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Highland Lake

View Live data from the Highland Lake Buoy from May-November

Originally called Crotched Pond, Highland Lake stretches from downtown Bridgton up to the edge of Sweden. It has over 16 miles of shore frontage, two coves and numerous islands, which provide a variety of scenery and habitat to explore. Swimming, angling, water-skiing, sailing, rowing, wildlife watching and general relaxing are all common on the lake in the summer. In the winter, cross-country skiers, ice- fishermen and snowmobilers all enjoy the lake. It is also the center for many activities during Bridgton’s Winter Carnival.


Highland Lake is best suited to warmwater fish as the small amount of cool water present in the summer months is low in dissolved oxygen. Brown trout, however, are more tolerant of warm water than other salmonids and is heavily stocked in the lake. Other species found in the lake include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white perch, yellow perch, chain pickerel, hornpout, Eel, white sucker, minnows

  • Lake Surface

    1,334 acres
  • Watershed

    5,178 acres
  • Max. Depth

    50 feet
  • Elevation

    426 feet

Water Quality: 2022

The average Secchi disk reading for 2022 was 7.4 meters, which falls into the high clarity range. The average total phosphorus reading of 5.5 ppb falls into the moderate range. The average deep water phosphorus value was not significantly above surface water phosphorus values, which suggests phosphorus recycling is not problematic. The chlorophyll average of 2.0 ppb falls into the low range. Long-term trend analysis indicates chlorophyll concentrations in Highland Lake are decreasing, total phosphorus concentrations are decreasing, and clarity readings are increasing. The average color reading for 2022 was 26.8 SPU, indicating that water in Highland Lake is highly colored.

2022 Water-testing summary

Highland Lake’s surface water chlorophyll (ppb), phosphorus (ppb), and Secchi depth (meters) data comparison. Colored areas represent the long-term range of values, from minimum to maximum. Area thickness indicates frequency of measurements at that value. Area thickness increases as more measurements are reported at that value. The vertical black line represents the long-term average value. The large red dot represents 2022’s average value. The small red dots represent individual readings taken in 2022.

2022 average vs. long-term average

  • Clarity: Highland Lake's 2022 average water clarity was within the 'high clarity' range. Highland Lake's long-term clarity trend is increasing, indicating deeper clarity readings over time.
  • Chlorophyll: Highland Lake's 2022 average chlorophyll concentration was within the 'low' range. Highland Lake's long-term chlorophyll trend is decreasing, indicating that there is less chlorophyll in the water over time.
  • Phosphorous: Highland Lake's 2022 average phosphorus concentration was within the 'moderate' range. Deep water phosphorus values were not significantly above surface water phosphorus values indicating that phosphorus recycling was not an issue for Highland Lake in 2022. Highland Lake's long-term total phosphorus trend is decreasing, indicating less phosphorus in the water over time.

    Highland Lake Watershed Project

    The pri­mary pur­pose of this project was to sig­nif­i­cantly reduce ero­sion and export of sed­i­ment and phos­pho­rus into High­land Lake. This multi-year grant, which ended in 2008, installed con­ser­va­tion prac­tices that reduced ero­sion and pol­luted runoff at close to 40 sites through­out the water­shed. Roads, res­i­den­tial areas and pub­lic lands have all been addressed. Fixes included new veg­e­ta­tive buffer gar­dens, infil­tra­tion trenches, and road work designed to improve drainage and reduce wash-outs. Landown­ers who par­tic­i­pated in the project received fund­ing for up to 50 per­cent of the cost of the work done. The project also hosted a series of work­shops to raise aware­ness about water­shed prob­lems and work to fos­ter long-term water­shed stewardship.

    Highland Lake TMDL

    A TMDL is a detailed watershed report with land use information and phosphorus loading estimates for a specific lake. The acronym TMDL stands for “Total Maximum Daily Load” and for Maine lakes it is used as a tool to assess and reduce phosphorus loading from within the entire watershed. Working with the Maine Association of Conservation Districts and Maine Department of Environmental Protection, LEA  helped compile, organize and write a TMDL for Highland Lake. The non-regulatory reports are intended to serve as a platform for future implementation work and watershed planning. It can also be used to compliment comprehensive planning updates. In addition to the land use inventory and phosphorus loading estimates, the report contains water quality, fishery and soils information, a shoreline survey and recommendations for future best management practices in the watershed. The completed Highland Lake TMDL is available now and can be viewed online through the Maine DEP website at Highland Lake TMDL.

    Watershed Soils

    10 percent of soils in the watershed are type A soils. Type A soils tend to be well drained sands, loams, and gravels.  When vegetation is removed and the soil is exposed they can be susceptible to erosion. Because they are often coarse with ample pore space, there is low runoff potential and water will not usually pool on them.  These soils can be good places to site leach fields or infiltrate stormwater from a home or residence.

    8 percent of soils in the watershed are type B soils. B soils have moderate infiltration rates and fine to moderate texture and soil size. They are usually made up silts and loams. Although not as well drained as A soils, they can also be good places to site leach fields and infiltrate stormwater.

    59 percent of soils in the watershed are type C soils. C soils have low infiltration rates and typically have a layer that impedes the movement of water. These soils are made of sands, clays, and loams and are one of the most common soil types in western Maine.

    1 percent of soils in the watershed are type D soils. D soils have a high runoff potential and very low infiltration rates.  Soils with a high water table, clay or other impervious layer near the surface are typically D soils.  These soils are often associated with wetlands.

    1 percent of soils in the watershed are type C/D soils. C/D soils are a mix of these two soil types.  They have fairly high runoff potential and low infiltration rates and often pool water.

    The remaining 20 percent of the watershed is taken up by the lake.

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