Housatonic River Reach 19

Last Updated: 4/2018
Lake Lillinonah
Lovers Leap State Park to Shepaug Dam


Lake Lillinonah
(The following was taken from the Lake Lillinonah Authority website.)
       Lake Lillinonah is located between the boundaries of Bridgewater, Brookfield, New Milford, Newtown, Roxbury and Southbury. Its headwaters being the Housatonic River in New Milford. The lake was formed in 1955 by Connecticut Light and Power for hydroelectricity. The land that was flooded to form Lake Lillinonah was virtually a canyon with extremely steep hills on all sides. These steep hillsides still exist about the water and rise 200 ft or more along the lake. From New Milford the extends 12 miles to the Shepaug Dam; covers 1900 acres; has 45 miles of shoreline; and has a maximum water depth of 110 feet.
      The shoreline of Lake Lillinonah is beautifully lined with primarily deciduous forests. Of the 45 miles of shoreline 43 are wooded. Lake Lillinonah is the winter home to as many as 40 Bald Eagles. The eagles have discovered that the tailrace below the Shepaug Dan is a good source for fish and feed here from November to March. The eagles roost along the steep shores of the lake. One of the major roosting areas is the west shore line of the Shepaug River branch on the lake 3 ½ miles from the dam.  For more information about the Eagles on Lake Lillinonah click here.
          The lake ranks as one of Connecticut’s premier fishing lakes with excellent Bass fishing. The Connecticut state record for Northern Pike was caught in Lake Lillinonah.  Lake Lillinonah ranks first in the state for bass growth rates and among the highest in the state for bass population densities. Lake Lillinonah is a hidden treasure that has become a true asset for the towns adjoining the lake, regional residents, and the state of Connecticut as a whole.


Skill Level:          Class 1 (wind can be a factor some days)
Estimated Time:   3.5 hours
Distance:            10.7 miles
Max Depth:       110 feet
Shore Length: 45 miles
Area: 1,547 to 1,900 acres (depending on level behind dam)
USGS Maps: New Milford, CT, Roxbury, CT, and Newtown, CT

Bathymetry Maps North to South:​​

1 - Bridgewater, New Milford, and Brookfield
2 - Bridgewater, Brookfield, and Newtown    
3 - Bridgewater, Roxbury, and Southbury     
4 - Bridgewater, Newtown, and Southbury    
Lake Lillinonah Authority 
        The Lake Lillinonah Authority is funded by the towns of Bridgewater, Brookfield, New Milford, Newtown, Southbury, and Roxbury to oversee environmental, safety and recreational needs of Lake Lillinonah.
         Meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month at the Brookfield Town Hall. If you would like to attend or find out more about the LLA, please contact just say for more information, you can contact the LLA at (203) 364-4002.
Learn more and get the latest news by clicking below:
[1] Lover Leap State Park Launch - Mile 41.4
Position: 41-32.52 N 73-24.10 W
Boat Launch:
The turn for access is unmarked. Park on the gravel road area above the launch.  Launch or Take-Out at the bottom of this uncared for gravel ramp.
Nearest Address: 
98 Lovers Leap Road, New Milford, CT 06776​
This launch would be difficult except for car top boats.
If you are not sure, look for this barn and house across the cove from the launch area.
[4] Hanover Road State Boat Ramp - Mile 33.7
Position: 41-27.59 N 73-19.49 W
Boat Launch:
Toilets: Chemical (Seasonal)
Parking Spaces: 60
Parking Surface: Dirt
Access Road Surface: Paved
Ramp Surface: Paved
Nearest Address: 
 160 Hanover Road, Newtown, CT 06470

State Boat Ramp
There is a large parking area with field.
Nice paved ramp for all types of boats.
[2] Bridgewater Town Park - Mile 40.2
Position: 41-31.52 N 73-24.02 W
Boat Launch:
Town Park located on the lake which has a maintained area to picnic, fish and launch small boats. There is plenty of Parking.
Nearest Address: 
Tappen Road, Bridgewater, CT 06752
This ramp is paved with a long approach and steep.  Use care.
Pagussett State Park
       Paugussett State Forest is a Connecticut state forest with two separate sections located on impoundments of the Housatonic River in the town of Newtown. The forest's Upper Block encompasses approximately 800 acres on the western shore of Lake Lillinonah. It offers boating access to the river and hiking on the blue-blazed Lillinonah Trail. The forest's Lower Block encompasses approximately 1,200 acres on the western shore of Lake Zoar and offers hiking on the blue-blazed Zoar Trail.
         For trail maps try the links below:
Upper Trail Map
Lower Trail Map
[3] Newtown Boat Ramp - Mile 34.25
Position: 41-28.28 N 73-19.95 W
Boat Launch:
In addition to a beautiful view of the lake, there are picnic tables, charcoal grills and the boat launch. There are portable bathroom facilities and parking. NO SWIMMING is allowed at the park, as boats pose too much danger. Open to Newtown residents only. Cars must display a current park permit in order to enter the park.
Nearest Address: 
212 Hanover Road, Newtown, CT 06470​

Boat Ramp Park
Plenty of parking for all kinds of vehicles and trailers.
Concrete boat ramp with loading dock.  Very professional.
[5] Shepaug Dam Portage - Mile 30.7 to 30.3
Take-Out Position: 41-27.01 N 73-17.75 W
Put-In       Position: 41-26.97 N 73-17.43 W
Nearest Address: 
 2120 R Road No 1, Southbury, CT 06488

       Total distances 0.33 miles.  Take out at the boat ramp located next to the dam on river left.  Follow the paved road down the hill to the main road.  Cross onto the grass and put in to the river at the concrete boat launch.