Farmington River Reach 5
Lake McDonough

Last Updated: 6/2018
       Lake McDonough is the furtherest that the public is allow to have access on the East Branch of the Farmington River.  It is bordered to the north by Saville Dam (Mile 49.7 East) and to the south by the Lake McDonough Dam (Mile 47.3 East).

Barkhamstead Reservoir
      Saville Dam dam forms the Barkhamstead Reservoir and is the water supply for the greater Hartford area.  Access is not allowed.  Barkhamstead Reservoir northern end, mile 59.5 East, marks the beginning of the East Branch. This means it is a little under 10 miles long!  The MDC oversees Barkhamstead Reservoir, Lake McDonough, West Branch Reservoir, and Colebrook River Lake.

    Fishing by boat and from the shore is allowed from the second Saturday in April through Labor Day. Fishing from shore is also permitted through November 30.  Shore fishing is allowed from sunrise to 9:00PM.  Connecticut License required.
      Each spring the MDC and Connecticut DEEP stock Lake McDonough with brown trout, rainbow trout and brook trout. A wheelchair accessible fishing pier is located at the south end of Lake McDonough on Route 219, approximately two miles from the intersection of Route 44 in New Hartford Center.

Skill Level:            Class 1 - Flat water
Estimated Time:    3 hours
Total Distance:       8.5 miles
USGS Map: New Hartford, CT
Physical Features:
  • Area:               391.12 acres
  • Max depth:        45 feet
  • Average Depth:      feet
  • Transparency:        feet
  • Terrain Type: Wooded, No homes, backup water supply
  • Facilities:  Picnic Tables, Toilets, Guarded Beach, Boat Rental, Boat Ramp
Bathymetry Map
 Lake McDonough Boat Access - Mile 49.2 E
Position: 41-54.30 N 72-57.42 W
Altitude: 102 feet
Boat Launch:
Pay for access at the entrance and then turn left to The Boat House.  There is a paved boat ramp.

  • $6 a day per automobile (in state)
  • $15 a day per automobile (out of state)
  • $20 a day per van/bus with 8 to 45 passengers
  • $30 a day per van/bus with 45 or more passengers
  • Please be advised that if the number of passengers in any vehicle exceeds the maximum seat belt capacity, the vehicle may be denied access to the facility.  If admitted, the vehicle will be charged the “van/bus” fee of $20 per day.  
Parking Season Pass
  • $60 (weekdays only, for parking only – does not include boat launch)
Golden Eagle Parking Pass
  • Free for seniors 62 or older. (For parking only – does not include boat launch)
Personal Boat Launch Fee
  • $6 for power boats
  • $5 for non-power boats
Boat Rentals
  • $5 per hour for rowboats
Nearest Launch Address: 
{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2DStartFragment%2D%2D%3ELake McDonough Road, Barkhamsted, CT 06063{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2DEndFragment%2D%2D%3E
Put-In/Take-Out Directions ( 7.1 miles 12 minutes)
From the intersection of Route 44 and Route 8 in Winsted, CT
  1. Head southeast on South Main Street/Route 44 East.
  2. Continue on Route 44 East.
  3. At mile 3.6, turn left onto Route 318 East.
  4. Follow all turns for Route 318 East and cross Saville Dam.
  5. At mile 6.5, at the end of the dam, turn right onto Route 219 South.
  6. At mile 7.0, turn right at the gate seen below.
  7. Follow signs to The Boat House.
Turn off Route 219 and enter these gates.
The Boat House.  The have boat. rentals
Excellent boat ramp for all types of boats.
Lake McDonough
The Metropolitan District Hartford Connecticut
       East Beach is open weekdays from 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM and on weekends and holidays from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM.
        Public safety is a high priority at Lake McDonough. Lifeguards are Red Cross certified, first aid is available, and the area is patrolled by uniformed MDC police.  To have a safe and enjoyable time, please abide by the following Beach Rules and Regulations:
  • No alcoholic beverages are permitted.
  • Swimming is only permitted in areas with lifeguards.
  • Swimming from boats is prohibited.
  • If you do not know how to swim, do not go out in the water past your waist.
  • No swimming outside the roped in area.
  • No masks, flippers, snorkels etc. may be used.
  • MDC is not responsible for any objects that go past the roped in area.
  • Children under 12 years of age must be supervised at all times.
  • Only Coast Guard approved flotation devices are allowed.
  • Swimmers must stay off buoys and lines.
  • Fishing is not permitted in swimming area.
  • Sand or rock throwing, along with any other discourteous behavior, is not allowed.
  • No commercial vehicles, U-Hauls, box trucks or campers are allowed.
A view of East Beach!
Lake McDonough
State Pond Map