Bass Lake, Indiana, USA

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USA - Midwest - Indiana - North -

Nearly everyone fondly remembers a Bass Lake somewhere. But there are many lakes named Bass Lake, often several per state. This Bass Lake is located in Indiana’s Northern Lake Country Region; 1,400-acre Bass Lake has been considered a ‘mystery lake’ ever since its discovery by European settlers. Bass Lake lies at the top of the surrounding hills and has no visible inflowing water source. Drainage ditches in the area actually flow away from the lake. Most lakes in the area are of glacial origin; Bass Lake sits at the top of one of the sand ridges left by the retreating glacier. Modern geological testing has proved that the majority of the lake’s water comes from springs bubbling from the underlying aquifer and a few flowing wells along the shore. Property owners at the lake now pump additional ground water into the lake in an attempt to keep water levels more stable. A small artificial drainage ditch was dammed, and the court set the water level to be maintained at 715 feet.

Located in Starke County, the area around Bass Lake was the home of several Potawatomi villages. A few miles to the north, the Kankakee Great Marsh supplied a wealth of hunting and trapping opportunities that attracted European trappers and traders. The Potawatomi were relocated in 1838, and available dry land was devoted to farming. By 1871, dredging of the Kankakee began to reduce the size of the marsh, making the newly-available land attractive to more settlers. By this time, Bass Lake had already developed a reputation as a resort community. Resort hotels dotted the shoreline by 1890, with visitors coming by train from Chicago to enjoy boating, fishing and swimming. The famous Knickerbocker Ice Company had a large ice harvesting operation on the south shore of the lake; ice blocks were cut and shipped to Chicago by train. Steam excursion boats plied the waters in summer, transporting visitors to resort hotels on the north shore not served by a passable road. Postcards and playbills from the era show that dance halls and hotels provided both local and nationally-know entertainers during the summer. The small unincorporated village of Bass Lake along the western shore grew to the point that it once boasted a hospital and a variety of businesses.

Bass Lake’s shoreline soon became lined with summer cottages. The State of Indiana established a State Beach along the sandy southern shore and took over management of a formerly private fish hatchery at the east end of the lake. Through the 1920s, trains carried visitors from the big city to fill the hotels and made Bass Lake a well-known resort destination. The sand-bottomed swim areas were especially popular as bathers could wade in shallow water for some distance before the depth increased perceptibly. The era of the summer resort hotel passed at Bass Lake by the Second World War, as it did throughout the country. The era of the family automobile made day trips to the lake feasible and cheap. More cottages were built and much of the shoreline passed into private hands. The State Beach is now managed as a county park. The fish hatchery operation was closed. The village of Bass Lake settled into a smaller and quieter existence. It became a closely-knit community of summer and year-round residents joined together by their love of and care for Bass Lake.

Bass Lake is popular as an all-sports lake; water skiing, tubing, pontooning, canoeing, kayaking and sailing are all popular. Fishing is as enjoyable now as it was 100 years ago. The lake supports the usual largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, crappies, bluegills and perch. But this unusual lake also provides a sustained walleye fishery and a good supply of white bass – both unusual in Indiana lakes. The State maintains a stocking program, and the property owners association works with home owners to maintain and improve water quality. The lake’s unique hydrology has made it the subject of much interested study over the years, and the property owners association avails itself of the expertise of the many scholars who have explored its conditions. Many winters, the lake freezes over enough to provide ‘hard water’ for ice fishing. The roads surrounding the lake provide excellent mountain biking, hiking and general exploring. An 18-hole public golf course is located on the north shore of the lake, and an old-fashioned drive-in movie theater provides family fare all summer long. A campground is located at the former State Beach, will full hook-ups and amenities. A public boat launch is located near the campground, as is a marina with boat rental.

Bass Lake makes a great base camp for further exploring in the northern Indiana area. Just six miles south, Tippecanoe River State Park offers excellent canoeing waters, with a canoe campground. Visitors may bring their own water craft or rent from the office. A nature interpretive service, horsemen’s camping, bridle paths and cross-country ski paths keep Tippecanoe a favorite year round. About 10 miles north of Bass Lake, the remnants of the former Kankakee Great Marsh are preserved in the Kankakee State Fish and Wildlife Area. Offering open water, marshes, riparian timber and 11 miles of river, the wildlife area is open for hunting, fishing, boating and camping. A shooting range is also provided.

At only 40 miles from South Bend and 65 miles from Gary, Bass Lake is easily accessible. Indianapolis is less than a two-and-a-half hour trip. Many of the private residences along the shore are available as vacation rentals. Most provide a boat for the visitor’s use. Some small resorts offer housekeeping cabins and motel-style rooms right on the lakefront. Other vacation rentals are available in Plymouth and LaPorte, both less than 30 miles away. Real estate is also available at Bass Lake, both with lake frontage and lake views. So, spend your next vacation at tranquil Bass Lake. You’ll want to make it your year-round home!

Things to do at Bass Lake IN

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Movie Theater

Fish species found at Bass Lake IN

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye
  • White Bass

Bass Lake IN Photo Gallery

    Bass Lake IN Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Bass Lake Property Owners Association

    Surface Area: 1,407 acres

    Shoreline Length: 8 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 715 feet

    Average Depth: 6 feet

    Maximum Depth: 30 feet

    Water Volume: 8,557 acre-feet

    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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