Every 5 years, there is a “draw down” of the lake so that people can work on docks and shorelines that normally are below water. The water will be VERY low by Columbus Day.The draw down allows people to do work on their docks and shorelines while preventing damage to the lake which would occur if the work was done “underwater” so it is a good thing. The problem is that it obviously affects boat traffic and makes getting to some shoreline properties or getting onto the lake from shoreline properties difficult. Many rocks that you would not normally hit are now in the range of propellers.
The State mandated water level schedule is included in the “water level” part of the website although it is at the bottom of the page so many people don’t know it is there. The part of the State mandate that requires the town of Wolfeboro to operate the dam in accordance with the 5 year draw down which states:
“Once every five years beginning on September 10, 1993, the water level is to be drawn down to 30.70 on the gauge by the following October 10 and held at that level until the following November 10 to permit repairs to lake shore properties and installations.”
This is one and a half feet lower than the normal winter level of 32.2 and two and a half feet lower than the normal level at Columbus Day which is 33.2. Two and a half feet makes a huge difference as to what rocks your boat can hit. At the same time, some people really enjoy seeing the shoreline in a different “mode”. However, making your plans for Columbus Day should include this water level. DON’T plan on taking your boat out then because it may be high and dry……
The keeper of the dam will try to keep the lake high as long as possible but there is only a certain rate at which the lake can be lowered by opening the sluice gate. Therefore, expect changes starting on the 10th of September and low lake by before Columbus Day. At the same time, if you need to do dock repairs or shoreline restoration, get your permits to do that work NOW if you haven’t already done so.
Note that after the 10th of November, the lake will be returned to its normal Winter level.