Klinger Lake, Michigan, USA

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USA - Midwest - Michigan - Southwest -

Klinger Lake in Saint Joseph County has been a top recreation and fishing spot in western lower Michigan for well over 150 years. Located less than three miles north of Indiana, Klinger Lake has developed a reputation as a fishing and recreational boating lake among local residents. The lake is named for one of the first settlers in White Pigeon Township named Peter Klinger. The Klinger family ran a small store to trade with the local Native Americans.

As the area grew, Klinger Lake’s large size and proximity to both the small city of Sturgis and to tiny White Pigeon made it an attractive spot for summer residents to enjoy the cool breezes. Another local early settler began renting out his oak grove to campers and picnickers, thus beginning the resort business. In earlier years, several resorts and boarding houses occupied part of the shoreline. Complete with dance halls and speakeasies, these kept visitors entertained for an evening or for a summer-long stay. Tour boats had a short-lived run and local rumor has it that Al Capone occasionally visited here- understandable as this area was near his liquor distribution area during Prohibition and just north of US 12, the main route between Detroit and Chicago in the days before the Interstate system.

At 822 acres, Klinger Lake is the largest lake in Saint Joseph County. Water enters the lake from Thompson and Tamarack Lakes, with outflow at Sherman Mill Creek draining to the Fawn River. Water level is maintained by a small water-control dam on Sherman Mill Creek. The Klinger Lake Association maintains the court-ordered level under the supervision of Saint Joseph County staff. The lake’s maximum depth of 71 ft allows for a variety of fish, although the average depth is around 21 feet. Fishing is good enough that several bass tournaments are staged here each year. Northern Pike, Bluegill, Crappie, Walleye and Rock Bass are also caught. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has maintained an aggressive stocking campaign at Klinger Lake for several years with good results. Although the majority of the shoreline is private homes and cottages, the Michigan DNR maintains a public access boat ramp on the northwest shore.

The bottom of the lake is primarily marl (a mixture of clay, sand, and limestone) with a wide sand perimeter. The Klinger Lake Association works closely with Michigan water resource offices to monitor and maintain the water quality. Given the density of homes around the lake and their length of tenure, Klinger is surprisingly clean. As with most lower Michigan lakes, there is plentiful plant cover for fish populations, and the local Association works diligently to eradicate invasive species and monitor zebra mussels.

The majority of the shore is densely populated with cottages and summer homes. The Kirsch family, founders of the Kirsch Curtain Rod business in Sturgis, maintained a home here for many years. Kirsch also employed many of the builders and purchasers of other Klinger Lake homes and was a mainstay of employment in the area until the business was purchased by the Rubbermaid corporation early in this century. Despite the population density, the Klinger Lake shoreline harbors a variety of wildlife and waterfowl, including great blue herons, geese, swans, migrating and resident ducks and the occasional bald eagle.

Summer cottage rentals at Klinger Lake are available, although limited. Real estate for sale is more plentiful in a wide range of prices. For the visitor, lodging is available in Sturgis at several motels and at a variety of bed & breakfast facilities in the area.

A popular activity is visiting Shipshewana in Indiana less than 10 miles away. This haven of Amish crafts, food and lodging makes a great base for the fisher folk in the family to head north to Klinger Lake while the avid crafter/antique hunter spends the days visiting the shops and farmsteads of the Amish community. Both will report this their best vacation ever. Located about 150 miles from Detroit and 125 miles from Chicago, Klinger Lake and Shipshewana can easily make for a great getaway weekend.

Things to do at Klinger Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Camping
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Klinger Lake

  • Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Klinger Lake Photo Gallery

    Klinger Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Saint Joseph County

    Surface Area: 822 acres

    Shoreline Length: 5 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 807 feet

    Average Depth: 21 feet

    Maximum Depth: 72 feet

    Water Volume: 17,092 acre-feet

    Water Residence Time: 1yr 4 mo

    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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