The sun rises and sets on this lake, on the rocks and trees, on the boat houses and their invisible, wholly palpable histories, and on the water itself, on the looming, leafy greens, on the bridge, the darting insects, and on the splash of fish.
— Peggy Johnson, Chocorua Lake Crankie

Chocorua Lake is located in the town of Tamworth, New Hampshire, near Albany and Madison.

It is located along Route 16 in the Ossipee Lake watershed just south of the White Mountain National Forest. Most of Chocorua Lake is quite shallow with an average depth of 12 feet and a maximum depth of 27 feet.

Thanks to the efforts of the Chocorua Lake Conservancy over the past 50 years, about 95% of the Chocorua Lake watershed is now protected through conservation covenants and easements which have preserved wooded buffers around the lake. In the early 1970s, the CLC persuaded the NH State Legislature to ban all motorboats from Chocorua Lake and successfully defended that ban in 1998. In 2001, the CLC was awarded a “Conservation Award of the Year” by the Carroll County Conservation District for our work on the “Berms & Swales” project, which resulted in a 92% reduction in phosphorus runoff into the lake.

 
Fly Fishing on Chocorua Lake. Photo: Thad Berrier

Fly Fishing on Chocorua Lake. Photo: Thad Berrier

 

Based on recent water quality testing, Chocorua Lake is classified as an “oligotrophic lake.” Oligotrophic lakes are pristine and ideal for swimming and trout fishing. Such lakes are characterized by high water clarity, low nutrient concentrations, minimal levels of aquatic plant “weed” growth, and low algae concentrations. The CLC has been tracking the water quality in Chocorua Lake since 1978 in partnership with the UNH Center for Freshwater Biology.

 
 

Visitors and local residents encounter no billboards or other commercial signs along this three-mile stretch of Route 16, nor do they see any houses along the shores of Chocorua Lake. Those who go boating on the lake can hardly see the structures around it—all houses and a few summer bath houses are set well back from the shore by common consent.

 
Photo: Alex Moot

Photo: Alex Moot

 

At the south end of the lake is the much-photographed Narrows Bridge, and downstream from that is the Little Lake. Mount Chocorua (3,490 ft) dominates the views from the Narrows Bridge and from the highway.

The CLC provides visitors with public access to Chocorua Lake at locations: a three-acre area known as the “Grove” at the south end of the lake, and a 17-acre area known as the “Island” on the east side of the lake. The CLC also maintains a “Tamworth Resident Only” area a quarter mile north of the Island.

Third and Fourth Lakes viewed from the dam.

Third and Fourth Lakes viewed from the dam.

Chocorua Lake is about a mile in length and a half a mile across at its widest part and covers just over 220 acres. Adding Little Lake and Third and Fourth Lakes brings the total area to about 265 acres. The main inflow into the lake is the Chocorua River from the north, which drains the south side of Mount Chocorua. Stratton Brook flows into the west side of the lake. The Chocorua Lake Basin watershed is 13.2 square miles of mostly protected forest.

Every winter, the Tamworth Outing Club hosts sled dog races on Chocorua Lake and the surrounding hills. First run in 1937, the Tamworth Sled Dog race is the oldest sprint dog sled race in the country. 

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