Discover the Deepest Lake in Connecticut

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: August 1, 2023
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Key Points:

  • The deepest lake in Connecticut is Lake Lillinonah at 140 miles deep. This man-made lake is also one of the biggest lakes in Connecticut at 1,900 acres.
  • The deepest natural lake in Connecticut is Lake Wononscopomuc 102 feet deep.
  • The biggest lake trout ever recorded in Connecticut was caught by Dr. Thompson back in 1918 on Lake Wononscopomuc. His lake trout weighed in at 29 pounds 13 ounces! The record stands today, 104 years later.
Lake Lillinonah is the Deepest Lake in Connecticut
Record-breaking Northern Pike have been caught in Lake Lillinonah.

Connecticut is known for its rich history, prestigious universities, and beautiful scenery. The Connecticut River flows down the middle of the state, the southern border is along the Long Island Sound and many lakes dot the landscape of this small northeastern state. Some of the biggest lakes like Candlewood Lake, the biggest manmade lake, and Bantam Lake, the biggest natural lake, offer amazing outdoor recreation like boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing. When it comes to the deepest lake, are these big lakes the deepest? Which lake is actually the deepest in the state? Let’s take a look at the deepest lake in Connecticut…it might surprise you!

What is the Deepest Lake in Connecticut?

Lake Lillinonah

This manmade lake is near Southbury where the Housatonic River and Shepaug River come together.

©Tarek Ihaddaden/Shutterstock.com

The deepest lake in Connecticut is Lake Lillinonah. Lake Lillinonah is also one of the biggest lakes in Connecticut at 1,900 acres. This manmade lake is near Southbury where the Housatonic River and Shepaug River come together. The George C. Waldo State Park is on the eastern shore and the Upper Paugussett State Forest is on the western. Much of the shoreline is lined with forests and beautiful habitats for the surrounding wildlife. There is even an area by the Shepaug Dam designated for bald eagle watching. The observation area is open from December to March for the best viewing opportunities. Bring your camera to see if you can catch these majestic birds swooping down to catch a lake trout, wouldn’t that be a memorable moment?!

How Deep is the Deepest Lake in Connecticut?

View of Lake Lillinonah from Lovers Leap State Park in New Milford, Connecticut

The completion of the Shepaug Dam created Lake Lillinonah.


Image: Ritu Manoj Jethani, Shutterstock

©Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock.com

The deepest lake in Connecticut is approximately 140 feet deep. Lake Lillinonah is formed at the Shepaug Dam along the Housatonic River and Shepaug Rivers. The water levels at the lake vary due to the flood control efforts and precipitation levels. The dam was built in 1955 creating the large body of water known as Lake Lillinonah. While this is the deepest manmade lake in the state it is just a few feet deeper than the deepest natural lake in Connecticut.

What is the Deepest Natural Lake in Connecticut?

The deepest natural lake in Connecticut is Lake Wononscopomuc (Lakeville Lake). This is certainly not the biggest lake in the state but it is the deepest natural one. Lake Wononscopomuc is a 348-acre lake in the far northwest corner of the state in Salisbury, CT. Most of the shoreline is developed as residential with residents enjoying the best of the lake life. On the north shore is a public sandy beach and boat ramp, called Town Grove or the Grove, which is popular in the summer for sunbathing, swimming, and sailing. On the south shore is the private Hotchkiss Beach. During the winter months residents and visitors can go ice skating or cross-country skiing.

How Deep is the Deepest Natural Lake in Connecticut?

Lake Wononscopomuc

The depth of Lake Wononscopomuc provides a great habitat for a variety of fish including lake trout which prefer cooler, deep-water lakes.

©ThruHeidisEyes/Shutterstock.com

The deepest natural lake in Connecticut is 102 feet deep. Pretty close to the deepest manmade lake, but not quite as deep. The depth of Lake Wononscopomuc provides a great habitat for a variety of fish including lake trout which prefer cooler, deep-water lakes. The fishing opener on Lake Wononscopomuc is quite an event in Salisbury as anglers attempt to be the first in the spring to reel in a trophy winner.

Fisherman releasing a lake trout

The biggest lake trout ever caught in Connecticut was a 29-pound 13-ounce fish caught in 1919 in Lake Wononscopopmuc.

©Iryna Harry/Shutterstock.com

Where is Lake Lillinonah Located on a Map?

Lake Lillinonah is a beautiful body of water located in Connecticut. To get there, visitors can take various routes depending on their starting point. However, commonly used directions include taking Interstate 84 to exit 13 and following Route 6 South for about nine miles until reaching the lake’s southern shores.

On a map, Lake Lillinonah is situated between the towns of Bridgewater and Newtown in Fairfield County, Connecticut. It stretches over approximately eleven miles along the Housatonic River system and has an area of around 1,900 acres.

How is the Fishing in Lake Wononscopomuc?

The fishing on Lake Wononscopomuc is epic! Did you know there is a 100+-year-old fishing record pulled from the lake? The biggest lake trout ever recorded in Connecticut was caught by Dr. Thompson back in 1918. His lake trout weighed in at 29 pounds 13 ounces! The record stands today, 104 years later.

The Connecticut Bureau of Fisheries actively stocks the lake and besides trout, you can find largemouth bass, yellow perch, chain pickerel, and sunfish. Every fishing opener the boat ramp at the Grove is packed with eager anglers, and the fish do not disappoint!

The biggest northern pike ever caught in Connecticut was caught on Lake Lillinonah in 1980 and weighed nearly 30 pounds.

©bekirevren/Shutterstock.com

How is the Fishing in Lake Lillinonah?

The fishing on Lake Lillinonah is also amazing. Some of the best fishing is for northern pike, large and smallmouth bass, perch, and catfish. There is a record-breaking fish from Lake Lillinonah as well. The biggest northern pike ever caught in Connecticut was caught on Lake Lillinonah back in 1980. Joseph Nett reeled in a northern pike that was nearly 30 pounds! The pike weighed in at 29 pounds even.

How Deep is the Long Island Sound?

Long Island Sound

The Long Island Sound is 350 feet deep at the deepest spot.

©AYIGITB/Shutterstock.com

The Long Island Sound is 350 feet deep at the deepest spot. The average depth of the Sound is 63 feet with the western side near shore more shallow and the eastern side near the Atlantic being the deepest. The southern border of Connecticut is along the Long Island Sound. There are multiple beautiful beaches along the Sound including Ocean Beach, Hammonasset Beach, and Silver Sands State Park.

Can you Fish in the Long Island Sound?

Yes! Absolutely, there is a wide range of fish in the Sound including inshore fish like flounder, striped bass, and bluefish as well as bigger offshore species like yellowfin tuna, Mahi-Mahi (dolphin fish), and blue marlin. Walnut Beach is one of the beaches that has a fishing pier that is a popular place to fish in the Sound. This beach is right by Silver Sands State Park, where you will find a sandbar that goes out to Charles Island. During the summer months, the island is off-limits to people and used as a Natural Area Preserve for nesting birds.

Sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus) swimming with other fish in an aquarium.

Sand

tiger

sharks are one of the most common sharks in Long Island Sound.

©Valeri Potapova/Shutterstock.com

Are there Sharks in the Long Island Sound?

Yes! There are a variety of sharks that can be found in the Long Island Sound. Some of the most common are the sandbar shark, sand tiger shark, smooth dogfish, and spiny dogfish. There are great white sharks that make their way into the sound as well.

How Deep Can Sharks Dive?

One group of researchers in New Zealand tracked the movements of great white sharks by tagging them and measuring the distance they traveled and the depths in which they dived. They found before large-scale movements the sharks typically didn’t dive more than 328 feet (100m) but during longer migrations, they were recorded to dive as deep as 2,953 feet (900m)!

Are there any Record Breaking Sharks caught off Connecticut Shores?

Fastest Sea Animal: Mako Shark

The biggest shark on record is a 650-pound mako shark from the Block Island Sound.

©Al McGlashan/Shutterstock.com

Yes. The Connecticut Saltwater Fishing Records include a few massive sharks caught off the shore of the state. The biggest shark on record is a 650-pound mako shark from the Block Island Sound. The record was set back in 1987, 35 years ago, and still stands today!

Other record sharks include the feisty thresher shark from off the Montauk Point by Mark Hiller in 2006. His thresher weighed in at 467 pounds! There was also a 361-pound blue shark caught near the Ranger Wreck, a 191 Porbeagle shark caught off of Ryan’s Horn, and a 118-pound 7-ounce sandbar shark caught in the Connecticut River where it empties into the Sound near Old Saybrook. Two smaller sharks, but big for their species, were a 22-pound 11-ounce spiny dogfish and an 18-pound 11-ounce smooth dogfish both caught by the same angler, Jennifer Zuppe!

How does the Deepest Lake in Connecticut Compare to the Deepest Lake in the US?

Crater Lake National Park

The deepest lake in the US is Crater Lake in Oregon which is 1,949 feet deep!

©Pung/Shutterstock.com

The deepest lake in Connecticut, Lake Lillinonah, is 140 feet deep. While the deepest lake in the US is Crater Lake in Oregon which is 1,949 feet deep! Quite a difference. Crater Lake sits at the top of a collapsed volcano. Around 7,700 years ago Mount Mazama erupted and the remaining crater at the top of the volcano filled in with water. Not just any water but pure water from rain and snow melt. There are no rivers, streams, or tributaries that flow into the lake. That is what gives the lake its beautiful blue color!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How deep is the deepest lake in Connecticut?

The deepest lake in Connecticut, Lake Lillinonah, is 110-112 feet deep. The deepest lake in the US is Crater Lake in Oregon which is 1,949 feet deep! Quite a difference.

How large is Lake Lillinonah?

Lake Lillinonah is also one of the biggest lakes in Connecticut at 1,900 acres. This manmade lake is near Southbury where the Housatonic River and Shepaug River come together. The George C. Waldo State Park is on the eastern shore and the Upper Paugussett State Forest is on the western.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. A-Z Animals, Available here: https://a-z-animals.com/blog/the-10-biggest-lakes-in-connecticut/
  2. Connecticut State Website, Available here: https://portal.ct.gov/CAES/Invasive-Aquatic-Plant-Program/W/Wononscopomuc-Lake/Wononscopomuc-Lake-2004
  3. Lake Wononscopo, Available here: http://lakewononscopomuc.com/recreation/
  4. Connecticut State Website, Available here: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Boating/Boat-Launches/Lake-Lillinonah-Boat-Launch---Bridgewater
  5. Connecticut State Website, Available here: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Fishing/Freshwater-Fishing-Guide/Freshwater-Record-Fish
  6. Inter-Research Science Publisher, Available here: https://www.int-res.com/abstracts/ab/v8/n2/p115-123/