Thompson Lake is rated one of the 10 best lakes in Maine for water quality. This lake, located in Casco, Otisfield, Oxford and Poland, is spring-fed by the Poland Spring Aquifer and one of the most pristine in the state.
Volunteers with the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitor Program test the waters of Thompson Lake at two week intervals during the season. The maximum depth of this 4,426 acre lake is 121 feet. The bottom can be seen to a depth of 35 feet.
Back in 1971, the Thompson Lake Environmental Association (TLEA) was formed by folks who had the foresight to make sure that Thompson Lake remain the clear, beautiful body of water that it is today. Since then, TLEA has increased its role in publicizing "best management practices" for watershed residents, solving soil erosion problems and combating the introduction and spread of invasive aquatic plants. TLEA's mission is "to preserve the natural beauty, water quality and biological diversity of Thompson Lake. TLEA will promote conservation practices, through education and through monitoring and management of Thompson Lake and its watershed."
In TLEA's winter 2010 newsletter, a couple of key announcements were made to this end. Otisfield lakefront landowners have a special opportunity to receive a Residential Matching Grant of $300, if they provide $300 worth of cash, supplies and/or volunteer labor to fix small erosion problems such as driveways or roof run-off. These grants are offered on a first come, first serve basis and well worth it.
The Youth Conservation Corps is available in the summer months to help lakefront owners in all four towns correct erosion problems. It was also announced in the newsletter that on December 9, 2009, TLEA learned that the Maine Milfoil Consortium had awarded the association $40,000 to fight milfoil. Other news includes the fact that the town of Oxford has taken ownership of Robinson Mill building and the dam.
"They have assured TLEA they will monitor the dam and maintain water levels as previously agreed upon with Robinson and TLEA. We are breathing a sigh of relief," wrote Sue Ellis, co-president of TLEA. She and Kathy Cain share the presidency of the organization.
Summer or winter, time spent on the almost twelve-mile long Thompson Lake is always spectacular. The shoreline is varied with long stretches of undeveloped shore, with shallow sandy areas and steep, rocky sections. Rent a boat or launch your own and explore the many coves and islands.
One attraction of Thompson is . . . sh, don't tell . . .the Heath located at the southern end. It actually is a separate body of water from Thompson Lake located just across the road from the marina at the south end of the lake. Canoe or kayak here and you'll soon know what I mean. Or try snorkeling in the coves, such as Potash, and discover the huge rocks left by glaciers. I'm sure you'll be amazed. Views of Mount Washington can be enjoyed as well as spectacular sunsets from the east side.
In the summer you'll see sailboats criss-crossing the lake, many manned by young sailors from the three residential camps, Camp Fernwood, Agassiz Village and Camp Kohut. Others are water skiing and tubing, trolling for fish, or touring on pontoon boats.
Boat rentals are available at Thompson Lake Marina. For a small fee, you can launch your boat from the marina. You'll also find DVD movie rentals, bait, lures, pizza, sandwiches and ice cream cones there, plus the Internet Dock. All the docks at the marina are "hot spots."
Thompson Lake is also a gem for anglers. The Maine Inland Fisheries monitors the lake and stocks landlocked salmon annually. You'll also find lake trout, cusk, and large and smallmouth bass. Good fishing areas for bass include the northern end of the lake and the Heath. Last summer there were five fishing tournaments on the lake.
Winter fishing is also good. Right now there's an ice fishing village at Pioneer Point by Agassiz Village. Just the other day, Scott Wright wrote on an ice shanty blog "I spoke with some guys that have fished between Abrams Point and McGuire Island. They said there was good ice and snowmobiles out there. They caught some good cusk on the bottom during the day along with some ok togue."
Keep in mind, though the ice is thick in some places, we haven't had a long-term deep freeze this winter and there are some unsafe looking areas on the lake. The shoreline is iffy as well.
One little bit of trivia to stick under your hat - in 1940 the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Dining Hall was completed at Agassiz Village and at that time it was the largest freestanding log cabin in the world.
With frequent sightings of wildlife such as loons, eagles, moose, deer, foxes and ducks, lots of trophy fish to catch, starlit nights, and no background noise, Thompson Lake may just be the next place you want to call home.
Here's a little local color via YouTube: Ice Shacks on Thompson Lake.
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