best boating lakes in michigan

The 6 Best Boating Lakes in Michigan (Winter’s Wonderland)

Of all the states in the US, Michigan, nicknamed the “Wolverine State” and “Winter Wonderland,” is arguably the best state when it comes to fishing, boating, and other aquatic adventures. The name “Michigan” is derived from the concept of “large water” or “large lake,” so there is no doubt that ever since its discovery, the state of Michigan has been known for its underwater advantages. In this guide, we will walk you through the absolute best boating lakes in Michigan.

Another fun water-based fact about this state is that, in some form or another, it houses four of the five Great Lakes in the United States. Whether you are looking to take a trip to Michigan solo, with friends, or with family, the following destinations we will be mentioning should definitely be on your radar.

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1. Lake Huron

lake huron

Lake Huron is one of the five Laurentian Great Lakes in North America (the first of four in this list). The term “Huron” was attributed to what French explorers called the people who were local to the area.

This lake has a surface area of roughly 23,000 square miles, an averaged depth of approximately 190 feet, and a maximum depth of 750 feet.

As a tourist attraction and destination, the question that should be asked regarding Lake Huron is “what cannot be done here?”

Lake Huron offers the following facilities, amenities, and experiences:

  • Lighthouses
  • Charter fishing
  • Shipwreck tours
  • Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center
  • Interactive exhibits
  • Kayaking
  • Scenic treks
  • State parks
  • Casual and fine dining
  • Hotel accommodations and inns
  • Campsites
  • Watersports
  • Boating

There are hundreds of aquatic flora and fauna found in Lake Huron. The most notable fish species that are caught here are the following:

  • Lake trout
  • Salmon
  • Walleye
  • Northern pike
  • Steelhead
  • Sturgeon
  • Bloater
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Yellow perch

2. Lake Superior

lake superior

Lake Superior is one of the five Laurentian Great Lakes in North America (the second on this list). An alternative name for this lake is Gichi-gami (Ojibwe origin) which roughly translates to the “Great Sea.”

The reported surface area for this lake is 31,700 square miles, with an average depth of approximately 483 feet and a maximum depth of roughly 1,300 feet.

There are several tourist spots and attractions in and around Lake Superior, including the following:

  • Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
  • State parks
  • Lakeshores
  • Nature tours
  • Murals
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Lighthourses
  • Waterfalls

Just like the previous entry, Lake Superior is home to several aquatic species. In terms of fish species, the following are the most commonly caught:

  • Lake trout
  • Walleye
  • Lake sturgeon
  • Muskellung
  • Burbot
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Brook trout
  • Lake whitefish
  • Northern pike
  • Yellow perch
  • Coregonus artedi

3. Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is yet another Great Lake and is the third one so far on this list. It is the second-largest in terms of volume and is shared by Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.

According to surveyors, Lake Michigan has a surface area of roughly 22,400 square miles, an average depth of approximately 280 feet, and a maximum depth of 923 feet.

There is a lot of ground to cover as a tourist when you are visiting Lake Michigan. The following are the most noteworthy spots to keep an eye on.

  • Ferry trips
  • Over a dozen islands to visit
  • Over thirty state parks
  • Sandy beaches
  • Nature tours
  • Hiking treks
  • Fishing areas
  • Marinas
  • Inns and hotels

The fish species that frequent the waters of Lake Michigan are the following:

  • Bowfin
  • Largemouth bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Lake trout
  • Yellow perch
  • Steelhead
  • Brown trout
  • Walleye
  • Coho salmon
  • Chinook salmon

4. Lake Erie

lake erie michigan

Lake Erie is the final Great Lake on this list and is the fourth largest in terms of volume.

This lake has a surface area of roughly 9,900 square miles, an average depth of approximately 60 feet, and a maximum depth of 210 feet.

This destination is a major attraction not just in terms of tourist visits, but also in terms of economic opportunities such as fishing, travel, and agriculture.

As for tourism, here are a few of the several things you can look forward to when visiting Lake Erie:

  • Hosting exclusive events
  • Island tours
  • Marinas
  • Hotels and Inns
  • Campsites
  • Watersports
  • Dinner cruises
  • Vineyard and winery
  • State park
  • Bicentennial Tower visit
  • Lighthouse tours

Here is a list of catchable fish species in this area:

  • Brown trout
  • Common carp
  • Alewife
  • Walleye
  • Rainbow trout
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Bigmouth buffalo
  • Rainbow smelt

5. Torch Lake

torch lake

If you would like to step away from gigantic bodies of water, allow us to introduce to you Torch Lake, Michigan’s longest inland lake (but definitely not as huge as any of the Great Lakes).

This lake has a reported surface area of roughly 18,700 acres, an average depth of approximately 110 feet, and a maximum depth of 285 feet.

This destination is a cozy and serene water-based location and offers the following experiences:

  • Pontoon boat rental
  • Resorts
  • Breweries, wineries and distilleries
  • Fine dining
  • Nature tours
  • Nightlife estabilishments
  • Biking
  • Kayaking
  • Fishing
  • Theme parks
  • Golf courses

As for fish species, here are a few of the most significant ones that come up:

  • Muskellunge
  • Lake trout
  • Rock bass
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Yellow perch
  • Atlantic salmon
  • Rainbow trout
  • Brown trout
  • Steelhead

6. Higgins Lake

higgins lake

Another lowkey lake worth looking into that made the cut is Higgins Lake, a fishing and recreational destination located in Roscommon County, Michigan.

Known for its clear and deep waters, this lake has a surface area of 9,600 acres, an average depth of 44 feet, and a maximum depth of approximately 135 feet.

As a tourist destination, Higgins Lake has you covered. The following facilities and services are offered:

  • Golf courses
  • Skiing
  • State parks
  • Canoeing
  • Dining
  • Distilleries
  • Marina
  • Boating
  • Fishing

The prominent fish species that can be found in Higgins Lake’s waters are the following:

  • Brook trout
  • Brown trout
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Rock bass
  • Yellow perch

Conclusion

It is clear that when it comes to lakes, tourist attractions, and bodies of water, Michigan is a state that will never disappoint. Even if we were to take away the four great lakes from our list above, tourists and vacation planners would still have plenty of viable destinations to choose from.

We may even have to state that in terms of aquatic flora and fauna, the best boating lakes in Michigan have the best, richest, and most diverse ecosystems of any state in North and South America, but we shall set that discussion for some other time. If you are planning to visit Michigan soon by yourself, with friends, or with family, then keep this guide bookmarked so you would have something to review when the day comes.

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