For Immediate Release
Date: September 06, 2022


Dan Mattaini
(603) 271-8867

State Announces Its 2022 Fall Drawdown of Lakes

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) announced today that the annual fall drawdown of the lakes and ponds controlled by dams owned by NHDES will be initiated according to the schedule below.


Akers Pond

Greenough Brook Errol Oct. 10 1’
Angle Pond Bartlett Brook Sandown Oct. 10


Ayers Lake Tributary to Isinglass River Barrington Oct. 20 3’
Ballard Pond Taylor Brook Derry Oct. 10 2’
Barnstead Parade Suncook River Barnstead Oct. 10 1.5’
Bow Lake Isinglass River Strafford Oct. 10 4'
Burns Lake Tributary to Johns River Whitefield Oct. 10 1.3'
Chesham Pond Minnewawa Brook Harrisville Oct. 10 2'
Crystal Lake Crystal Lake Brook Enfield Oct. 10 4'
Crystal Lake Suncook River Gilmanton Oct. 10 3'
Deering Reservoir Piscataquog River Deering Oct. 10 4'
East Washington Pond Beards Brook Washington Oct. 10 2'
Glen Lake/Greggs Falls1 Piscataquog River Goffstown Sept. 10 30'
Goose Pond2 Goose Pond Brook Canaan Oct. 10 7.5'
Grafton Pond Bicknell Brook Grafton Oct. 10 2'
Great East Lake Salmon Falls River Wakefield Oct. 3 3'
Great Pond Powwow River Kingston Oct. 10 1'
Highland Lake North Branch Contoocook River Stoddard Oct. 10 3'
Horace Lake (aka Weare Reservoir) Piscataquog River Weare Oct. 15 5'
Horn Pond Salmon Falls River Wakefield Oct. 3 1.5'
Howe Reservoir Tributary to Minnewawa Brook Dublin Sept. 10 6'
Island Pond North Branch Contoocook River Stoddard Oct. 10 3'
Lake Kanasatka Tributary to Lake Winnipesaukee Moultonboro Nov. 1 1.5'
Kezar Lake Lane River Sutton Oct. 2 2'
Kingswood Lake3 Churchill Brook Brookfield Oct. 10 3'
Little Sunapee Lake Kidder Brook New London Oct. 10 1'
Lovell Lake  Branch River Wakefield Oct. 10 3'
Mascoma Lake4 Mascoma River Lebanon Oct. 10 3'
Mendums Pond Little River Nottingham Nov. 9 4'
Milton Three Ponds4 Salmon Falls River Milton Oct. 10 3'
Newfound Lake3 Newfound River  Bristol Oct. 10 2.5'
Nay Pond Dead River Milan Oct. 2 7.5 inches
Nippo Pond Nippo Brook Barrington Oct. 10 2'
North River Pond5 North River Nottingham Oct. 10 3' to 1'
Northwood Lake Little Suncook River Epsom Oct. 22 6'
Opechee Lake Winnipesaukee River Laconia Oct. 10 5'
Ossipee Lake4 Ossipee River Effingham Oct. 10 3.25'
Pawtuckaway Lake Pawtuckaway River Nottingham Oct. 10 4.8'
Pequawket Lake Tributary to Swift River Conway Nov. 1 2'
Pine River Pond Pine River Wakefield Oct. 10 8'
Pleasant Lake Tributary to Little Suncook River Deerfield Oct. 10 2.7'
Shellcamp Pond Academy Brook Gilmanton Oct. 10 2'
Silver Lake Minnewawa Brook Harrisville Oct. 10 3'
Stinson Lake6 Stinson Brook Rumney Oct. 10 3'
Squam Lake4 Squam River Ashland Oct. 10 2.5'
Sunapee Lake4 Sugar River Sunapee Oct. 10 2.5'
Suncook Lakes Suncook River Barnstead Oct. 3 5'
Sunset Lake Suncook River Alton Oct. 10 7'
Trickling Falls Powwow River East Kingston Nov. 6 1'
Webster Lake Chance Brook Franklin Oct. 10 2'
Whittemore Lake Tributary to Contoocook River Bennington Oct. 10 1.5'
Winnisquam Lake Winnipesaukee River Belmont Oct. 10 2'
  1. Glen Lake will be lowered to allow for an inspection of the Greggs Falls Dam required by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). It will be lowered six inches per day for the first 20 days, then lowered 1 foot per day until October 16. It will be refilled to its usual winter drawdown level of 1.5’ starting October 22 to December 24.
  2. Goose Pond will be drawn down 4 feet instead of the usual 7.5 feet this year.
  3. Kingswood Lake’s drawdown has been decreased from 4’ to 3’ at the request of the Kingswood Lake Association.
  4. These larger lakes generally do not reach their full drawdowns until mid or late March. The values listed above are generally the maximum levels reached, although during any given year the levels reached can be either higher or lower due to weather conditions.
  5. North River Pond will be drawdown 3’ for 3 weeks in October, then returned to its normal winter level.
  6. Stinson Lake in Rumney will have a 3’ drawdown starting the week of October 9 next year (2023) and will begin to refill just before ice out in the spring.

The depth of drawdown listed above is not from the current level but is from the normal full pond level. Due to changing ice and hydrologic conditions, these levels can vary throughout the winter. Since the hydrologic conditions and recreational uses of these water bodies vary, the degree and date of the start of drawdown for each lake vary and could be affected by the amount of rainfall during the period. In addition, the actual date at which the drawdown will begin could vary by a few days based on operational constraints. However, at three dams, the drawdowns will be initiated or accelerated on a specific Saturday in October to provide recreational opportunities for canoeists and kayakers in the rivers below these dams. The schedule for these recreational opportunities is as follows:

  • Horace Lake will have a release for recreational use downstream on Saturday, October 15. Water release from the dam will begin at 8 AM and end at 4 PM. Between 300 and 400 cfs will be released for that time period.
  • There will be a recreational release from Northwood Lake (Little Suncook River) on Saturday, October 22, starting at 8 AM and ending at 4 PM.

NHDES reminds people that canoeing, and kayaking have inherent risks, and paddling the state’s lakes and rivers is at the paddler’s own risk.

Lake drawdowns are conducted each fall to reduce winter ice damage to shoreline properties and to reduce spring flooding.  Drawdowns also give property owners an opportunity to conduct any necessary repairs to their waterfront property, provided they first secure a permit from the NHDES Wetlands Bureau at (603) 271-2147.

Generally, lake levels are allowed to return to the normal full pond level in the spring. However, the drawdowns of Opechee and Winnisquam Lakes, which occur on a two-year interval, last only approximately two weeks. This year, the lowering of Opechee Lake will begin on October 10, and it will likely take two days to pass the water from Opechee Lake downstream through Winnisquam Lake. Therefore, the level of Winnisquam Lake is not expected to drop noticeably until October 15. On October 24 flows at Lakeport Dam will be increased to refill Opechee Lake, and the level of Winnisquam Lake should begin to rise late in the day on October 25.

Not included in this schedule is Lake Winnipesaukee. Unlike the other lakes in this schedule, Lake Winnipesaukee is not purposely drawn down in the fall. Instead, in the fall after Columbus Day, the releases from Lakeport Dam are reduced from a normal minimum of 250 cubic feet per second (cfs) to a flow between 30 and 50 cfs for a period of up to two weeks to allow for maintenance of the dams and hydropower facilities on the Winnipesaukee River. The flow of 30 to 50 cfs is the minimum flow needed to maintain the downstream aquatic life during this period.  This year the reduction will be begun on October 10.

By the middle of the fall, Lake Winnipesaukee is, on average, 15 inches below its springtime full level due to evaporation and releases from the lake that have occurred over the course of the summer.  Because of this summer’s drought, the level of the lake is already 12 inches below its full level. When the amount of water released from the dam is reduced after Columbus Day, the lake level is not expected to drop significantly for the remainder of the month of October and, if drought conditions ease in the fall and winter, it is expected to remain relatively stable through the month of December absent any major rainfall events. Depending on the amount of snow on the ground in the winter, the lake level may be lowered further beginning in January to a depth of two feet below the normal full level.

A plot of the average lake levels throughout the year for Lake Winnipesaukee is provided on NHDES’ website at LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE LAKE LEVEL DATA GRAPH. Also included are updated plots of this year’s lake levels, releases from the dam, and precipitation.

The NH Fish and Game Department recommends that, if special drawdowns are to be conducted for the purposes of repairing property such as retaining walls or private boat ramps, they occur only once in every 5 years. If shoreland property owners wish to have a special drawdown conducted on their lake, please contact the NHDES Dam Bureau immediately after receiving all permits required for such work, so that the drawdown can be coordinated with any other work proposed on the same water body.  In this way, the number of special drawdowns can be limited.

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) announced today that the annual fall drawdown of the lakes and ponds controlled by dams owned by NHDES will be initiated according to the included schedule.