Difference between lake and pond

From a regulatory point of view, there is no dissimilarity between a lake and a pond. Both are surface waters of the state and contain the same quality water based on their geographical location. There is no accurate dissimilarity between them from a naming convention, even though water bodies named “lakes” are usually more significant as well as more profound than water bodies named “ponds.” However, if we see from an ecological viewpoint, then there exists a difference between the two. This dissimilarity, however, is somewhat random and not dependable or clear-cut.

Regulatory: Difference between lake and pond

The water quality of all the surface waters, including all lakes and ponds, is controlls through precise laws (RSA 485-A) and rules (Env-Ws 1700). These laws and regulations make no clear division among lakes and ponds. Both of them must meet all the same water quality standards.


  • Both terms “lake” and “pond” are taken as a part of a waterbody’s name and not based on any specific naming resolution. In broad-spectrum, lakes are perceived larger and more profound as compared to ponds, but many examples show that “ponds” are more significant and more profound than “lakes.” Take the example of Echo “Lake” in Conway. It is distributed on 14 acres in surface area with a maximum depth of 11 feet, while if we observe Island “Pond” in Derry, we find that it has nearly 500 acres and 80 feet depth. 
  • Names for lakes and ponds usually originated from the early colonizers living near them. Many generations have changed names through the years, often changing from a pond to a lake with no alteration in size or depth. Habitually the purpose of these variations in the name was to make the area sound more striking to prospective home buyers. Many examples of ponds now calls lakes, such as Mud Pond or Mirror Lake in Canaan. 


  • Limnology is the study of inland waters. The total water of the surface divided into lotic and lentic water. Lotic waters flow in a continuous and definite direction, whereas lentic waters do not flow in a continuous and definite direction. 
  • Waters within the lentic category gradually evolve to create a lake to pond to wetland. However, this evolution prolongs and gradual. Therefore, there is no exact and detailed difference between the definitions of lakes and ponds.
  • Early limnologists argued that Area, depth, or both are a vital part. Some said that a lake is a body of water. That is too much that it thermally stratified into two or three layers. When there is an intemperate rise. Others used plant growth to define ponds. They argued that a pond is shallow enough. That sunlight can go towards the bottom and helps plants to grow there. 
  • However, some evidence shows that ponds are shallow enough to support growing or floating-leaved rooted plants throughout. 
  • Limnologists today know that it is impossible to divide nature into precise. Neat categories, and there is a need to accept that there will never be a precise definition. Yet, they also distinguish that “deep” lakes and ponds function differently than “shallow” lakes and ponds. And they discuss them as two separate water bodies. 

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