The Smart Report: Ice-In 2020, Ice-Out 2021

Freedom—November 20, 2020—Ossipee Lake should be about five weeks from total ice cover, and about five months from total ice-out in early April, 2021.

The good news is that there is no ice so far this year, except the dog’s outside water bowl has been ice-covered each morning for the last two days. My grandson beached and flipped over his rowboat for the last time earlier this week. He could no longer power through to the big lake because of low water.

I talked with the people in Concord this morning. Work continues on the removal of the old north side dam and sand bank level of 405′. The lake level has been down to about 404.2′ for the past several weeks, but jumped up a few inches because of recent rain.

The winter level plan is 404.2′, and for now is being regulated by the old south side dam with manual gates constructed by the Maine Power Company in the late 1800s. This is the same procedure used for final winter drawdown ever since.

The north side “Berry Bay” dam on the “Great Ossipee River” has a shore height of 405′ that will be lowered as part of the new dam project.

Bob Smart


  1. Bill Winter 4 years ago November 21, 2020

    I was wondering what the shore height of 405′ on the north side dam means? Was the old dam only capable of lowering the lake to 405′ if all the stop logs were removed. Is it true the old gatehouse constructed in the late 1800s will continue to be used to control the summer level instead of using the new dam which can be controlled from Concord?

    • David Smith 4 years ago November 24, 2020

      Bill, this is from Bob Smart: Answer to his first question is that with the old north side dam the lakeshore level was always 405′. To drop the lake level lower, the south side dam (late 1800s structure) was opened manually, one gate (there are 5) at a time. The level could then be drawn down to less than 404′. And this is what is being done today until the new dam has been tested. Re: the second question: I have not had a conversation with Concord on the future of the old, south side dam but hope they leave it in place (after fixing the hole in the catwalk) just because it is a fun and easy place to visit.

  2. Bill Winter 4 years ago November 24, 2020

    Thank you David and Bob for your feedback.
    It looks like the south side gatehouse will be around for quite a while so as to make minor summer adjustments. I agree and hope they leave it accessible so we can continue to visit the area.


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