Lake Gogebic, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Upper Peninsula -

Lake Gogebic, located at the western tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) is a hidden gem, far undervalued in the outdoor sports world. Lake Gogebic (pronounced Go-GIBB-ick) is a Native American word reported to mean “where trout rising make small rings upon the surface.” Straddling the border of Gogebic and Ontonagon Counties, its 12,800 surface acres provide bountiful fishing and boating activities for the visitor and locals alike. At about 12 miles long, Gogebic has an average depth of 17 feet with a few holes as deep as 37 feet and a rocky bottom. A natural lake, formed when retreating glaciers blocked the natural drainage, the Upper Peninsula Power Company maintains the lake at about 1295 feet above sea level at their dam at Berglund. The time zone changes mid-lake, with the north half in the Eastern Time Zone and the south in the Central Time Zone. A popular snowmobiling tradition involves visiting two bars on the lake at their respective midnights on New Year’s Eve, thus celebrating the New Year twice.

Fishing is such serious sport at Lake Gogebic that fishing-themed events are a regular part of life in the two small villages along the shore. Walleye is king here, and Spring and Fall Walleye tournaments draw anglers from great distances to compete for cash prizes and trophies. Five-pounders are not rare, although most tournament entries range between three and four pounds. Besides walleye, there are prizes for perch, northern pike and bass offered, followed by after-tourney celebrations.

In addition to the big tournaments, tagged fish provide a surprise cash prize for the leisure angler between May 15th and Sept 15th. Prizes range from $800-$1000 for the specially tagged Walleye, to $250 for each of twenty other pan fish. Catching last year’s tagged fish will still pay, but only $25. Visitors can enter the contests by buying a $3 button from nearly all local merchants in Berglund. The proceeds go to the fish stocking program. Other monthly fishing contests present prizes such as fishing gear.

Water sports are available in great variety during the summer months: swimming, boating and just plain chilling by the lake cools off visitors from surprisingly warm summer days. Kayak rentals are a recent addition, and kayaking the small streams and inlets into the lake allow the nature lover the opportunity to examine shore birds, herons, a variety of ducks and abundant wildflowers up close. A leisurely kayak trip along the 44 mile shoreline is a photographer’s dream come true, and the vacation pictures one brings back will provide enjoyment and memories for many years. For those wishing more comfort and a little less work, pontoon raft rentals are available for around $150/day.

One annual summer event is the kid’s Cardboard Boat race. These are always hilariously funny events for participants and on-lookers alike. Because tourism is the area’s bread and butter, special events and activities are planned for nearly every summer weekend.

Lake Gogebic, situated in the UP’s snow belt region, often gets over 300 inches of snow a year. There are many miles of snow mobile trails and prime conditions for hunting deer, black bear and grouse in season. Ice fishing is a popular winter sport, and no Michigan lake winter would be complete without the annual ice fishing tournament.

Lake Gogebic is hardly a day trip-from anywhere. When you go to Lake Gogebic, you go for days or weeks. The closest major city is Duluth, Minnesota, a two-hour drive. The lake is located three hours from the Green Bay, Wisconsin area, in the historic iron mining and logging area of the Upper Peninsula. It takes more than a day to fully appreciate all of Lake Gogebic’s beauty. Distance has preserved its pristine waters, although more and more “summer people” are building cottages. The west shore is mostly older small cottages, while the eastern shore is mostly newer, more up-scale construction, and there is a limited amount of undeveloped shoreline available. The locals thoroughly enjoy their visitors and their water sports. The main town, Berglund, has not yet succumbed to touristy money traps. There are a wealth of lodging choices, from small Mom & Pop motels to resort cottages and private waterfront rentals. Plenty of small cafes and taverns are available for the care and feeding of visitors. Prices at even the better restaurants are very reasonable and casual attire the norm.

Various camping accommodations are also available for the visitor at Lake Gogebic State Park, several county and township parks and state forest land. Several private campgrounds, often attached to cottage rental facilities are available. There are several formal and informal boat launch sites to choose from. For the visitor with some time to spend, the Porcupine Mountains are only thirty miles away and the majestic shores of Lake Superior about the same distance. Nearly a hundred waterfalls are located within a short drive. Lake Gogebic is the perfect family vacation spot for committed anglers; they can fish to their heart’s content while the rest of the family hikes and tours the nearby sights.

One visit to the laid-back far north atmosphere of Lake Gogebic and you may find yourself, like many others, coming back year after year.

Things to do at Lake Gogebic

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • State Forest

Fish species found at Lake Gogebic

  • Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Lake Gogebic Photo Gallery

    Lake Gogebic Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Upper Peninsula Power Company

    Surface Area: 12,800 acres

    Shoreline Length: 44 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,295 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,295 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,295 feet

    Average Depth: 17 feet

    Maximum Depth: 37 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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