Lake Wicwas Overview

Introduction

This Welcome to Wicwas page is available as a brochure for printing, one page, front and back.

Lake Wicwas covers 328 acres bordered by forested conservation lands, marshes and residences.  The irregular shape and many islands contribute to its beauty and popularity with canoes, kayaks and sail craft.

Boating

Steamboat - August 2009

Steamboat – August 2009

The shallow depths and narrow passages between islands require powerboats and skiers to pay close attention to the rules of safe passage.

Launching ramp: The launching ramp is located on Chemung Rd.  It is mostly blacktop with gravel on one side.  A tow vehicle with 4-wheel drive is preferred, especially in the gravel.  We appreciate your help in maintaining the launch site by not power loading your boat onto the trailer.

N.H. Rule of Safe Passage: When passing within 150 feet of another boat, swimmer, or shore, you must be at headway speed, or 6 mph.

Reckless Operation: Any person who shall operate a power boat on any waters of the state in a careless manner so that lives and safety of another are endangered shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Jet Ski (Personal Watercraft): N.H. law prohibits personal watercraft use on this lake.  In N.H. “ski craft” means any motorized watercraft which is less than 13 feet, is capable of a speed of 20 mph, and has the capacity to carry the operator and one passenger.

Water Skiing: Skiers are required to wear a PFD (personal floatation devise).  For each skier the operator must have an observer over the age of 13. The skier is a part of the boat and must observe the 150-ft. rule of safe passage.

Hazards: Most of the rocks are marked, but we are still finding ones that we didn’t know existed.  Vertically floating logs are a threat to all power  boats.

Islands: The islands are private property.  Some of the owners grant permission for public use, but appreciate the courtesy of being asked.  They are not to be used as restrooms or trash receptacles.

Click here to read the “Boater’s Guide of New Hampshire,” a handbook of boating laws and responsibilities, from the NH Department of Safety.

Click here to read “Wakes on the lake,” how boat wakes affect other small boats and the shoreline.

Wildlife

Loon on Wicwas

Loon on Wicwas

We are fortunate to have a variety of wildlife that you may be lucky enough to see.

loons (protected) deer
herons moose
cormorants bear
ducks (do not feed) beaver
mink muskrat
Fish: Bass, pickerel, perch, horn pout, crappies

Loons:  Loons are an endangered species. Of all the waterfowl we have, loons are the ones that we wait for each spring.  When nesting they are extremely vulnerable.  High water may swamp the nest as can the wake of a boat.  Predators and humans can disturb the loons to the extent that they abandon the nest. The best policy is to leave them alone and observe with binoculars from a distance.

Ecology

Lake Wicwas is a shallow, warm water lake with a mud bottom. The flow of water is slow.  Weed growth is increasing.  At present Wicwas has weeds native to the lake.  We are aggressively looking for ways to prevent the invasion of dreaded milfoil and destructive zebra mussels.

Milfoil: This plant has become an invasive weed in many N.H. lakes.  Milfoil grows rapidly, up to an inch a day, and will form dense patches in up to 15 feet of water, making the area unusable for recreation. Milfoil reproduces primarily from fragmented stems of the parent plant, which root in a new location.  The segments can travel on boats and trailers.  Once it gets into a lake it is impossible to control.

  • Prevention is the only option available.
  • Please check your boats and trailers for weeds before launching.

Zebra Mussel: Zebras reproduce rapidly.  Each female can lay 1 million eggs a year.  These develop into microscopic free-swimming larva (veligers) that attach to weeds.  These quickly form shells and can clog motors and pipes.

If your boat has been in a lake or fresh water river within the last 10 days, please take these precautions.

  1. Inspect your boat for any weeds
  2. Flush the cooling system, bilge and live wells with tap water.
  3. Discard bait that has been may have contacted infested water.
  4. Let the boat dry for 48 hrs.
  5. If visibly fowled by algae, wash the hull with hot water (140 degrees F).  That will kill the zebra mussel.

Trash: Trash receptacles and restrooms are not available.  Please take your trash with you when you leave.

Fertilizer: N.H. Shoreline Protection Act made it illegal to use certain fertilizer within 250 feet of the lake. Even though lawns look great, the products needed for this lush green will produce green algae in the lake. Everything you add to soil will eventually wash into the water. Make it a goal to have a natural shoreline.

Septic Systems: Even the new systems are not perfect.  Nutrients are added to the ground water, which eventually wash into the lake. Have your system maintained and pumped on a 3-5 year schedule.

Washing:

  • Wash your boat on the trailer away from the lake.
  • Please don’t bathe yourself or your dog in the lake.

Burning: Burn brush and leaves away from the lake.  Nutrients remain after burning and find their way into the lake and support weed growth.

Enjoy!

We hope that you share our enjoyment of this scenic place.  It is a quiet lake with a nice balance of wildlife and human critters.

Fortunately, we have had owners of large parcels of land who preserved the undeveloped quality of the lake by placing their land in Conservation Trust, for all to enjoy.

We thank them.

This information is intended to be a guide, not a complete representation of the law. It is meant to represent the essence of information available regarding state safety regulations and general ecology of this lake.  For additional information visit the state law library and state agencies listed below.

MANY THANKS TO

  • New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Volunteer Lake Assessment Program for the wealth of information and permission to use it.
  • Jody Connors, Limnology Center Director
  • Amy Smagula, Exotic Species Program Director
  • Squam Lakes Association for inspiration and guidance.
  • N.H. Boaters Guide for summarizing the laws of safe boating.

Prepared by
Lake Wicwas Association, Inc., P.O. Box  325, Meredith, NH 03253

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