The Beautiful Norway Lakes of Maine: Pennesseewassee, Sand Pond, North Pond and Hobbs Pond

Real Estate Agent with Anne Plummer and Associates

Four beautiful bodies of water in the western mountains and Lakes Region provide bountiful recreation opportunities and settings for vacation homes, camps and cottages in Norway, Maine. Norway is located 2 ½ hours from Boston, one hour from Portland, and 20 minutes from Shawnee Peak or Mt Abram Ski Resorts and 30 minutes from Sunday River Ski Resort.

The four lakes, Lake Pennesseewassee, a.k.a. Norway Lake, Sand Pond, Hobbs Pond, a.k.a. Little Penn and North Pond are all protected by the Lakes Association of Norway (LAON), which is led by President Bruce Cook. Since 1971, LAON has been dedicated to collecting data and informing the public about issues affecting the lakes of Norway. As their Web site states, "We're about clean waters."

Lake monitoring takes place from May through September, when the lake and ponds are the most biologically productive and water quality problems are most likely to occur. Based on reports from 2008, when we had heavy snowfall and rain, similar to 2009, Norway Lake was slightly less clear, when compared to the historical average. Sand Pond was slightly above average; Hobbs Pond had an above average report; and North Pond was average with relatively good water clarity.

Swimming, boating, fishing and water sports occur here in the summer, while snowmobiling, ice fishing, skating and cross country skiing happen all winter on the Norway Lakes. In fact, on January 30 and 31, the annual Snow Fest, sponsored by the Norway Trackers Snowmobile Club will take place on Norway Lake. You'll be able to enjoy drag racing, radar runs, an antique snowmobile show, and a Chowder Fest. All proceeds go to the trail grooming and maintenance of the Norway Snowmobile Trail System. For more information, contact Richard at 207.527.2175.

Norway Lake, the biggest of the four, covers 922 acres just west of the town of Norway. Its maximum depth is 48 feet. At five miles long and about a half mile wide, this lake is accessed from Route 117.

At the western end of the lake, you'll find Pennesseewassee Park, with a boat launch, picnic area and thanks to a generous grant from New Balance, a recently upgraded playground. Lovely sunsets are enjoyed from the eastern shore. Many folks enjoy kayaking at sunset while watching the loons.

Each July the Western Foothills Land Trust hosts the Norway Triathlon. This is an exciting and fun sprint triathlon on and around Norway Lake. Its purpose is to promote healthy active lifestyles, to conserve natural resources and to help local businesses and the economy.  The Land Trust owns Roberts Farm and Preserve, a 150-acre former dairy farm on the shores of the lake.

Sand Pond covers 141 acres and has an average depth of 56 feet. It provides excellent habitat for coldwater fish including brook trout, an occasional larger trout plus smallmouth bass. The inlet stream is a popular smelt dipping location in the spring. There is no public access to the pond.

Hobbs Pond, at 96 acres with a maximum depth of 31 feet is accessed from a carry-in boat launch on Route 118. Motorboats with more than 10 horsepower are prohibited. This small pond has a predominantly rocky shoreline and is quite popular among local anglers. Brook trout and brown trout are stocked annually.

North Pond is the most wild and spectacular of the four ponds. If you are hoping for a moose sighting, this might be the place to go. Spanning 175 acres, the maximum depth is only 10 feet. A small dam maintains a constant water level. Boating is restricted to small fishing boats and canoes. A shallow channel leads from the boat launch through a marshy are to the main portion of the pond. Small and large-mouth bass, white perch, brown trout and pickerel are caught in this very productive pond.

Michael Perry, former Director of Outdoor Discovery Schools at LL Bean writes, "One of the most beautiful ponds in the area is North Pond. Think of it as being shaped like a skinny hourglass. While the southern half has many log cabins tucked into the forest shadows, the northern end is wild and untouched . . . civilization seems far removed. Plan three to four hours for a circuit of the whole pond, or two hours, if you plan to stay on the north end of the pond."

Though we still need colder temperatures for the water to freeze for ice fishing, all four ponds are open from January 1 through March 31. On Little Penn, there is no size or bag limit on bass. For more information, check the following Web site:

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