Hubbard Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Northeast -

Also known as:  Bottomless Lake, Alcona Lake, Coral Lake

Summer in Michigan’s Northeast region is synonymous with a place like Hubbard Lake. Less than 20 miles inland from Lake Huron’s ‘sunrise coast’, Hubbard Lake has hosted many summer residents over the past 150 years. The large, natural lake of 8,850 acres was obtained via treaty with the Ojibwa, Ottawa and Potawatomi in the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw. Its very remoteness kept it from most European settlement for the first 20 to 30 years. First simply called the ‘bottomless lake’, the beautiful waterscape was named Coral Lake, then Alcona Lake before officially being named Hubbard Lake in 1867 after noted Michigan geologist, Dr. Bela Hubbard. It was about this time that summer visitors started arriving.

Hubbard Lake has several inflowing streams, largest among them the West Branch River, Holcomb Creek and Sucker Creek. The water flows out of the lake to the Lower South Branch of the Thunder Bay River over a small six-and-a-half-foot dam. The small dam was constructed to assist in floating timber from its tributaries during the area’s logging era. As in years gone by, the shoreline holds several resort properties. Most have cabin rentals, swim areas and a variety of water-based activities. A few offer higher-end lodgings with restaurants and boat-in dining. The tiny community of Spruce and the laid-back town of Hubbard Lake hold all types of services needed by the many property owners whose cottages line the shore. The all-sports, all-season lake is a favorite for watersports, such as waterskiing, wakeboarding, sailing, pontooning, tubing and swimming. One small marina sells boat gas and rents pontoons.

Fishing is always a major drawing card to Hubbard Lake. The clear waters offer ideal habitat for a variety of fish species. Yellow perch, smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed, rock bass, walleye, northern pike and tiger muskie are regularly caught, while lake whitefish, cisco and lake trout make rare appearances on the end of a line. The inflowing creeks hold brook trout, while an occasional rainbow trout-apparently a hold-over from former stocking efforts-can occasionally be caught. Three public boat ramps allow for plenty of access to the water. Two Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) concrete boat ramps have been upgraded to include ample parking for vehicles and boat trailers. A third boat ramp is provided by Caledonia Township. In winter, the lots are often filled with the vehicles of ice fishermen who particularly enjoy their forays onto the ‘hard water’ to fish.

Pike marsh wetlands were constructed during the 1960s to increase the numbers of predator fish and improve the fishery. The fishing remains good in no small part due to the efforts of the Hubbard Lake Sportsman & Improvement Association, a local group that monitors water quality, helps with fish surveys, facilitates stocking efforts and sponsors fishing tournaments that are well attended. The Association has placed brush fish attractors at various locations in the lake. Caledonia Township, which owns the boat ramp on the north side of the lake, appears to have a small township park surrounding the launch area but provides no information online about this public area.

Located about four hours north of Detroit, cottages in years past were often built by working class owners whose families returned to the lake for generations. In recent years, many have been enlarged or rebuilt into more luxurious homes and are attracting a higher-income population. Today, a wide range of properties can be found at Hubbard Lake, although real estate values are rising for everyone. As costs at the popular destination lakes near Lake Michigan have risen, more and more lakelubbers are discovering the joys of Hubbard Lake and its surroundings. The area has much to offer visitors, from a golf resort nearby to the former ski runs on Mt. Mariah to the south of the lake. Although the ski resort is no longer there, the hills and ski runs still exist and welcome many locals visit in winter for sledding and skiing. The attractive views from the hill above Hubbard Lake have encouraged at least one developer to look toward developing a high-end housing development on this local landmark.

The 446-acre Hubbard Lake State Game Area encompasses a section of the southwestern lakeshore along the West Branch River. Managed specifically for wood duck and mallard, there are several access points with parking available within the game area. Although the river connects with the lake, boat travel between the two is not possible due to low road clearance. The game area is ideally suited to nature lovers and bird watchers who enjoy the wide variety of waterfowl living here in their natural environment. All of the inflowing streams at Hubbard Lake are well-suited to nature observation, many of which can be sighted from the roadway that encircles the lake.

Lake Huron is less than 20 miles east as the crow flies. The unimproved Negwegan State Park is almost due east of Hubbard Lake and offers hiking trails and an unspoiled Lake Huron beach. A few primitive campsites may be reserved. Visitors are advised not to attempt to access this quiet state park without a four-wheel-drive vehicle as the access roads can contain very deep sand. The state park lies within a section of the larger Thunder Bay River State Forest. To the south of Hubbard Lake is the Huron National Forest. Several forest sections hold numerous campsites, most of which are primitive. Other local destinations include the annual Harrisville Arts & Crafts Show.

The City of Alpena, 25 miles to the northeast, holds a number of well-known attractions such as the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. This underwater sanctuary features numerous shipwrecks, some of which can be seen from a glass-bottomed boat. Tours are available. The area is very popular among divers; several dive charter companies are available to arrange dives on specific sites. The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center serves as the visitors center and holds exhibits and historical information on the shipwrecks.

Lighthouse fans will want to arrive in time for the annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival which visits several area lighthouses. With over 300 lighthouses on the Great Lakes shorelines, there are often several lighthouses that can be visited within a single day. The festival is produced in collaboration with lighthouse preservation groups along Lake Huron’s shore and guaranteed to provide plenty of opportunity for photography and a major taste of Lake Huron history. While in Alpena, the Besser Museum of Northeast Michigan is well worth a visit. Here, one can dig for fossils at Lafarge Fossil Park, enjoy the large exhibits of Native American art and artifacts, and learn more about early Michigan and its lumbering and fisheries history.

Anyone who visits the Hubbard Lake area for the first time is in for a treat. The many activities, natural landscape and historical immersion will make you want to stay for at least a week. Along with rustic resort cabins, lovely resort inns and many private short-term lakefront rentals, several motels and small inns are located nearby. Alpena offers a variety of hotels and several quaint bed & breakfasts. And camping in the state and national forests offers an economical and secluded vacation beneath the pines and under the stars. This is Michigan’s northwoods at its finest-and easy to access from downstate.

Things to do at Hubbard Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • National Forest
  • Museum

Fish species found at Hubbard Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brook Trout
  • Cisco
  • Lake Trout
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sucker
  • Sunfish
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Whitefish
  • Yellow Perch

Hubbard Lake Photo Gallery

    Hubbard Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Surface Area: 8,850 acres

    Shoreline Length: 19 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 707 feet

    Average Depth: 33 feet

    Maximum Depth: 85 feet

    Water Residence Time: 4 years

    Drainage Area: 146 sq. miles

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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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