Located 20 minutes from the capital city of Augusta, 50 minutes north of Portland and an easy drive from Boston, is the 4,000-acre Androscoggin Lake.The classic New England villages of Wayne and Leeds border the lake's shoreline.
Androscoggin Lake is has been known to produce unusually large pickerel and bass, both small mouth and large mouth. Numerous fishing tournaments are held throughout the year. A state boat launch is located on Route 133 in Wayne.Several islands dot the lake including Lothrop, Blodgett, Norris and Androscoggin. Lothrop Island in Leeds is also known as Black Sand Island. According to the Seven Wonders of Wayne Web site produced by local elementary school students, "The sand on Black Sand Island is black because it's igneous rock that cooled underground instead of erupting like a volcano."
Two other KLT sites on the lake are worth visiting via canoe. Launch your boat at the state boat launch and paddle along the northern shore toward Androscoggin Boys Camp. Look for the KLT sign for the Perkins Woods Preserve. This is a 14-acre preserve with 2,700 feet of shoreline and wetland frontage. You can pull your boat up near the sign and explore the area. Paddle on the west side of the lake from the boat launch and you'll reach the Brackett-Longley Rare Plant Habitat in Leeds. This 40-acre habitat is best viewed from your boat.
The Androscoggin Lake Improvement Corporation (ALIC) has the mission to "preserve and protect Androscoggin Lake." The water quality is listed as below average. ALIC president Debbie Hite wrote in the 2009 newsletter that "Last year we saw the lake at its healthiest state in quite a while." The ALIC is actively working to protect and restore the ecosystem of Androscoggin Lake and the Dead River.
The Androscoggin Yacht Club is located just of Route 133 in Wayne. It's been in existence for 90 years and you don't need to own a boat to join. As a member you may enjoy the beach, swimming and sailing lessons, plus use of the club facilities.
There are endless opportunities for sportsmen and vacationers on Androscoggin Lake or in the Winthrop Lakes Region. Besides fishing and hiking, bird watchers may spot osprey, eagles, water fowl, Great Blue Heron, woodpeckers and numerous song birds. Bicyclists will enjoy riding the secondary roads in the area. The distance around the lake is roughly 28 miles; it's a scenic ride, but is sometimes challenging. Close by you'll find shopping centers, fine and casual dining, theater and entertainment, historical museums and more. One place you won't want to miss is Tubby's Own Ice Cream on the corner of Mill and Main Streets in Wayne. Tubby's was featured in Boston Magazine's Travel and Life 2006 as "New England's Best Ice Cream."
Alison Lincoln-Rich, Treasure of the ALIC, wrote in the 2009 newsletter, "For my family, this lake is an everyday joy. As I write this, seven kids are jumping off the dock, seeing who can dive the best or make the biggest cannonball. I hear fresh laughter from across the lake; I see docks and boats being put in daily. The flag is up on the yacht club point; the Stinchfield [beach] gate is being opened and closed daily. Summer is here. Be safe, have fun and enjoy this marvelous lake."
Norris Island in Wayne is one of the jewels of the Kennebec Land Trust (KLT). This 27-acre island is the largest in the lake and is available for both day use and camping. Camp permits are required. Two primitive sites and a rustic cabin may be reserved by contacting the Ladd Recreation Center.