Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan, the second largest Great Lake by volume with just under 1,180 cubic miles of water, is the only Great Lake entirely within the United States. Approximately 118 miles wide and 307 miles long, Lake Michigan has more than 1,600 miles of shoreline. Averaging 279 feet in depth, the lake reaches 925 feet at its deepest point. The northern tier of Lake Michigan is in the colder, less developed upper Great Lakes region, while its more temperate southern basin contains the Milwaukee and Chicago metropolitan areas. Lake Michigan is the 5th largest lake in the world.

Lake Michigan is bordered by Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. There are about 12 million people living along the shores of Lake Michigan.

There are many port cities situated around the lake and among the major ones are Chicago, Illinois, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Greenbay.


Lake Michigan has a moderate temperature averaging 15°C in July and August and can even reach 21°C when the air temperature is maintained at around 32°C for several days.

The water in the lake moves in a circular pattern and is very slow. The prevailing winds and the resulting waves help keep the lake from freezing, however, there were occasions where it was 90% frozen.

History and Formation

Lake Michigan was the result of two tectonic plates that were ripped apart, containing the Mid-Continental Rift which happened about 1.2 billion years ago.

The name of Lake Michigan came from the Ojibwe word michi-gami which means great water.

The first people that inhabited the Lake Michigan region were the Hopewell Indians, followed by the Woodland Indians. The first European to find Lake Michigan was Jean Nicolet, possibly around 1634-1638. He was supposed to find the Northwest Passage as ordered by French Explorer Samuel Chaplin but ended up discovering Lake Michigan instead.

More About Lake Michigan

The lake is also famous for its shipwreck, especially the remains of the steamer Westmoreland that sank on Dec 7, 1854. Its wreck was only discovered by a diver 155 years after it sank which, even after more than one and a half century, is still in an excellent condition. There are 12 marked shipwrecks in the Straits of Mackinac Underwater Preserve.

Lake Michigan has many beaches, many of which possess soft and off-white sands, also known as singing sands. There are beaches with sand dunes covered in beach grass and sand cherries. In the east shore of Lake Michigan is where the world’s largest freshwater sand dune system can be found.

There are many trout, salmon, walleye and smallmouth bass in the lake. There’s also crawfish, sea lamprey, and freshwater sponges. Aside from fishes, the lake is also where you can find a wide variety of birds. Ducks, geese, swans, crows, hawks, vultures and many others. Almost 100 species of fish have been recorded in Lake Michigan, besides its world-class trout and salmon fisheries, the lake also supports substantial commercial whitefish, walleye, large and smallmouth bass, steelhead and yellow perch fisheries. Lake Michigan Fishing Charters are your best and safest bet to enjoy an incredible Lake Michigan Fishing experience.