The Lamprey River is located in the southeastern part of the state. The river begins in Northwood, flows through Epping, Lee and Raymond and finally Newmarket. In Newmarket, the river meets an inlet that is part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Lamprey River Facts:
The part of the Lamprey River that begins in Epping at Bunker Pond Dam and ends at the Piscassic River is all part of the National Wild and Scenic River System.
Many years ago, dam and mills were crucial to the survival of the folks of Lamprey River. Most of the mills are gone but evidence of them still exists today.
As of 2011, there were four major dams that were still part of the river. The dam at Wadleigh Falls in Lee is breached but still a structure nonetheless. The Bunker Pond Dam at Folsom Falls in West Epping was removed. The other two dams: The McCallen Dam in Newmarket is a feature of downtown Newmarket and The Wiswall Dam in Durham provides drinking water for Durham as well as the University of New Hampshire.
The Lamprey River gets its name from the American Brook Lamprey. The American Brook Lamprey is a native freshwater fish that has no jaws and is at times referred to the “Lamprey Eel.” The Lamprey is part of the endangered species according to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. This is because Lampreys was used as a food source many years ago.
Lamprey River History:
The presence of people along the river can be traced back 10,000 years. Over the curse of time, the river has been a source of power for mills, fresh water, raw materials and food. Today, the river is a popular source for recreational opportunities. The Wiswall Falls Mill Site started off as a sawmill but then the site was utilized to make pitchforks, wallpaper, knives, matches and nuts and bolts.
Lamprey River Recreation:
Lamprey River is a popular recreation spot. They have local events such as several fishing derbies and the annual Lamprey River Canoe Race in Epping.
Fishing is another common pastime at the river. The river has a vast amount of fish and contains any type of stream and river fish imaginable.
Canoes and kayaks can be seen in vast numbers during the summer. There are a few rapids but for the most part, it is quiet and relaxing.