flat bottom boats, canoes and kayaks will have the easiest passage across the lake. For those who would like to spend some time in the area, vacation rentals and private real estate are abundant as well as additional lodging in the nearby city of Winsted.
Campers will find several private campgrounds near Burr Pond State Park, southeast of Winchester Lake. Camping is also available in the American Legion State Forest located east of Winchester Lake.
For additional outdoor recreation, Dennis Hill State Park is located northwest of Winchester Lake. This 240-acre park offers picnic facilities, hiking, and spectacular panoramic views as far away as New Hampshire. The Mad River Reservoir and Rugg Brook Reservoir are located northeast of Highland Lake and offer wildlife viewing and hiking. Southeast of Winchester Lake is Paugnut State Forest and Sunny Brook State Forest. Paugnut State Forest is part of a 2,410-acre, contiguous park and forest complex that includes Burr Pond State Park and Sunny Brook State Park. Popular activities include hiking, mountain biking, hunting, and cross-country skiing. Burr Pond State Park is a great place to spend a summer afternoon. Burr Pond offers fishing, boating and swimming, and the surrounding area is great for hiking.
East of Winchester Lake is the American Legion and Peoples State Forests. These two forests offer camping, mountain biking, hiking, hunting, picnic facilities, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling trails. The West Branch of the Farmington River, designated as a Wild and Scenic River by the National Park Service, is the focal point of the heavily forested land and offers river-based recreational activities including trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking and tubing. East of Winchester Lake is Crystal Lake, a primary source of drinking water for the town of Winchester. The 145-acre sparking lake is also known for boating and excellent trout fishing. Highland Lake, located just a few miles east of Crystal Lake covers 444 acres and is known for catches of bass, salmon and trout.
The city of Winsted lies east of Winchester Lake. The town is noted for stately Victorian, Greek Revival, Neo-Classical, Ecclesiastical, Queen Anne and Colonial Revival homes. The Main Street area is lined with unique shops and restaurants. Children enjoy a skateboard park, a huge Playscape park, ball fields, and miniature golf with batting cages and go carts. Golfers will find several golf courses in the area. Winsted also provides the area with complete shopping facilities.
Less than a half hour south is the City of Torrington, the largest city in Litchfield County. Visitors to Winchester Lake will find Torrington to be a mix of retail and tourist attractions. The downtown area is a thriving cultural center, boasting the Warner Theatre and the renowned Nutmeg Conservatory. Antique dealers, art galleries, art deco architecture, and small specialty shops make the area appealing for residents and tourists alike. There are also a number of city parks and hiking trails that allow visitors to truly enjoy the beauty of the area.
No matter what your reason for visiting Winchester Lake, you are sure to be treated to scenic views and beautiful inviting water. This paddler’s paradise offers a serene place for fishing, boating, exploring, and so much more.
Things to Do at Winchester Lake
- Vacation Rentals
- Cross-Country Skiing
- Wildlife Viewing
- State Park
- State Forest
- National Park
- City Park
- Miniature Golf
Fish Species Found at Winchester Lake
- Black Bass
- Largemouth Bass
- Northern Pike
Find Places to Stay at Winchester Lake
If you’re considering a Winchester Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
Recommended Sites to Book a Winchester Lake Vacation
If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Winchester Lake lodging partners.
- VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
- Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
- Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
- Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
- TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
- Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
- KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
- RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
- CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Winchester Lake Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed
Water Level Control: Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
Surface Area: 229 acres
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,266 feet
Average Depth: 8 feet
Maximum Depth: 17 feet
Water Volume: 3,120 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1928
Trophic State: Mesotrophic
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