Whitmore Lake, Michigan, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Midwest - Michigan - Southeast -

By far the most popular residential lake in the Ann Arbor area is Whitmore Lake. For nearly 100 years this natural lake in the Southeast region of Michigan has been home to seasonal and year-round lakelubbers who enjoy fishing, swimming, boating, waterskiing, tubing, sailing and all types of water sports. Spring-fed, the lake has no natural inlets and no permanent outlets, but a small water control weir helps maintain the lake level at the legally required 895.8 feet. In order to augment the water levels during dry periods, a channel was dug in the past from nearby Horseshoe Lake, and water is now pumped into the lake from that same source.

Whitmore Lake holds year-round homes along nearly all of the shoreline. The lake has no public beaches or parks and only one Department of Natural Resources (DNR) boat tamp to provide access to non-residents; a State Recreation Passport is required to launch. A commercial marina also offers space for launching private boats, along with slip rental and docking space. Boat rentals are also offered, including row boats, fishing boats and pontoons. Whitmore Lake is one of the most popular lakes near Ann Arbor and Howell to water-ski, so the lake is often quite busy. There are a number of ‘neighborhoods’ located around the 667-acre lake, along with a few condo complexes and the small unincorporated town of Whitmore Lake located along the southwestern shore.

Homeowners at Whitmore Lake have all the enjoyments of a close neighborhood of friends and all of the amenities of small town living, while missing nothing in the way of exciting nightlife, eclectic artisan shops and exotic cuisine in Ann Arbor less than ten miles to the southeast. Ann Arbor also offers all of the cultural and sports attractions of a major university at the University of Michigan. Upscale shopping in Howell and Brighton is less than 10 miles to the north. Detroit Metro Airport is about 30 miles away.

Fishing at Whitmore Lake is popular with a good variety of sport fish. Bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike, smallmouth bass, pumpkinseed, black crappie, redear sunfish and yellow perch are all caught, with a smattering of tiger muskie. Michigan DNR has monitored the fishery for over 60 years and experimented with a number of stocking programs. The tiger muskie have been stocked regularly since 1969 but have never become very prevalent in Whitmore Lake, nor have northern pike. Some speculate that the large amount of boat traffic on the lake doesn’t allow some of the largest predators to thrive. The bass seem to do fine, however, as do the panfish. Some naturalists speculate that the highly developed shoreline leaves little spawning area for the pike, but that drawback doesn’t prevent large numbers of anglers from enjoying a day on the water.

Resorts and guest accommodations were once common on Whitmore Lake. The resort hotels of old are long gone, but some homeowners rent their homes or guest cottages to short-term visitors. There is a large chain hotel in the town of Whitmore Lake and others along US 23, the nearby highway. Several well-known state recreation spots are nearby, including Pinckney Recreation Area, Brighton Recreation Area, Island Lake State Recreation Area and several Metroparks. Along with these opportunities for outdoor recreation, a number of small motels, guest resorts and campgrounds provide lodgings, often on a small lake. Just southwest of the town of Whitmore Lake, Independence Lake County Park has a public swimming beach, a spray park, picnic areas, a boat launch for boats under 10 horsepower and rentals of paddleboats and rowboats. Trails for nature observation meander through wetlands, woods and prairies, offering space for biking and rollerblading and in winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

The town of Whitmore Lake offers several annual activities and events that are appreciated by residents and visitors alike. Free ‘Movies Under the Stars’ are offered on the lakefront near the library in summer, and the Fourth of July celebration lasts an entire weekend, with boat parades, fireworks, races and ski show produced by the Whitmore Lake Water Ski Club. Whitmore Lake Harvest Festival occurs in late September. Besides the regular festivals and arts events in Ann Arbor such as the well-known Ann Arbor Art Fair, more unusual events happen year round. The Orphan Car Show occurs each year in Ypsilanti at the Automotive Heritage Museum & National Hudson Motor Car Company Museum. The show features autos from the long-extinct companies such as the Hudson and is likely the only glimpse of these legendary vehicles the aficionado will get. Brighton Recreation Area holds annual Hovercraft Races while the City of Brighton presents the Smokin’ Jazz & Barbecue Blues Festival. There is never a shortage of activities to enjoy in the area.

Whitmore Lake was named after Leon Whitmore who, oddly, never lived at the lake. He and a local surveyor from Ann Arbor Township were out ‘land-looking’ in the area and stopped to camp overnight near the lake. In the morning, the surveyor exercised that prerogative of all early surveyors and listed the lake as Whitmore Lake on his map. The name stuck. Now, everyone in the area knows of Whitmore Lake and likely knows someone who lives there. Real estate is often available and in a wide range of prices. Very little vacant land can be found for building, but there are existing homes in every type of configuration waiting for a buyer. Because commuting to some of the most prosperous cities in Michigan is within a short distance, Whitmore Lake is a most desirable address and a great place to come home to. So, come and visit, then come to stay. Make Whitmore Lake your favorite lake home.

Things to do at Whitmore Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Whitmore Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Yellow Perch

Whitmore Lake Photo Gallery

Whitmore Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 667 acres

Shoreline Length: 5 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 896 feet

Average Depth: 14 feet

Maximum Depth: 69 feet

Water Volume: 9,590 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 7 sq. miles

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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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