Discover the Deepest Lake in Vermont

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: December 9, 2022
© NEKVT/Shutterstock.com
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Vermont is home to some good sized lakes including Lake Champlain on the border with New York, Lake Bomoseen which is the biggest lake entirely in the state and Lake Memphremagog that crosses over into Canada. These picturesque lakes are the backdrop to some of the most beautiful scenery in Vermont.

Smaller lakes are scattered across the landscape as well, creating ecosystems for a variety of plants and wildlife. When you look at some of the deepest lakes in Vermont you may be surprised that sometimes smaller lakes can be unusually deep. Some fish species prefer cool deep lakes like some of the northern lakes in Vermont. Let’s find out all about the deepest lake in Vermont.

What is the Deepest Lake in Vermont?

The deepest lake in Vermont is Lake Willoughby. Lake Willoughby is the deepest lake entirely in the state of Vermont. The southern half of the lake is surrounded by the mixed green forest of the Willoughby State Forest. There are two small beaches on the lake that have boat access and a swimming area. On the east side is the town of Westmore and the southern end hosts the White Caps Campground in the State Forest. Another larger campground is just north of the lake, the Will-o-wood Campground.

Lake Willoughby is the deepest lake entirely in the state of Vermont.
Lake Willoughby is the deepest lake entirely in the state of Vermont with a depth of 320 feet.

©iStock.com/vermontalm

How Deep is the Deepest Lake in Vermont?

The deepest lake in Vermont is around 320 feet deep. Lake Willoughby was carved out by glaciers leaving the high rocky shoreline and the deepest grooves in the bottom of the lake. Visitors often say the lake looks like a Norwegian Fjord. The lake is only about a mile wide, but five miles long from north to south.

How is the Fishing on Lake Willoughby?

The fishing on Lake Willoughby is excellent especially for lake trout. Lake trout love cool deep water and the trout in Lake Willoughby can grow to be trophy sized. In fact, the biggest lake trout ever caught was reeled in from Lake Willoughby. Shawn Dutil holds the state record with a 35 pound 3.2 ouncer that he caught back in 2003. The largest producer of lake trout in Vermont is Lake Champlain.

Lake Willoughby offers great fishing for lake trout.
Lake trout love the cool deep water in Lake Willoughby.

©iStock.com/LaSalle-Photo

Is Lake Champlain one of the Deepest Lakes in Vermont?

Yes. Lake Champlain is the deepest lake in Vermont that is not entirely in the state. Lake Champlain is on the border with New York and it extends into Canada. At the deepest point, Lake Champlain is 400 feet deep. Lake Champlain is the biggest lake in Vermont with a surface area of 278,400. Lake Champlain is not a man-made lake, it is a natural lake also formed by glaciers. While Lake Willoughby is 5 miles long, Lake Champlain is 120 miles long, quite a bit larger!

Lake Champlain in Vermont is 400 feet deep.
Lake Champlain is the deepest lake in Vermont that is not entirely in the state with a depth of 400 feet.

©iStock.com/Eifel Kreutz

How is the Fishing on Lake Champlain?

Excellent! We already mentioned how Lake Champlain has the most lake trout in the state, and trophy sized ones at that. Besides lake trout, bass fishing is popular on the lake with smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and rock bass. You will also find northern pike, yellow perch, white perch, bluegills and brown bullheads.

Are there any State Fishing Records from Lake Champlain?

Yes! There are more records set on Lake Champlain than any other lake in the state. The biggest Atlantic landlocked salmon was caught on October 18, 1994 by Brian Latulippe. His record breaker weighed in at 12 pounds 10.4 ounces. A record breaking walleye was reeled in by Richard Levesque on February 10, 2010. The walleye was 14 pounds 8.8 ounces and 32.50 inches. Other state record fish include the biggest American eel (6 pounds 4 ounces), rock bass (2 pounds), Burbot (8 pounds 13 ounces), Cisco (1 pound 1.44 ounces), freshwater drum (25 pounds 8.6 ounces), longnose gar (18 pounds 12 ounces), mooneye (2 pounds 7 ounces), white perch (2 pounds 9.3 ounces), pike-pickerel hybrid (8 pounds 7 ounces), sauger (3 pounds 2.5 ounces), rainbow smelt (0 pounds 12 ounces), and lake whitefish (9 pounds 7 ounces). Definitely one of the best places for fishing in Vermont!

Fishing on Lake Champlain in Vermont
There are more fishing records set on Lake Champlain than any other lake in the state.

©Ilir Hasa/Shutterstock.com

Is there a Sea Monster in Lake Champlain?

Yes…maybe? There is a legend of a sea monster in Lake Champlain although concrete evidence is still not available. The lake claims to be “home to the oldest known fossil reef in the world (450-480 million years old” and it is believed that one of the oldest dinosaurs still lives in the depths of the lake. A sea monster similar to the Loch Ness Monster is rumored to still swim along the deepest parts of Lake Champlain. “Champ” as he is called was featured on popular news media with folks still debating whether or not he is real. Just in case there really is a sea monster on Lake Champlain, the state of Vermont and New York have a resolution protecting Champ!

How do the Deepest Lakes in Vermont Compare to the Deepest Lake in the US?

With Lake Willoughby around 320 feet and Lake Champlain at 400 feet, they are still quite a bit shallower than Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the US. Crater Lake is 1,943 feet deep. While some lakes are formed by glaciers others fill in the craters of old volcanoes. Crater Lake is located in southern Oregon and was formed when Mount Mazama erupted around 7,700 years ago. The gaping hole that was left after the eruption, the crater, was filled in with rain and snow melt to form what is now Crater Lake.

The royal blue waters of the lake are due to the water clarity which the National Park Service tries to maintain with strict lake regulations. You can fish in Crater Lake for landlocked sockeye salmon and rainbow trout, the two remaining fish species in the lake. One thing Crater Lake has in common with Lake Willoughby and Lake Champlain is they are all pretty darn chilly!

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The Featured Image

Lake Willoughby, Vermont
Lake Willoughby, Vermont in the fall.
© NEKVT/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".

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Sources
  1. Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation, Available here: https://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/lakes-ponds/aboutlakes
  2. Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing, Available here: https://www.vermontvacation.com/lake-willoughby
  3. Vermont Department of Forests - Parks and Recreation, Available here: https://fpr.vermont.gov/willoughby-state-forest
  4. Agency of Natural Resources Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, Available here: https://anrweb.vt.gov/FWD/FW/VermontFishRecords.aspx
  5. National Park Service, Available here: https://www.nps.gov/crla/planyourvisit/fishing.htm