Lake Erie is the 10th largest freshwater lake on Earth, and one of the five Great Lakes. Lake Erie has a surface area of 9,940 square miles and an average depth of 62 feet, with a maximum depth of 210 feet and is the fourth largest among the Great Lakes when measured in surface area. While it’s the warmest of the great lakes, it’s also the one who freezes more than the others.
Lake Erie is primarily fed by the Detroit River (from Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair) and drains via the Niagara River and Niagara Falls into Lake Ontario. Lake Erie anglers target Walleye, Smallmouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Rainbow Trout, Steelhead and White Bass, with Walleye fishing being some of the best in the world.
It’s bound by four US states – New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and of course, Michigan. Aside from these four states, it’s also bound by the province of Ontario in the Canadian territory.
The name Erie was derived from the name erielhonan, which means “long tail” in Iroquian. This is due to the fact that Lake Erie has a tail-like shape. Islands can be found in the lake. There are a total of 31 islands in Lake Erie, 18 of which are in the United States while 13 in Canada.
The weather in Great Erie is mostly warm. This is due to the fact that it’s located in the southernmost position. The average temperature in the lake during the summer ranges from 21°C to 24°C, which are generally low and what makes it a popular summer recreational area for many.
During the winter season, there’s a very high chance the lake freezes over. And because it’s the shallowest of all the lakes, it freezes the most compared to the other Great Lakes. The lake effect snow also has a significant impact on the surrounding communities.
Another thing to note about this lake is the strong waves that can occur from time to time. Because the lake’s water level is very shallow, which are around 25-30 feet in the shallowest areas, strong winds can whip up really strong waves. There are dramatic rescue incidents that occurred in the lake due to this phenomena.
History and Formation
Lake Erie was formed when a moving glacier iced carved the land. It’s relatively young – less than 4,000 years old – a short time in geographic scale.
Long before the Europeans came into contact, there are already several native people living in the lake’s shoreline which includes the Erie tribe and Iroquois. It was the last Great Lake explored by Europeans. Frenchman Louis Joliet was the first European to discover the Lake in 1669, though it’s believed that there’s a person who saw the lake earlier than him in 1615, which was Étienne Brûlé.
In 1999, there occurred a mayfly invasion which was seen as a sign that the lake was once again rejuvenated and back to a healthy and balanced nature.
More About Lake Erie
Lake Erie is popular among fishermen because of its extensive walleye fishery, ice fishing, and smallmouth bass. There’s also a legendary lake monster called Bessie, which was believed to be nothing more than a huge sturgeon.
Lake Erie Public Boat Ramps
- Bolles Harbor Marina – Off Lake Dr. in Monroe Township
- Dixie Highway – Off North Dixie Hwy. in Berlin Township
- Elizabeth Park – Off W. Jefferson Ave in Trenton
- Halfway Creek – Off Algonquin Street in Erie Township
- Harrison Ave. Riverfront Boat Launch – Off Harrison Ave in Trenton
- Huron River Mouth – Off Point Moullie Rd. in Brownstown Township
- Lake Erie Metro Park – Off Young Dr. in Brownstown Township
- Luna Pier Boat Launch – Off S. Harold Dr. in Luna Pier
- Sterling State Park – Off State Park Rd. in Frenchtown Township