Florence Lake, Washington, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Washington - Seattle & Puget Sound -

Also known as:  Lake Florence

Florence Lake is special to Seattle and Puget Sound residents. Local tribes were familiar with Anderson Island long before its ‘official’ discovery in 1841. Anderson Island has served as farm land, retirement getaway, and now residential neighborhood to hundreds of citizens and visitors. Reached only by ferry from Steilacoom, the eight square-mile island holds two small lakes. Florence Lake is the public lake while Josephine Lake is private. The two are connected by a small channel, so that water flows from Florence Lake into Josephine Lake during periods of high water. Although small, 63-acre Florence Lake is the destination for water skiing, tubing and power-boating on Anderson Island; Josephine Lake is a no-motors lake.

A number of private homes grace the southern shoreline of Florence Lake. There are far fewer homes along the north shore. Small Lowell Johnson Park, commonly called ‘The Old Swimming Hole’, provides the only public freshwater beach on Anderson Island. Separate roped-off swimming areas are provided for children and adults, although there are no lifeguards on duty. The area is designated ‘no-wake’, slow-speed boating for safety. A picnic area features restrooms and a sand-lot volleyball court. Some reports show an unimproved, unofficial boat launch ramp at the park, but official park statements say there isn’t one. As another park area is in the process of development as a natural area on the north shore, it is expected that a designated boat launch will soon be available, at least for smaller boats. Given the small size of the lake, it is ideal for paddle-sports such as canoeing and kayaking. Most lakefront property owners have their own docks where they moor their boats.

Largemouth bass and bluegill reproduce naturally in the lake, and the State stocks rainbow trout and brown trout annually. Florence Lake is fed by a number of intermittent brooks, so trout can often be caught from the shore near the outlets. Lake levels at Florence Lake may vary according to precipitation but remain remarkably stable from year to year.

There are no resort rentals directly on Florence Lake, although there are some lodgings nearby on Puget Sound. A number of private owners regularly rent their seasonal homes by the week or month, so visitors can enjoy the views over lovely, wooded Florence Lake. Some of the properties along the lake are members of the Riviera Community Club and have access to the club’s facilities on Josephine Lake, plus a boat launch on Florence Lake. Although a part of Pierce County, Anderson island is self-governed in many respects, with its own volunteer fire department, parks and recreation system, road committees, trash pick-up and community activities and by-laws. An elementary school, serving children through the fifth grade, is located on the island; older children take the ferry to Steilacoom, a 20-minute ride away.

Although Anderson Island is small, the park system – entirely maintained by volunteers – includes an extensive network of trails covering tidal flats, woods, marshes and grassy hillsides. The island has abundant wildlife, including raccoons, deer, squirrels, birds of prey and many species of wading and shore birds. There are also kayak tours on Puget Sound to various destinations, a golf course near Josephine Lake, and a restaurant overlooking the water. Because Anderson Island is noted for its solitude and natural environment, several bed & breakfasts and a small inn offer specialty lodgings to vacationers and honeymooners.

The car ferry to Steilacoom is the gateway to the outside world from Florence Lake and Anderson Island. Once on the mainland, ‘islanders’ will find shopping, services, musical performances and a number of historical destinations within Steilacoom. Tacoma is only about 15 miles to the north, while Seattle is less than an hour away. Between the two larger cities, every possible form of cultural and musical interest will find multiple venues for expression. Nightlife is plentiful. If planning a day away from Florence Lake on the mainland, one needs to remember that the ferry stops running about 10:30 in the evenings, so alternate lodgings should be planned.

Olympic National Park is only a couple of hours to the west. An hour or so to the east, Mount Rainier National Park provides spectacular views, climbing, and hiking trails. Immediately north of the Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park provides every form of outdoor and wilderness adventure the serious hiker should desire. Charter fishing for salmon is available on Puget Sound, while crabbing in season is a favorite pastime. There is never a shortage of things to do within a short distance of Florence Lake.

Real estate is still available near Florence Lake, although building lots are limited. Existing homes with lake frontage can sometimes be found for sale. Other locations on Anderson Island are also available, sometimes with acreage and Sound shoreline. The island offers the best of both the freshwater and the saltwater world. Won’t you plan to spend a few days visiting Florence Lake and experiencing the relaxed island culture? One visit and you’ll be hooked more securely than the rainbow trout.

Things to do at Florence Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Florence Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Florence Lake Photo Gallery

Florence Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 63 acres

Shoreline Length: 2 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 197 feet

Maximum Depth: 30 feet

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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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