White Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - West Central -

Will White Lake again become the economic driver for the cities of Whitehall and Montague in Michigan’s West Central Region? That’s entirely possible if the ambitious years of efforts by citizens and municipalities in the area get their wish. White Lake suffered for a hundred years from the ill effects of early numerous sawmills and logging activity and later heavy manufacturing along its shoreline. Those years of heavy metal pollution and surface run-off, side effects of the industries that supported the populace, left polluted sediments distributed throughout the 2,500-acre lake. All industrial pollution was ended by the mid-1980s, as it was along most of the Great Lakes and their attached inland lakes. With the assistance of Federal and State dollars, and plenty of work by interested citizens, much of the polluted sediments have been dredged out and shoreline rehabilitation begun. White Lake can now be added to the growing list of Michigan lakes that have ‘come clean’, providing new opportunities for recreation and enjoyment on the water.

White Lake is ideally located to provide shelter and moorings for Lake Michigan’s large fleet of pleasure boaters. The lake is less than 15 miles by water north of the Muskegon harbor. The deep-water channel connecting the lake to Lake Michigan is a minimum 12 feet in depth and can accommodate most pleasure craft. And the lake supports a full nine marinas with a total of over 800 slips, fuel, food, lodgings and local attractions! The desire is to make White Lake a destination point along the Lake Michigan shore much like some of the better-known harbor destinations.

White Lake has plenty to offer both the Great Lakes sailor and the vacationing visitor or fisherman. Like nearby Muskegon, the cities of Whitehall and Montague are less up-scale than many of those farther north like Traverse City and Charlevoix. They are therefore a bit less expensive to those on a budget and will attract more visiting boaters as time goes on. And the lake is already a favored destination among fishermen!

According to fishing blogs, White Lake is known for the deep grass fishing for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Walleye, northern pike, bluegill, crappie and rock bass also draw fans. Charter service can be arranged for fishing trips on the ‘big water’ of Lake Michigan, too, so anglers can engage in their favorite sport in a variety of habitats. Marinas and local parks provide boat launch space to visiting fishermen, or they can travel light and rent a suitable boat from several of the marinas. Public docks provide space for children and those with limited mobility to fish without leaving the shore.

White Lake is an all-sports lake, and all types of water sports are enjoyed. The shoreline is well-populated with year-round homes and summer cottages. Residents and visitors enjoy pontooning, water skiing, jet-skiing, tubing, wake-boarding, swimming, canoeing and kayaking. A copy of the boating regulations is a good idea for the first-time visitor as some areas are ‘no-wake’, and the lake is regularly patrolled to ensure safety. Both Whitehall and Montague maintain city parks on the lake with picnic areas, playgrounds, boat launch and swimming areas, although the latter don’t have lifeguards on duty. Montague also maintains a small beach on Lake Michigan north of the channel for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.

In the interest of encouraging lake visitors to investigate what the town has to offer, the Whitehall Municipal Marina is investing in bicycles for transient boaters to use to get around town. They are also providing free passes to the historic 95-year-old Howmet Playhouse which produces both plays and musical events. The twin towns at the north end of the lake offer every amenity from shopping to dining, fitness centers, museums and galleries. The area is a fine place to shop for antiques, with several shops near the downtown area. On the outskirts of town, the Hart-Montague Bike Trail State Park offers 22 miles of cycling trails and is the first linear state park in Michigan. The area offers several other trails for both walking and cycling. In winter, some of the trails outside of the city limits are open for snowmobiling. Both the area around the White River – where it flows into the lake – and the marshy perimeter areas of the lake offer fine bird watching. The marsh at White River also supports a large number of mute and tundra swans.

An annual Maritime Family Sailing Regatta is one of the features of the traditional Maritime Festival held at Goodrich Park each summer. Local White Lake Yacht Club stages sailing races every Saturday and Sunday through the summer, and an annual Chamber Music Festival offers a week of music and lecture each August. Paddle sport fans will enjoy a canoe or raft trip down the White River from a canoe livery outside of town. And no visit would be complete without spending a few hours at the White River Light Station-Museum at the south pier. Originally built in 1871, the original light was powered by ‘lard oil’ and could be seen for 11-1/2 miles out on the lake. The light station was built after the Federal Government provided funds to dredge the more direct channel to Lake Michigan and avoid the old circuitous White River natural outlet. The light was officially decommissioned in 1960.

As White Lake has long been a favorite vacation area in Muskegon County, many vacation cottages and private home rentals exist on the lake. Several campgrounds are located in the area – even one owned by the City of Montague. Although not on the lake itself, this is a convenient place to park the RV and simply walk a short distance to the lake or city amenities. Several traditional hotels and motels exist in the area, and there are even a few resorts on the lake and channels. Real estate opportunities exist in the area, often with lake views or actual lake frontage.

So, come see for yourself what a beautiful area White Lake has become. Water quality is good and getting better all the time. Come in the boat and sail in, or bring the boat and sail out! There’s something for every visitor here . .White Lake aims to please!

Things to do at White Lake MI

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • City Park
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at White Lake MI

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

White Lake MI Photo Gallery

White Lake MI Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 2,536 acres

Shoreline Length: 12 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 581 feet

Average Depth: 23 feet

Maximum Depth: 70 feet

Water Volume: 61,614 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 56 Days

Drainage Area: 24 sq. miles

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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