Next to the benthic and pelagic compartments, the epiphyton of submerged macrophytes may offer an additional niche for ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in shallow freshwater lakes. In this study, we explored the potential activities and community compositions of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria of the epiphytic, benthic, and pelagic compartments of seven shallow freshwater lakes which differed in their trophic status, distribution of submerged macrophytes, and restoration history. PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses demonstrated that the epiphytic compartment was inhabited by species belonging to cluster 3 of the Nitrosospira lineage and to the Nitrosomonas oligotropha lineage. Both the ammonia-oxidizing bacterial community compositions and the potential activities differed significantly between compartments. Interestingly, both the ammonia-oxidizing bacterial community composition and potential activity were influenced by the restoration status of the different lakes investigated.