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Lake Zoar
Partially frozen Lake Zoar viewed from the Pomperaug Trail just south of Oxford Connecticut's Jackson Cove Town Park.
Partially frozen Lake Zoar viewed from the Pomperaug Trail just south of Oxford Connecticut's Jackson Cove Town Park.
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Location Fairfield and New Haven counties, Connecticut
Coordinates 41°23′18″N 73°10′39″W / 41.38833°N 73.17750°W / 41.38833; -73.17750
Type reservoir
Managing agency Lake Zoar Authority, 'FirstLight Power Resources'
First flooded 1919 (1919)
Max. length 10 miles (16 km)
Surface area 909 acres (368 ha)
Average depth 29 feet (8.8 m)
Max. depth 72 feet (22 m)

Lake Zoar is a reservoir on the Housatonic River in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It is formed by Stevenson Dam. The towns of Monroe, Newtown, Oxford, and Southbury border Lake Zoar.

The lake was created by flooding an area named "Pleasantvale" or "Pleasant Vale", which had been part of Oxford and Stevenson.

Lake Zoar Authority

The Lake Zoar Authority (LZA) is an organization for promoting safety on the lake and improving water quality. The members represent the four towns bordering the lake and meet on a monthly basis. Authority is granted through the Connecticut General Statutes, section 7-151a (of the 1969 supplement).



There is a speed limit of 45 mph (72 km/h) limit daytime, 25 mph (40 km/h) from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise. Vessels are prohibited from approaching within 300 feet (91 m) on upstream side or 700 feet (210 m) on downstream side of Stevenson Dam. Activities including fishing, water-skiing and jet skiing are permitted.


Each of the towns has a public access boat launch. The Southbury location is maintained by the state of Connecticut and is open to non-town residents. Additionally, there is canoe access from Kettletown State Park.

  • Monroe, Zoar Beach Boat Ramp.
  • Newtown, Eichler's Cove.
  • Oxford, Jackson Cove Park.
  • Southbury, at the end of Scout Road.

Sand Bar

The Sand Bar is an accumulation of sand close to the center of Lake Zoar. It is a popular meeting destination for all boaters alike. The depth of the water above the sand bar varies upon the generation schedule of "First Light Hydro Generation." The depth varies from 6 inches of water at its most shallow point to a foot before receiving. The area stretches about a quarter.


Lake Zoar is not stocked yearly with fish by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, but the Pootatuck and Pomperaug rivers feed into it are heavily stocked with trout, many of which eventually make their way into the lake.

Fish species

The lake contains the desirable Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, White Perch, Yellow Perch, Calico Bass (Black Crappie), White Catfish (Ictalurus catus), Brown Bullhead, Rainbow Trout, and the Common Carp.

PCBs and fish consumption

Most fish from Lake Zoar are generally considered safe to eat in moderation, with the exception of the Northern Pike. In a 2008 study by the United States Department of Health and Human Services Smallmouth Bass varied between 0.35 and 0.58 ppm, suitable for one meal per month. PCB levels in the lake have fallen considerably since the 1980s.

Invasive species

Four invasive plant species exist in the lake as of a 2007 study, including Eurasian watermilfoil, Brittle waternymph, Curly leaf pondweed, and European waterclover.

As with all the Housatonic River impoundments south of Bulls Bridge, Zebra Mussels have invaded and colonized Lake Zoar.


The Zoar Trail is a 6.5-mile (10.5 km) Blue-Blazed Trail in Newtown maintained by the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.

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