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Androscoggin Lake is a freshwater glacial lake of very irregular shape that falls into two geographic regions of Central Maine: the Kennebec and Moose River Valleys region and the Lakes and Mountains region. In the Kennebec and Moose River Valleys area, Androscoggin Lake is located in the increasingly popular Winthrop Lakes Region that has become known for its great fishing waters. Androscoggin Lake is attractive to anglers for its catches of unusually large pickerel and its popular smallmouth and largemouth bass. Along with the most plentiful species, others are sought here too: brown trout, chain pickerel, white perch, yellow perch, smelt, minnows, bullhead, landlocked alewives, eel, and white sucker. The area hosts several fishing tournaments during the year, and vacationers may choose to also take advantage some of the other lakes and ponds in the Winthrop Lakes Region; they number more than a dozen. In the Lakes and Mountains region, Androscoggin Lake borders on the village of Casco, which is considered the heart of the Sebago Lakes Region--a very popular region for tourism due to its variety of beautiful lakes and ponds. Casco hosts an annual festival in July called Casco Days that has been a tradition since 1935 and features an extended weekend of outdoor-oriented family fun.
Bordering the counties of Kennebec on its east and Androscoggin on its west, this 3,826-acre lake is surrounded by a sparsely developed area that retains much of its natural organic beauty. With Berry Pond to its east, Wilson Pond to its southeast, Maranacook Lake farther east, and Echo Lake to the northeast, Androscoggin Lake is a haven for outdoor activity and a wonderful location for weekend getaways and summer vacations. The capital city of Augusta is a mere 20 minutes to the east by car, and Portland is less than an hour to the south. Lewiston/Auburn is close by as well. Boston is an easy day trip, with scenic routes making it a relaxing drive. Its central location in Maine makes the Winthrop Lakes Region a convenient area to escape from it all, while allowing visitors to remain close to shopping centers and busier cities.
The village of Wayne, which is located in Kennebec County and borders the lake on the east, is a classic New England village, with small shops, original architecture, and a small-town feel. The Wayne Yacht Club has a boat landing for public use. On the northwest shore, the town of Leeds, in Androscoggin County, is similar in its appeal. Leeds is home to Monument Hill, an attraction in itself for its great views. A Civil War monument has been erected at the top of this climb, which is less than a mile from base to summit. The elevation increases 200 feet in that distance, providing excellent views of the surrounding countryside, including Androscoggin Lake and the nearby White Mountains. Golf courses and shopping, as well as many popular seasonal events, are additional activities and local flavor to experience during a stay in the area.
Androscoggin Lake is fed by several streams and is the principal outlet for Pocasset Lake to the northeast. The Dead River, which has its head at the western shore of Androscoggin Lake, travels 7 miles northwest and eventually meets and feeds the Androscoggin River. The Dead River Dam, located at the western outlet of Androscoggin Lake, was constructed in 1936 for the purpose of controlling pollution levels in the lake. Researchers have noted that Androscoggin Lake is the only lake in the state of Maine that accepts floodwaters from an industrialized and high-pollution river through a natural water-flow process called reverse flow. Although water in this system normally flows from the northeast to the west, instances of flooding can change this because the lake is situated in a very level area. During excessive rainfall, Androscoggin Lake forces water into the Dead River, which then feeds the Androscoggin River. The Androscoggin River then fills to a point where its elevation is higher than its tributary's, therefore gravity reverses water flow and sends the river's water back into Androscoggin Lake, which then becomes a flood storage reservoir through the flood process. Although the man-made Dead River Dam did not eliminate flooding, it certainly has helped limit occurrences. Before the dam was constructed, this type of reverse-flow flood happened many times every year. This flooding and reversion process deposits sediments into the lake, which causes a buildup of flat deposits. This built-up area is called a lake-outlet delta. Lake-outlet deltas are fairly common in Maine, where a total of 14 are present. Androscoggin Lake is located in a very well developed lake-outlet delta, which, in this case, means the delta reaches close to 2 miles into the lake.
The Department of Agriculture owns the Dead River Dam and is its principal maintainer. Androscoggin Lake is important as a source of drinking water, so many groups in the area are involved in assisting in water-quality monitoring and lake, river, and dam maintenance. The Dead River Dam controls, to some degree, the influx of phosphorus into Androscoggin Lake. Although algae blooms, which occur in lakes when phosphorus levels are elevated, do still happen, they are limited and infrequent.
The Dead River Delta is an important part of the ecosystem on Androscoggin Lake. Its presence allows the cattail sedge, a rare plant, to thrive in this unusual habitat. Likewise, the nearby silver maple floodplain forests and hardwood river terrace forests have full and lush vegetation due to this natural-flow process. Communities of rare plant life are found here, as are many endangered species of wildlife. On the western shore of the lake, boaters are welcome to enter the Brackett-Longley Rare Plant Habitat. This designated area is 40 acres of rare and endangered plant species that are best viewed while paddling along in a canoe or other small boat. It's a very scenic and unique opportunity to enter a protected plant habitat.
Androscoggin Lake is also considered one of the best areas for kayaking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting. Personal watercrafts are not allowed on Androscoggin Lake, however; this means that boats with engines of more than 15 horsepower are illegal there. Forbidden watercraft include speedboats, jet skis, and hovercrafts. All non-motorized watercraft are allowed. This lake is homothermous, meaning that the surface temperature varies very little from the temperature as its maximum depth, which is 38 feet. Average lake depth, about 15 feet, means the lake is relatively shallow. Androscoggin Lake is surrounded by sandy beaches and is a destination for sun worshipers and swimmers in the summer.
Several islands can be seen as well as visited on Androscoggin Lake. Androscoggin Island is at the northern end, near the inlet from Pocasset Lake. Norris Island is the largest island at 27 acres and is the property of the Kennebec Land Trust; it can be used for sightseeing, picnicking, walking and hiking, and other similar day-use activities. Campsites are available on Norris Island for those interested in an island overnight trip. Norris Island is found centrally located in the southerly lake basin. Lothrop Island, also called Black Sand Island, is in the southwest part of the lake, and Blodgett Island, the smallest of the named islands, is in the southeast.
Vacationing in Maine is a favorite memory of many visitors. It's hard to imagine a more scenic and peaceful location, with unlimited variety of rentals available to choose from. Self-catering cottages nestled in the woods are perfect for some; others might prefer the luxurious and spacious lakeside chalets that boast every modern amenity, including private beachfront access. Some rentals are pet-friendly for those who wish to bring animal companions along for their unforgettable trip to the unspoiled countryside. Whether travelers prefer lake views or mountain views, sprawling acreage or quaint cabins, booking the perfect getaway for a weekend, a week, a month, or a full season has never sounded so good as it does around Androscoggin Lake.
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