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Maranacook Lake, a 1,673-acre freshwater body of very irregular shape, is located in Kennebec County, Maine. The lake borders the town of Readfield on its northern end and Winthrop on its southern tip. Maranacook Lake is in the central southern area of Maine, about 10 miles west of the capital city of Augusta. Maranacook Lake is situated in the Kennebec and Moose River Valleys Region, specifically the Winthrop Lakes Region, which is known for its excellent fishing.
Androscoggin Lake is situated to the west of Maranacook Lake, while Annabessacook Lake is to its south. Maranacook is at the hub of several bodies of water, with Carlton Pond to its east, Upper Narrows Pond and Lower Narrows Pond to its southeast, Wilson Pond to its southwest, and Pocasset Lake, Torsey Lake, Lovejoy Pond, and Echo Lake to its northwest.
Maranacook Lake contains two distinct basins, the North Basin and the South Basin. The North Basin is located in the town of Readfield, and the South Basin is found in Winthrop. The full lake has an average depth of 30 feet, but its northern basin is much more shallow than the southern basin. In fact, the 1,000-acre surface area South Basin has a maximum depth of 118 feet and better water quality than the North Basin. The North Basin's 700-acre surface area and shallow waters help it to maintain a homothermous quality, meaning that the water temperature at the surface of the lake is nearly the same as it is at the deepest points in the lake. The North Basin's maximum depth is 39 feet. The basins are both developed around the perimeter, with homes, businesses, and vacation rentals being the main components of development. Public boat launch landings are available for vacationers and other local boaters. The North Basin is host to warm water fish, including bass, pickerel, and perch. The South Basin is known for its coldwater catches, including brown trout. Along with these species, lake trout, bullhead, rainbow smelt, and eel are also frequently on the hook for anglers in this area.
This mesotrophic lake (moderately fertile) belongs to the Cobbossee Watershed, and is monitored by the Maranacook Lake Association whose goal is to survey, protect, and improve the Cobbossee Watershed District (CWD). The group formed in 1973 and is very active today in its attempts to keep invasive species from changing the constitution of the lake, as well as to prevent pollution and phosphorus from entering the lake system. Maranacook Lake serves as the secondary drinking water supply for Winthrop, Maine. The area around Maranacook Lake that is not developed for businesses and residences and other human activity is mainly forest and fairly level ground used for agriculture.
Winthrop, with a population of roughly 6,300, and Readfield, at population 2,400, are both known for their small-town vibes while serving as tourist locations for Maranacook Lake. These small resort areas are popular for their many events and annual fairs and festivals, as well as the charm of experiencing New England's finest lakes with the bonus of being able to relax in a rustic rural backdrop. Winthrop boasts a farmers' market, tennis facilities, bird watching, walking and biking trails, and a history and art walking tour of the town; indeed, the motto of Winthrop is "the small town with big character." Readfield has a popular fairground that is used for different events, and is also home to Readfield Beach on the North Basin. As could be expected on an accessible and beautiful lake such as this, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating, and other water-based activities are popular, and the many choices for winter recreation--from skiing to skating to snowshoeing--keep residents and visitors active all year round.
Maranacook Lake Upper Dam is a recent addition to the area. Constructed in 1995, the concrete dam is found at the southeastern tail of the lake in Winthrop. This dam was owned by Carleton Woolen Mills, Incorporated until its closure in 2000, when ownership was transferred to the Winthrop Commerce Center, which now maintains and oversees the dam. The dam's creation has helped regulate water levels in Maranacook Lake as well as in associated local bodies of water, and it has slowed erosion on the shores of the lake.
Maranacook Lake is fed primarily by four perennial streams: Tingley Brook from the northeast, Beaver Brook from the east, Roseanne Brook from the west, and Dead Stream from the northwest. Dead Stream is the main outlet from Torsey Pond to Maranacook Lake's west. Lake Annabessacook is the main outlet for Maranacook Lake, but the lake also feeds Cobbosseecontee Pond and Cobbosseecontee Stream, as well as the Kennebec River.
Maranacook Lake visitors will find vacation rentals ranging from modest lakeside cottages to large luxury homes nestled in the woods. Choices abound for those looking for a lovely area near a scenic lake to spend some time--from a week in the summer to a whole season, from a winter-long escape to a retirement cottage. Lakefront properties are available for various rental periods, and real estate is filled with variety. Some properties boast cultivated gardens and detailed landscaping, while others grow wildflowers and untamed but gorgeous and lush greenery. Some larger lakeside rentals can accommodate everyone in a family reunion, and others are picture-perfect cozy cabins for one person or two--all of these options can be found in the area around Maranacook Lake. It's a spectacular region of Maine just waiting to be explored.
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