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The wind fills the sails, pushing the sailboats across Lake Monomonac. A bewitching combination of pristine white sail cloth and billowing bright colors glide like flocks of birds over the 711-acre lake. Lake Monomonac covers part of the Monadnok region in New Hampshire and the Central region of Massachusetts, straddling the border between the states. It is a beautiful blending of countryside, small towns and forests with enough water for serious recreation.
The Millers River makes up both the inflow and outflow of Lake Monomonac. The lake is a collection of small ponds and wetlands connected by the construction of several dams on the North Branch of the Millers River, the first of which were built in the 18th century. Water rights have changed hands several times over the years, starting with the family of Deacon Joseph White who bought the rights to impound the water for his mill; he built the dams that created the lake as it exists today. The dams raised water levels approximately 10 to 12 feet.
After a century of ownership the White family sold the water rights to Monomonac Lake Shores, an area developer. There was some conflict between the developer and property owners, culminating with the collapse of the main dam in 1976. The Town of Winchendon took control of the dam, and with the help of the US Army Corps of Engineers, the town rebuilt the dam.
Today, there are two dams on the south end of Lake Monomonac that control water levels. The Town of Winchendon owns both the dams and spillway and draws down the water six to eight feet every fall. Several property owners associations around the lake work to protect the lake's water quality. Together the Winchendon Springs Lake Association, Rindge Lake Association and the Monomonac Lake Property Owners Association perform water testing and monitor the lake's water.
Classified as oligo-mesotrophic (clean and moderately fertile), Lake Monomonac supports healthy populations of fish. With 425 acres in New Hampshire and 286 acres in Massachusetts, the lake is managed under New Hampshire fishing laws. However, anglers can fish with a valid Massachusetts fishing license. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, bluegill and pumpkinseed can all be found in the lake. Yellow perch and white perch are also present. There isn't a lot of natural cover in Lake Monomonac, so anglers may have better luck fishing near the manmade structures.
Public access to the lake is from a boat ramp near the dam, and there are marinas available. Stretching over two and a half miles long and just under a mile wide, Lake Monomonac is a favorite with boaters, sailors and water-skiers. Two islands, Blueberry Island on the Massachusetts side and Paradise Island on the New Hampshire side, offer plenty of places to explore by canoe or kayak. In fact, Monomonac means "islands" and "place" to the Nipmuc Indians who originally settled the area.
Lake Monomonac is an hour and a quarter from Boston. Residential development and vacation rentals surround the lake, and for visitors who want to extend their stay, there is real estate available for sale. Part of the Annett State Forest, Rindge in Cheshire County is the nearest town on the New Hampshire side of the lake. Winchendon in Worchester County is in the Winchendon State Forest and borders Lake Monomonac on the Massachusetts side of the lake.
Surrounded by forested shores, quaint towns and beautiful countryside, Lake Monomonac balances the best of both states. Add the fish-filled water and room for boating and water skiing, and the lake is sure to become a central Massachusetts and Monadnock New Hampshire destination.
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