Paradise Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Northwest -

Also known as:  Carp Lake, Lake Paradise

Paradise Lake is truly a lakelubber’s paradise. This 1900-acre lake in Michigan’s Northwest region has been a paradise for countless numbers of cottage owners and yearly visitors since early in the 20th century. Originally called Carp Lake, the name was changed sometime after 1960 for reasons no one quite remembers. They are fond of quoting that “there is Paradise in Carp Lake but no carp in Paradise.” The town of Carp Lake inhabits the west shoreline of what is now Paradise Lake. To add to the confusion, some websites call this Lake Paradise. And older residents still have a tendency to call it Carp Lake, as did their parents and grandparents. For Paradise Lake is that kind of a lake, where generations of families come every summer to teach the youngsters to swim and fish in the still waters.

Nearly 10 miles of shoreline is well-supplied with cottages and year-round homes. More than a handful of resort camps still greet visitors on the shores of Paradise Lake. The area is heavily wooded, and at least three preserve areas maintain that ‘wild’ atmosphere around the lake. Deer and wild turkeys are often sighted along with the occasional black bear. Eagles swoop to pluck fish from the waters, and loons raise their young on the lake. Waterskiing, tubing and jet skis are popular among the younger crowd, while the more seasoned citizens cruise along the shoreline on pontoons. Some of the resorts provide rowboats, canoes, kayaks or peddle-boats along with their cabins, and it is not unusual to see a sailboat or sailboard skimming across the surface. A small marina at the west end of the lake offers public access, boating necessities and bait. A second public access location is found nearby.

Fishing is a big drawing card to Paradise Lake. The tannin-stained waters hold largemouth bass, northern pike, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, and yellow perch. The lake has enough weed cover to make angling productive, although the lake is relatively shallow. Fishing tournaments are held here annually, sometimes sponsored by the Paradise Lake Association, a voluntary association of property owners who have banded together to monitor and care for their beloved lake. In recent years, Paradise Lake has become infested with invasive Eurasian milfoil, a difficult-to-eradicate foreign species. The Paradise Lake Association has led the fight to solve the milfoil problem and institute better water monitoring and controls over possible infestations from invasive species. Zebra mussels have already moved into the lake, although they have not yet affected fishing and are mostly a nuisance.

Weed harvesting, chemical treatment and weevils have failed to get the milfoil problem under control, so the locals are now trying something entirely new. The Paradise Lake Improvement Board has installed an aeration treatment developed for wastewater treatment plants called ‘laminar flow aeration’. This relatively new treatment circulates oxygen to the bottom of the water column continuously during the ice-free months. Then a safe biological activator goes to work digesting and reducing muck and sediments from the bottom. This in turn disrupts and destroys the milfoil while leaving deep-rooted native plants and fish communities undisturbed. The residents of Paradise Lake are eagerly looking forward to progress on the weed problem and to the day when boating is no longer impeded by weeds and algae. This new form of treatment has been tried in many states to clear reservoirs and lakes and has in a somewhat different form been used for wastewater treatment for many years.

A small dam was built across the Carp Lake River, sometimes called simply Carp River, at some point to stabilize water levels and perhaps increase the depth of the lake (records are pretty hard to come by for this area). It is unclear who has responsibility for adjusting flow at the dam: legal lake levels have never been set for Paradise Lake, likely because water levels have remained stable. The Carp River still flows as one of Michigan’s shortest rivers, just 10.5 miles to Lake Michigan. This particular area at the ‘Tip O’The Mitt’ has been identified as the Carp Lake area for many, many years. Less than 10 miles away, the ‘Big Mac’ bridge handles car traffic to the Upper Peninsula. Those wishing to visit Mackinaw City for a day often find lodgings around the Paradise Lake area as it is far cheaper in terms of price. That way, Mackinaw City visitors can save their cash for an extra pound or two of the famous Mackinaw City Fudge.

While in Mackinaw City, most take the opportunity to visit historic restored Fort Michilimackinac at the foot of the bridge. As for the strange name, we can blame the French who joined together four Native American words: mish-inni-maki-nong. This means something like ‘great connecting sound fault place’. To pronounce Mackinac like a native, one must always remember to make the ending rhyme with Saginaw . . .whether it ends with ‘w’ or ‘c’. Also on the grounds of the Fort Michilimackinac Historical Park are the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and nearby several other historic attractions and learning opportunities. A short ferry ride away, Mackinac island sports the famed Grand Hotel and a variety of horse-drawn activities on this non-motors tourist hotspot. Only five miles or so to the west along the Lake Michigan shoreline, Wilderness State Park offers camping, nature trails, swimming and a number of cabins built by the Civilian Conservation Corps that can be reserved for a week’s vacation. One interesting addition to these rustic cabins are the parking enclosures. Consisting of a low wall, it is suggested that guests park within them and close the gate to keep porcupines from gnawing on their brake lines during the night.

Paradise Lake is only 30 miles from historic Harbor Springs and its deep-water port. Within an hour’s drive, nearly every well-known ski resort in northern Michigan can be reached. Michigan has many miles of groomed snowmobile trails that cross near Paradise Lake, and snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing and mountain biking all find a place along the local trails. Paradise Lake is a year-round home base for both summer and winter sports, not the least of which is ice fishing. The several small resorts around the lake rent cottages with kitchenettes, offer camping spaces and sometimes also have a small motel nearby with access to the water. A number of residents advertise their private homes and cottages by the week. Although the village of Carp Lake itself is too small to have more than a couple of restaurants and pubs, lodgings can be found at Petoskey and Harbor Springs. And there is often real estate available on Paradise Lake itself. So come to visit the ‘Tip O’ The Mitt’ for a week or two to find your Paradise.

Things to do at Paradise Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish species found at Paradise Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Carp
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Paradise Lake Photo Gallery

Paradise Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Friends of Paradise Lake

Surface Area: 1,900 acres

Shoreline Length: 10 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 713 feet

Maximum Depth: 17 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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