Higgins Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Northeast -

With depths that average 52 feet and range as deep as 141 feet, the azure waters of Higgins Lake assure a remarkable transparency. Such crystalline waters, formed during the retreat of glacial ice, have made the lake a prime environment for snorkelers looking to maximize their underwater experience; while above the surface, the lake abounds with boating enthusiasts participating in such water sports as tubing, water skiing, and kneeboarding.

Higgins Lake is located 5 miles west from the town of Roscommon. Over the past 30 years, population growth with new residential developments has made the lake area one of the fastest growing counties in the state. Retirees are continually drawn to the Roscommon and Higgins Lake area, making it their home during the spring, summer, and fall months before moving back down south for the winter.

Roscommon County Commissioners regulate water levels at the county’s lakes, including Higgins Lake, Houghton Lake, and Lake St. Helen. Water levels are typically six inches lower in winter than in summer to make room for winter snowmelt in the spring. Water levels at Higgins Lake are regulated by a dam on the Cut River. The County has plans to improve the dam to better control water flow and maintain lake levels at legal elevations.

Higgins Lake offers excellent fishing opportunities with catches of northern pike, smallmouth bass, brown trout, lake trout, and rainbow trout. Ice-fishing in recent years has proven especially rewarding to anglers who are patient, as the remarkable depth of the lake prevents safe ice-fishing conditions well into January. Yet once the ice freezes sufficiently, it is not uncommon to see as many as 100 shanties dotting the landscape with hopeful anglers seeking their share of the winter perch that the lake is known to support. Those wishing to avoid competition over the lake’s fish population need not worry as, despite the seemingly high number of anglers, fish limits as high as 50 are common, a testament to the bountiful fishing opportunities Higgins Lake has to offer.

State parks are present at both the north and south ends of the lake, entitled, unambiguously, as North Higgins State Park and South Higgins State Park respectively. Each sports its own campgrounds, trails, beaches, and launch ramps. North Higgins State Park is host to the Civilian Conservation Corps Museum, which was established with the purpose of preserving the artifacts, photographs, and overall history of the Civilian Conservation Corps, a program implemented during the Great Depression which put more than 100,000 people to work on various conservation and reforestation projects around the state of Michigan. Admission to the museum is free.

South Higgins State Park is the larger in land area of the two parks at 1,000 acres, with nearly one mile of that area running along the lake’s shoreline. The park offers three major trails for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing, each of which covers a distance of several miles. Nature trails are also available for those who might wish to take a more leisurely venture into the park.

Along the lake’s 22 miles of shoreline, numerous sand beaches and a total of three separate boat ramps (two of which are located at the state parks) provide ready access to the lake for boaters, swimmers and sunbathers. The North Higgins State Park launch ramp area is particularly accommodating to commuters, boasting an ample 80 parking spots and 175 campsites.

For visitors anticipating a summer trip to Higgins Lake, it is advised that they make plans well in advance. The beauty and amenities of Higgins Lake and Roscommon County bring a large influx of visitors during warm weather.

Things to do at Higgins Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Snorkeling
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • State Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Higgins Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Lake Trout
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout

Higgins Lake Photo Gallery

  • KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Higgins Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Roscommon County

Surface Area: 10,186 acres

Shoreline Length: 22 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,154 feet

Average Depth: 53 feet

Maximum Depth: 141 feet

Water Volume: 459,000 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 12.5 years

Drainage Area: 30 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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