Lake Champlain Information

Lake Champlain is situated in the Lake Champlain Valley between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondack Mountains of New York.   Bill McKibben, in his book Wandering Home, writes  "To me this country on either side of Lake Champlain, though it has no name and appears on no map as a single unit, constitute one of the worlds great regions. It is a place more complete and more full of future promise than any other site in the American atlas."
Lake Champlain flows northward into the  Richelieu River and then to the St. Lawrence River at Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, northeast and downstream of Montreal.  Lake Champlain also receives the waters from the 32 mile (51 km) long Lake George. The Champlain basin collects waters from the northwestern slopes of the Green Mountains of Vermont, the north and west slopes of the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, and the eastern peaks of the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. The area of the basin is  8,234 sq. miles (21,326 sq. kms).
The lake drains nearly half of  The State of Vermont, much of the eastern side of the Adirondacks in New York, and a small portion of southern Quebec. New york refers to it as "The Adirondack Coast".
About 250,000 area residents get their drinking water from the lake.

The lake is fed by Otter Creek, the Winooski, Missisquoi, and Lamoille Rivers in Vermont, and the Ausable, Chazy, Boquet, and Saranac rivers in New York. Lake Champlain also receives water from Lake George,via the La Chute River which empties into the lake at Ticonderoga.

At its southern end, Lake Champlain is connected to the Hudson River by the Champlain Canal.


The 2000 United States and Canadian census data recorded 571,000 people living in the Champlain Basin.   The population of the Basin has been growing at an average of 1.2% per year for the last 40 years.   The population density of the Basin is 73 people per square mile.

Approximately one third of the Basin’s residents use the Lake as a source of drinking water.

Lake Champlain flows north into the Richelieu River and on to the St. Lawrence River, but during the Ice Age it flowed south, emptying into the Hudson River.

 Vermont and New York have a reciprocal fishing program, enabling fishing license holders to fish the majority of Lake Champlain with only one license.

Besides humans, the Lake's ecosystem includes about 91 species of fish, 312 species of birds, 56 species of mammals, 21 species of amphibians, and 20 species of reptiles.  12 bird species are listed by New York, Vermont and/or the federal government as endangered or threatened.

Lake Champlain has 12 lighthouses, 45 marinas, and over 50 boat launches with lake access.        Nonpoint pollution sources are estimated to account for about 90% of the total phosphorus load to Lake Champlain, with point sources contributing the remaining 10%.

8,234 square miles (21,325 km ), about the size of New Jersey.  56% of the Basin lies in Vermont, 37% in New York, and 7% in Quebec.

LENGTH AND DEPTH OF THE LAKE                                                  

120 miles (193km) flowing North from Whitehall, NY to the Richelieu River in Quebec. 12 miles (19km) at the widest point.  Average depth is 64 ft with the deepest part being over 400ft.  Water levels fluctuate in response to  precipitation, temperature, and runoff.  
Mean annual level is 95.5 feet. The normal annual variation between low and high water is about 6 feet.  In May 2011 a record of 103.2 feet above sea level was reached.
435 square miles, and 587 miles (945km). 
ISLANDS:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Over 70 islands, the largest being Isle La Motte. 
Tributaries that drain the basin contribute more than 90% of the water which enters Lake Champlain. In New York: the Great Chazy, Saranac,  Ausable and Boquet Rivers;   In Vermont: the Missisquoi, Lamoille, Winooski and LaPlatte Rivers, and Otter Creek.
AVERAGE WATER VOLUME                                                                                                                                                                                                                 6.8 trillion gallons (25.8 cubic kilometers).
Average temperature ranges from 18F in January, to 71F in July.                Precipitation ranges from 30"(76cm) in the valley, to 50"(127cm) in the mountains.
Averages from 150 days in the Champlain Valley to 105 days in the higher altitudes .