Discover the Deepest Lake in Rhode Island

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Updated: May 31, 2023
© Morrow Long / flickr – License / Original
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Rhode Island may not be the most prominent state (okay, it is the smallest), but when it comes to ponds, lakes, rivers and bays, Rhode Island has it all! The southern and southeastern borders are along the Block Islands Sound, Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay. Just north of the Bay, near the capitol of Providence, is the Providence River. Salt marshes are scattered along the coast, creating a buffer between the coast and the land. Then there are all the beautiful reservoirs and smaller natural lakes found throughout the state.

We know the ocean off the coast of Rhode Island will have some of the greatest depths, but what about the lakes? Is Deep Spring Lake in Roger William’s Park the deepest lake? What about the biggest lake? Is the Scituate Reservoir the deepest? Let’s find out all about the deepest lake in Rhode Island.

What Is the Deepest Lake in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island Beach Pond
Wondering what’s the deepest lake in Rhode Island? Keep reading to find out!

©Morrow Long / flickr – License

The deepest lake in Rhode Island is Scituate Reservoir. The biggest lake in the state is also the deepest. Located on the western side of Providence, the man-made Scituate Reservoir is the deepest in the state. It provides much of the drinking water for Providence and the surrounding communities. Scituate Reservoir is not recreational, so forget about jet skiing, fishing and windsurfing. The reservoir provides drinking water to 60% of Rhode Island, so it does not allow any recreational activities on the lake. No one wants someone doing a cannonball in their drinking water! The shoreline is lined with trees and forests, not marinas and resorts.

How Deep Is the Deepest Lake in Rhode Island?

The deepest lake in Rhode Island is 87-90 feet deep. Much of Scituate Reservoir is shallower, but the most profound point fluctuates between 87-90 feet deep. Due to the limited human influence, the wildlife in and around the lake has a thriving ecosystem.

Where Is Scituate Reservoir Located on a Map?

Scituate Reservoir is in Scituate in Providence County, approximately 14 miles from East Providence. The watershed covers the majority of the town of Scituate as well as sections of Cranston, Foster, Johnston, and Glocester.

Did an Airplane Make an Emergency Landing on Scituate Reservoir?

The peaceful Scituate Reservoir was in the news back in February 1982 when a small aircraft made an emergency landing on the lake. In February, the lake was frozen and provided an excellent emergency runway. Pilgrim Flight 458 was on its way from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Logan Airport in Massachusetts when a fire erupted in the cockpit. The pilot and copilot remained level-headed and were able to land the plane on the frozen lake. There were 9 passengers on board and all but one survived. The pilot and copilot, as well as two passengers, suffered 2nd and 3rd-degree burns from the fire. One of the passengers didn’t leave the plane and died of smoke inhalation. Captain Prinster and First Officer Hogg suffered severe burns but ultimately survived. They were later honored for their bravery and heroic landing.

What Lakes in Rhode Island Are Recreational Lakes?

Watchaug Pond Rhode Island
Watchaug Pond is 573 acres, and the deepest point on the lake is 36 feet deep, plenty deep for some good-sized trout to hang out.

©Susilee Dean/

If you want to jet ski and cast a line, there are plenty of recreational lakes in Rhode Island. Worden Pond is the biggest natural lake in the state, with 1,043 acres of fresh water. It is a lake where you can swim, kayak, paddleboard and jet ski. It is also a popular place for bass fishing. The Worden Pond Family Campground is on the southern shore, a great option for campers and RV’ers to enjoy the amazing Worden Pond.

Watchaug Pond is another recreational lake in Rhode Island, Charleston, RI. The Burlingame State Park is on the shores and has a campground with 700 campsites and 20 cabins. The park has a sandy beach on Watchaug pond and also rents canoes to explore the lake. Watchaug Pond is 573 acres, and the deepest point on the lake is 36 feet deep, plenty deep for some good-sized trout to hang out. In the spring, the lake is stocked with trout, but there is excellent fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie and perch.

What Lake Has the Best Fishing in Rhode Island?

Trout like to “hang out” in some of the deeper, cooler areas of lakes. Sometimes lakes with deeper pockets will harbor some of the biggest fish. Looking at the deepest lake in Rhode Island, we know you cannot fish on it. Scituate Lake does not allow fishing, nor does the Diamond Hill Reservoir in Cumberland, RI. But many other lakes have excellent fishing, even in the winter when many of the lakes freeze over.

Based on the state fishing records, some of the biggest fish came from Tiogue Lake, the Hundred Acre Pond and Barber Pond. The biggest rainbow trout ever caught in Rhode Island was recently seen in December 2020. A 12-pound 9.12-ounce rainbow trout was pulled from Barber Pond by J. Rogers.

How Deep Is the Rhode Island Sound?

The Sound will be more profound than any lake in Rhode Island but nowhere near as deep as the Atlantic Ocean gets off the coast. The Rhode Island Sound gets 200 feet deep at the deepest point, about twice as deep as Scituate Lake.

How Deep Is the Atlantic Ocean off the Coast of Rhode Island?

Off the coast of Rhode Island, the ocean drops to 160 feet deep, then to 230, 330 … 3,000 … 7,000 feet! The Hudson Canyon, an underwater canyon southeast of Rhode Island, slopes down to the deepest point that measures around 7,000 feet! Further out to sea, the ocean reaches depths of 10,000 feet and more. The average depth of the Atlantic Ocean (including its seas) is 11,962 feet.

How Deep Is the Block Island Sound?

The Block Island Sound is around 34 feet deep and extends along the Rhode Island and New York coast. The popular Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly, RI, has beautiful views of the Block Island Sound. The beach is on a barrier island that separates it from Winnapaug Pond. The Winnapaug Pond is a salt pond and the sixth-largest lake in the state, but it is not deep. The salt ponds that line the coast, nine of them, only average 3.9 feet deep. There is a boardwalk, playground and sandy beach for all your seaside adventures.

How Does the Deepest Lake in Rhode Island Compare to the Deepest Lake in the U.S.?

The deepest lake in Rhode Island, Scituate Lake, is around 90 feet deep; compared to the deepest lake in the US, which doesn’t seem very deep. The deepest lake in the US is Crater Lake which is 1,949 feet deep. Crater Lake is in Oregon, and the Crater Lake National Park surrounds it. All of the water in Crater Lake is from either rain or snow melt. No rivers or streams flow into the lake. The lake has a royal blue color due to the clarity of the water.

The area around the lake is not developed, but there is one trail you can hike down to the edge of the lake. You can hike on the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which is listed as a “steep and strenuous hike.” The trail is only 1.1 miles, but it takes you down nearly 700 feet, about 600 feet lower than the deepest lake in Rhode Island. The views when you get down there are worth it!

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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".

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