Au Train Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Upper Peninsula -

Au Train Lake, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, was of historical significance long before Europeans reached the area. Located only five miles south of Lake Superior, the Au Train River offered water access to Au Train Lake and facilitated the southbound canoe portage trail between Lakes Michigan and Superior following the Au Train and Whitefish Rivers. The area that was to become Au Train Village just north of the lake had seen occasional short-term visits from European explorers since the mid-1700s. Settlement began when the Detroit, Mackinac and Marquette Railroad was built through the area and was officially founded in 1881. The name Au Train is based on the french word ‘trainerant’, meaning to drag. The river dumped so much sand into Lake Superior at its outlet that adventurers following the shoreline in their canoes found it easier to just get out and drag them across the sandbars. For a time, Au Train Village was a dog-team stop on the winter Upper Peninsula mail route.

As first iron ore mining and then lumbering populated the area, Au Train Lake soon became a favored spot for summer cottages. A great many Finnish immigrants settled in the area, working the logging and mining interests. The Au Train River allowed logs to be floated to Lake Superior for transport by ship. As mining and timber interests from Detroit and points south came to handle industry business, they discovered the beautiful 839-acre lake and soon developed much of the western shore. Lake Superior, due to its depth, remains quite cold for swimming, but the shallower waters of Au Train Lake were much more hospitable to summer activities. With an average depth of 12 feet, it warms quickly and encouraged the development of the resort camps on the lake. There are at least five camps in existence today, with many more private rental facilities available through local realtors.

Fishing is the main event for the visitor to Au Train Lake. Known for big walleye and northern pike, the lake also sports smallmouth bass, bluegills, perch and rock bass for the less adventurous angler. Ice fishing is a populuar winter sport, and most resorts stay open year round. Canoe, kayak, and boat rentals are available for visitors who don’t bring their own watercraft. For the novice big-game angler, inland charter tours will practically assure that you fish the best spots and come back with bragging rights. Resorts in the area realize a family vacation isn’t peaceful if the kids are bored, and provide activities to keep all members of the family busy, including shuffleboard, camp games and video arcades. Television is entirely optional. The sandy beaches combined with the warm days and cool nights invite visitors to the shore, either to sunbathe or don a sweater for nightly campfires.

A large part of the south shore of the lake is encompassed within the Hiawatha National Forest and provides camping, boat launch facilities and nature trails. Groceries can be conveniently purchased at Au Train businesses, which provide everything needed, such as deli, beverages, groceries, hardware and gasoline.

The entire area is a nature-lover’s paradise, with water birds and waterfowl in profusion around the 6.6 miles of shoreline. A separate three-mile Songbird Trail, a short distance from the campground, is a favored destination of birdwatchers. Several types of warblers can be seen here, and locations in Au Train rent tape recorders and tapes with representative bird songs, binoculars and bird guides. The Bay de Noc-Grand Island Trail attracts hikers and horseback riders who follow the path of the early Native Americans on their annual trek south to Lake Michigan. The Valley Spur Mountain Bike Trail is favored by cycle enthusiasts. In the winter, both hunting and skiing accommodations can be had, with plentiful information as to the where, how and when of your favorite winter sport.

Nearby Lake Superior and Pictured Rocks provide some of the best photographic opportunities in the north. East of Au Train toward Munising, the area sports sixteen natural waterfalls. The shoreline road, M-28, travels through deep pine woods and along the sandy coast, much of which is open to the public. The road is known to become treacherous in winter, with sudden squalls and white-outs blowing in from Superior, so as with most winter activities in the area, it is wise to plan with the weather in mind.

Near Au Train, Harold Rathfoot Roadside Park provides a viewing area of ‘The Face in The Rock’. For centuries, the ‘face’ carved by wind and wave into the sandstone was a landmark for Ojibwa and voyagers alike. Henry Rowe Schoolcraft wrote of the ‘face’ during his first trip along the Lake Superior shoreline in 1820. Of some religious significance to local Native Americans, it no doubt was a welcoming sight when they paddled along the shore in the fall and signified that the Au Train River, their path south, was near. Truly, they needed to leave Superior before the treacherous winter storms trapped them there. Lake Superior is not terribly friendly to winter travelers, as evidenced by the shipwrecks at Alger Underwater Diving Reserve in nearby Munising.

A side trip to nearby Grand Island shouldn’t be missed. The Ferry leaves Munising on a regular schedule, and a tour bus is available on Grand Island to see that you get the grand tour. You can also take a shipwreck tour from Munising and view several underwater wrecks from over a century through the large glass portals built into the hull. The lake here is amazingly clear, with 50 ft visibility the norm.

Prospective property owners will appreciate the bargain prices for lakefront housing at Au Train Lake and along the Au Train River. Because employment opportunities in the area are limited, many home and cottage owners are retirees. The area is a bit distant from major metropolitan areas: 380 miles to Chicago and 400 to Detroit, but it’s only 12 miles to Munising and 30 miles to Marquette for shopping excursions. Resort cabins on the lake are equally affordable. For the adventuring soul, a trip to Au Train Lake is well worth the miles. It’s a vacation you’ll never forget.

Things to do at Au Train Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Waterfall
  • Birding
  • National Forest
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Au Train Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Whitefish

Au Train Lake Photo Gallery

    Au Train Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 839 acres

    Shoreline Length: 7 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 610 feet

    Average Depth: 12 feet

    Maximum Depth: 31 feet

    Drainage Area: 35 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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