38 Lake Farm Circle, Jefferson ME 04348 | (207)549-3836 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Recreation in the Watershed
Relax, invigorate, rest and energize in the Damariscotta Lake Watershed. Opportunities await you in and around our lake! A four-season area, this watershed abounds in activities all year long. In summer, lake users include swimmers, fishermen and a wide variety of boating enthusiasts. Viewing of summer wildlife is also very diverse; as eagles, Canada geese, loons, ducks, osprey, beavers and even an occasional moose populate our shores and waters. In the fall, brightly colored trees reflected in the lake provide an aesthetic wonder for those boating, fishing, hiking or birding. Spring brings the exciting adventure of the annual alewife run at Damariscotta Mills. To complete the year's activities, the watershed is a wonderful place for ice-skating, ice boating, ice fishing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter season.
In the midst of all this activity and enjoyment, as the bright sun showers iridescent sparkles on the deep blue water of summer or on the crisp white snow of winter, we are reminded of the precious gift of this lake and watershed. Thus, we must pledge to use this endangered resource with care and respect.
Below you will find some suggestions for other local recreation opportunities within the watershed, including the following:
DLWA maintains several public-access trails within the watershed. More information can be found by visiting our "Lands Conservation" pages. Stop by our office for trail maps or download them from this website.
The Davis Stream Nature Trail is a short interpretive loop near to the Jefferson Grange that follows the floodplain of the Davis Stream.
Along the Mountain Road, DLWA maintains the larger West Branch Preserve where avid hikers can spend an hour or a whole day traversing the various trail segments. There are a total of around eight miles of hiking and multi-use trails in the West Branch Preserve. Trails traverse a variety of forest and field ages and types; follow a beautiful rocky section of the West Branch of Davis Stream; and visit a beaver meadow, old mill site, and other interesting features. The multi-use trails are groomed for cross country skiing and snowmobiling.
DLWA also owns the Spectacle Island Preserve in the South Arm of the Damariscotta Lake, open to respectful, Leave-No-Trace camping and picnicking.
Please note that seasonal hunting is permitted on most DLWA preserves and dress accordingly with blaze orange in-season.
Please respect wildlife and the preserves to ensure their enjoyment by all.
Small town traditions and happenings provide mouth-watering feasts and exhilarating events for us all to enjoy. Bite into that crispy, savory chicken at the Jefferson Barbecue or spoon into several of those ravishing strawberry shortcakes at the Bunker Hill Strawberry Festival and you'll return next year for more treats. Perhaps you prefer more active participation in Watershed activities; if so, join in the Jefferson Day's road race.
Arrive at Damariscotta Mills in May to view the annual return of thousands of alewives as they swim up the fish ladder from Damariscotta River to Damariscotta Lake. (Route 215). Alewives spend most of their lives in salt water, but reproduce in fresh water. It is not known how they recognize which stream to choose in order to return to the fresh water lake where they were born. However, at sexual maturity some instinct allows them to arrive back in Damariscotta Lake to spawn.
As evidenced by the significance of its Native American Nomenclature meaning, "place of an abundance of alewives", the Damariscotta Lake region has provided an important natural resource for its inhabitants.
In 1807, legislation was passed requiring that the towns of Nobleboro and Newcastle keep an open passageway between the Damariscotta River and the New River Stream, which runs out of Damariscotta Lake. From the early 1800s until 1950, the alewives, which were harvested each year for smoking or pickling, were consumed locally or in the wider world market. From 1950 until 1992, most alewives were used as lobster bait. However in 1992, when the alewife population dwindled badly, the towns responsible legislated an eight- year moratorium on catching the alewives during their assent each spring.
Since 1807, the original construction of the fish ladder has been reconfigured and restored as needed. In 1995, because of eroded construction in the passageway, members of the Friends of the Alewives, the DLWA, the DRA and individuals joined together to restore the ladder. Each spring, further repairs must be made to ensure the safe conduct of the Alewives to their destination, Damariscotta Lake.
Two facilities provide easy access into Damariscotta Lake for fishermen and boaters. On Bunker Hill Road/Route 213, the Maine State Boat Ramp provides access. A second launch site offered by the Town of Nobleboro is located at the causeway on the Vannah Road. To insure safe boating, please visit the State of Maine Boating Facilities website and also take some time to review the meaning of the Navigation Aids you will find on Damariscotta lake.
Navigation maps of Damariscotta Lake are available at the DLWA office at 38 Lake Farm Circle in Jefferson. The maps are 12 by 18 inches, are laminated for waterproofing and durability and are available for $12.
At this time, the waters of Davis Stream and Damariscotta Lake still provide enough nutrients and oxygen to maintain a variety of fish species. In winter, a variety of icehouses on the lake provide shelter for fishermen intent on catching bass and trout. During the summer season, Davis Stream is a popular spot for fishermen who hope to land a bass (large or small mouth), perch (white or yellow) or pickerel. In addition to these species, the deeper, colder waters of Damariscotta Lake offer the perfect environment for landlocked salmon.
The lake is also home to lake and brown trout as well as to catfish and eels. Weighing in at several pounds, the average trout or salmon is usually 15-20 inches long. There are several Bass Tournaments on the lake each summer. For information concerning these tournaments, call the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife at 287-8000 or visit their website.
The Davis Stream in Jefferson is also navigable upstream for a couple miles and is a scenic, pleasant canoe or kayak paddle meandering through a hardwood flood plain forest (2-3 hour trip).Note to boaters: There is a DEP Surface Use Restriction in 2012 prohibiting boat traffic on the Davis Stream north of the Jefferson General Store, due to the presence of the invasive aquatic weed HYDRILLA.
Crisp, sunny days enable our watershed residents to participate in those invigorating winter outdoor activities for which Maine is so famous. Especially in January and February when the ice is sufficiently frozen, a lake free of snow provides a mammoth rink for skaters, ice-boaters and ice fishermen. If snow covers the ice, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers share the open terrain. The trail at Dodge Point in Newcastle doubles as a walking path and cross-country trail and DLWA's West Branch Preserve is also groomed for cross-country skiing. Contact DLWA Office at 549-3836 for more skiing information.
A local snowmobile club, the SnoPackers, has been formed to maintain a 75-mile trail system in Jefferson and Nobleboro. The club offers group rides, a club event (radar runs) on Damariscotta Lake and a club trip in late January or February dependent on ice and snow conditions. For further information about the snowmobile club, contact Joe Bodnar at 549-3253.
Located on the northeastern corner of Damariscotta Lake off Route 32 in Jefferson, Damariscotta Lake State Park Beach provides opportunities for picnicking, swimming, boating and summer beach activities. During the winter months, iceboats and ice fishing vehicles are launched from the beach area. Formerly a privately owned public beach, the area was appropriately named Crescent Beach because of its curved shape. Purchased between 1968 and 1972 by the State of Maine, primarily for local and regional use by the State of Maine, this 19.2-acre beach area now provides improved facilities and seasonal opportunities for both residents and visitors. Call 549-7600 (June, July, August) or 941-4014 (off season).