Magician Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Southwest -

Also known as:  Silver lake

Magician Lake. . .the name holds an air of mystery. One envisions foggy evenings and a haunted island. But in truth, the only mystery about Magician Lake is how it has remained unknown to much of the Midwest. It wasn’t always unknown, however. Originally named Silver Lake due to the appearance of the marl-rich lake bottom, Magician Lake has been a part of Michigan’s history since well before the territory became a state. Several theories attempt to explain the name change, but no one is really sure why it became Magician Lake.

Located in southwestern Michigan, Cass County has a rich early history, including major activity on the Underground Railroad. Large numbers of Quakers moved to the area in the early 1830s bringing their abolitionist sentiments along with a number of African-American Freedmen. In the late 1700s, a number of Quakers living in the South owned slaves. When convinced that slavery was immoral, they were prevented from freeing them in North Carolina and Virginia without having them leave the state. So, they signed them over to their church, making the church the slaveholder of record and moved north, taking them to settle with them, first in Indiana then Cass County where they could live as free men and women.

The African-American settlement and its inhabitants grew and prospered, with many very successful African-American businessmen among the merchants of the county. At one point, Cass County’s African-American population was larger than that of the City of Detroit. Because of the abolitionist beliefs of the Quakers, the area became a major stop on the Underground Railroad. No records exist of what happened to most of these early settlers and their descendants; today, the population of Cass County is 89% Caucasian.

Cass County not only welcomed African-Americans into their homes: in 1854, Dowagiac, Michigan was the first stop on the first Orphan Train from New York City. When it departed the station, 45 children had found a home.

The area lies in the orchard belt due to its proximity to Lake Michigan’s moderating climate. The area also grew wheat and provided lumber once the railroad built a depot at Dowagiac. And with the railroad came the heyday of lake resorts. Magician Lake and its ‘sister’ lakes northwest of Dowagiac rapidly developed as resort destinations, with the first resort being built on Maple Island near the Magician Lake shore. The six lakes, including Big Crooked Lake, Little Crooked Lake, Cable Lake, Dewey Lake and Round Lake along with Magician became known as ‘Sister Lakes,’ and a small village sprang up including a port office.

Although most of the Sister Lakes are not connected, several of them are within a few feet of another’s shore. Their relationship is a natural one as all are glacial pothole lakes. Local entrepreneurs made good use of their proximity, and resorts and cottages were built throughout the lakes. From the turn of the century until into the 1950’s, touring cars arrived bringing lake visitors to the dance pavilions to hear the Big Band entertainers. Now, of course, the dance pavilions are gone, although some still stand, re-purposed to other needs such as a roller skating rink. And Magician Lake has settled into a maturity of year-round homes and summer cottages. Perhaps because the residents missed the excitement of the glorious resort past, in 1964 the area experienced a series of Bigfoot sightings that brought a bevy of law enforcement, newspaper reporters and self-styled Bigfoot hunters to the region. Local businessmen of course capitalized on the publicity and an occasional ‘Bigfoot Crossing” sign is still encountered.

Summer visitors flock to the many rental cottages around the shore. All sorts of watercraft enthusiasts enjoy the lake in summer along with a number of fishermen. Magician Lake is considered a premier warm-water fishery and is regularly stocked by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Black Crappie, Bluegill, Bowfin, Brown Bullhead, Largemouth Bass, Longnose Gar, Northern Pike, Pumpkinseed, Rock Bass, Warmouth, Yellow Bullhead, and Yellow Perch are regularly caught. Although the shoreline is quite heavily developed, three of the four islands on the lake are not; their shorelines provide some excellent fishing.

The water is exceptionally clear and much of the lake is quite shallow, allowing for an enjoyable day on the water. In winter, ice fishing is a popular activity. A DNR public boat launch is located on the north shore.

Other recreational activities in the area include hiking, biking, golf, hunting, skiing, snowmobiling and sledding. The nearby town of Dowagiac is filled with beautiful Victorian architecture and has a vibrant downtown area for shopping, restaurants, theaters and museums.

St. Joseph, fifteen miles away, is a deep-water port town that has picturesque brick roads and many unique shops, art galleries, antique shops and cafes. Activities and events such as ‘Antiques on the Bluff” are very popular places to look for a bargain.

Magician Lake is located just thirty miles north of South Bend, Indiana and one hour from Kalamazoo. Many residents are alumni of Notre Dame and enjoy the proximity during football season.

Whatever your passion, Magician Lake can help you indulge it.

Things to do at Magician Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Museum
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Magician Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Bowfin
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Crappie
  • Gar
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Longnose Gar
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Sunfish
  • Warmouth
  • Yellow Bullhead
  • Yellow Perch

Magician Lake Photo Gallery

    Magician Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Cass County Drain Commissioner

    Surface Area: 528 acres

    Shoreline Length: 6 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 763 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 762 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 763 feet

    Average Depth: 18 feet

    Maximum Depth: 57 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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