Duck Lake – Muskegon County, Michigan, USA

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USA - Midwest - Michigan - West Central -

One of Michigan’s newest state parks graces the north shore of Duck Lake in Muskegon County. Lying just a few hundred feet inland from Lake Michigan in the West Central portion of the state, little Duck Lake holds its own among much bigger and far more famous inland lakes. Formed near the mouth of Duck Creek, Duck Lake nestles east of the shoreline dunes through which small Duck Creek makes its way to Lake Michigan. Originally the home of several tribes of Native Americans, Duck Lake saw its first development in the early 1800s when a sawmill was built at the outlet by an early European settler. When the logging industry quickly depleted the stands of virgin pine, settlers soon discovered that the loamy clay soils behind the dunes were excellent for raising fruit trees and grape vines. Fruitland Township still holds a number of orchards and vineyards. For many years Duck Lake was famous for Camp Shawondossee, the Boy Scout Camp where a young Gerald Ford served as counselor. The former boy scout camp forms part of the Duck Lake State Park, providing about a mile of frontage along the shoreline.

The south shore of Duck Lake is dotted with private homes. Most homes have private docks and often a small swimming area. Residents can also swim at Marcus Park near the outlet or a small park owned by Fruitland Township near the inlet of Duck Creek. The State Park also offers a swimming area, so there is plenty of sandy beach from which to swim and enjoy water sports. Part of 313-acre Duck Lake is open to power-boating, so water skiing and personal watercraft are popular. Other portions are restricted to slow-no wake speeds, making the lake ideal for those enjoying paddle sports, sailing and pontooning. Over the dunes to the west, beautiful Duck Creek Beach offers Lake Michigan swimming, sun bathing and big-lake enjoyment. A small dam of uncertain ownership controls water levels and prevents boats from sailing between Duck Lake and Lake Michigan. Duck Lake has become a popular residential lake where year-round residents can have the best of both lakefront living and nearby city amenities. The town of Whitehall and White Lake are about six miles from the lake, and downtown Muskegon is less than 20 miles.

Fishing is always a popular sport at Duck Lake: bass, crappie and panfish are plentiful, and fly-fishing for bluegills is an especially rewarding activity in early summer. The fishing doesn’t stop when the lake freezes over in winter, however. Most clear days in winter will see a number of anglers trying their luck through the ice. Boats can be launched at the State Park launch site. Day-use-only Duck Lake State Park offers 728 acres of wooded trails for hiking, nature observation and cross-country skiing in winter. The swimming beach, picnic area with shelters and designated area for metal detecting add to the recreational opportunities for day visitors. The State Park extends over the huge dune area where a boardwalk leads to the beach on Lake Michigan. The park is officially closed to vehicle traffic in winter, but the trails can be accessed via skis and snowmobile. Certain parts of the State Park are open to fall hunting in season with proper permits. Hunters come here to find deer, rabbit, woodcock, pheasant, duck, goose and squirrel. A permanent marker denotes the spot where the old Camp Shawondossee of President Ford fame stood for so many years. Although not nearly as well known as Muskegon State Park a few short miles down the Lake Michigan shoreline, Duck Lake State Park offers a unique opportunity to enjoy nature in a quiet and uncrowded venue.

The Duck Lake area is ideal for an active family. Besides fun on the lake itself, other recreational venues are a scant few miles away. Blue Lakes Fine Arts Camp offers performances by young talent-in-training and visiting artists on a regular schedule. Two separate water parks can be accessed within 15 miles, as can several golf courses. One of the water park locations also holds rodeo performances during the summer, dogsled rides in winter and horseback riding year round. The other offers a full amusement park. The White River Light Station Museum, built in 1875, is open for tours and a history lesson at the mouth to the White River channel on White Lake.

In Muskegon, the Lakeshore Museum Center features unique dioramas of life in the area built by the Works Progress Administration during the Depression. Other exhibits provide a glimpse into the flora and fauna in a pre-historic Michigan, children’s exhibits on nutrition and the human body, and a variety of historical artifacts. The Museum Center also offers tours of several restored historic buildings from Muskegon’s past. Muskegon holds a world-renowned Winter Sports Complex and is home to several charter fishing captains who can provide big-lake fishing excursions on short notice. The Lakeshore Express Ferry service offers both local cruises and cross-lake ferry service to Milwaukee daily during the warmer months. The ferry can carry both passengers and automobiles and is often used as a faster route to Wisconsin than car travel all the way around the lake. Then, there are farm markets, wineries and antique shops to suit every desire, with plenty of quaint eateries, bed-and-breakfasts and local studios and galleries in the area.

Resident or visitor, no one runs out of things to do in the Duck Lake area. It is occasionally possible to find a private rental on Duck Lake but if not, there are other lakes in the area along with plenty of campgrounds, resorts and conventional lodgings in the cities. Small motels can often be found along nearby US 31. Real estate can be found locally both on the lakeshore itself and nearby with lake access. Careful shopping can sometimes find the perfect home for a very reasonable price compared to better-known resort areas. Duck Lake offers the best of all worlds. Come and visit once – you’ll want to stay forever!

Things to do at Duck Lake – Muskegon County

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Amusement Park
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Duck Lake – Muskegon County

  • Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie

Duck Lake – Muskegon County Photo Gallery

Duck Lake – Muskegon County Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Surface Area: 313 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 581 feet

Maximum Depth: 30 feet

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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