Spider Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Northwest -

With more than 50 lakes in Grand Traverse County alone, Michigan is a wonderful state for lake lovers to explore. Spider Lake, in the Northwest tourism region of Michigan, is a freshwater inland lake with a reputation for great fishing and excellent recreational opportunities. The 459-acre lake is very clear, and in some of the more shallow sections it’s common to be able to see the bottom of the lake, which can be up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) of clarity in some areas. This natural lake contains a variety of fish species, including crappie, pike, perch, bluegill, and bass, which are all favored for fishing. Motorboats are allowed on Spider Lake, but there are specific no-wake zones near the shore and in the shallower areas that must be heeded. Motorized watercraft are also required to obey speed limits during certain hours of the day, but that doesn’t stop revelers from enjoying this unique lake. Public boat launches are available on the southwestern shore, and boat rentals and bicycle rentals are available around the lake as well.

With a maximum depth of 32 feet, Spider Lake is great for swimming. Water activities are plentiful at Spider Lake, with man-powered watercraft like canoes, rowboats, kayaks, and paddle boats mixing with jet skiing, parasailing, and windsurfing. Winter brings the opportunity for ice fishing, snowmobiling, snow tubing, sledding, snowboarding, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, and exploring the rustic landscapes covered in glittering snows. Hunters and trappers also enjoy the rural aspect of the forestland around Spider Lake; the dense canopies and full woods provide a variety of game nestled in their natural habitats.

Spider Lake has an unusual and irregular shape, with sinuous legs of water sprawling in every direction. The shallow lake has five small islands, which are numbered but not named. The lake is also unusual because it features no true inlet and no true outlet. Water makes it way into the lake via underground sources and groundwater infiltration. Keeping the landowners around Spider Lake aware of the importance of maintaining water quality to preserve the desirable nature of the lake is a goal of the Spider Lake Property Owners Association. This organization has been in existence since 1996, with the protection and preservation of the lake as its main goals, as well as to educate visitors and other interested parties about the things that can be done to maintain Spider Lake’s current high quality, aquatic habitats, and natural beauty.

The area around Spider Lake is a haven for hikers and those who enjoy scenic landscapes and the lush cover of pine and oak forestland. Golfing is available, with championship courses found close by, and horse back riding is another pastime enjoyed by area residents and vacationers. Tennis courts are available in some locations.

Spider Lake is situated just south of East Bay Township and north of Paradise Township. Mayfield Township is to its southwest and is the closest population center, with about 1,300 residents; and Garfield Township is to the northwest. The Traverse City State Forest Area is found around much of Spider Lake, especially on the northeast and southeastern sides. This northwestern corner of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is dotted with many small lakes, including Bass Lake, Chandler Lake, Denzer Lake, George Lake, High Lake, Indian Lake, Spring Lake, Tibbets Lake, and Vandervoight Lake. Three of the larger lakes around Spider Lake are Arbutus Lake to the southwest, Rennie Lake to its southeast, and Island Lake to its east. Orchards and vineyards are popular stops for vacationers in this area. The soil and climate in the area are perfect for growing grapes, which makes for a variety wineries here, some of which are internationally known. Most wineries are staffed by friendly and helpful folks who are happy to provide free tastings.

Interlochen, Michigan, located nearby, can make a great planned day trip. A short drive to the west brings travelers into the village of Interlochen, which is home to the Interlochen Center for the Arts, a multipurpose school and large gathering place and center that hosts live theater events, outdoor concerts in a covered auditorium, a summer youth art camp, adult art courses, and art gallery showings. Performances range from rock groups to orchestras to children’s musical features to Shakespeare festivals. The Interlochen Center for the Arts brings an incredible spectrum of musical and artistic talent to Northwest Michigan and draws audiences from near and far.

Spider Lake is situated in Grand Traverse County within a 20-minute drive of Traverse City. Traverse City is the largest of the cities found in Northern Michigan. With so many natural attractions and a thriving tourism industry, Traverse City is the second most popular city for vacationers and travelers in Michigan. It hosts many annual events, including the Traverse City Film Festival in the summer, the Festival of the Senses in the fall, and the National Cherry Festival each July. Traverse City State Park has more than 350 campsites on 47 acres; there are picnic areas, grills, beach areas, and a newer playground.

About 25 miles to the west of Traverse City is Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, a wonderful place to visit while traveling the Northwest region of the Lower Peninsula. With secluded beaches, large and pristine sand dunes, and the surrounding views of Lake Michigan, this attraction is like no other. These unusual dunes were formed when glacial sands were laid down on high plateaus during the last ice age. The North and South Manitou Islands, accessible only by boat, are a part of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore. North Manitou Island is accessible via ferry and by private watercraft, and camping is allowed with permits. South Manitou Island, the smaller of the two islands, can also be reached by ferry and is the location of dozens of known shipwreck sites. Both islands are popular with backpackers and hikers.

For those who are ready to book a vacation based around Spider Lake and its many area attractions, be assured that lodging is plentiful. There are numerous motels and hotel chains, as well as smaller inns and private vacation homes. Family-run cottages and motels mingle with condominiums, wooded lodges, bed and breakfasts, and full-service resorts. The popularity of the region allows most of these accommodations to remain open year round, and some are pet friendly for a vacation where the whole family is invited to participate.

Things to do at Spider Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Parasailing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • State Forest
  • Playground

Fish species found at Spider Lake

  • Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish

Spider Lake Photo Gallery

Spider Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 459 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 866 feet

Maximum Depth: 32 feet

Lake Area-Population: 1,271

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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