Big Platte Lake

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Platte Lake
Location Benzie County, Michigan (Northwest Michigan)
Coordinates 44°41.48′N 86°05.63′W / 44.69133°N 86.09383°W / 44.69133; -86.09383Coordinates: 44°41.48′N 86°05.63′W / 44.69133°N 86.09383°W / 44.69133; -86.09383
Primary inflows Platte River
Primary outflows Platte River (eventually Lake Michigan)
Max. length 3.3 miles long
Max. width 1.6 miles long
Surface area 2550 acres
Average depth 24 feet
Max. depth 95 feet

Big Platte Lake is one of the many lakes located in the northwestern part of Michigan's lower peninsula. There are two Platte lakes in Benzie County, Michigan, one of them being Big Platte and the other being Little Platte.[1] Big Platte Lake covers 2,516 acres and is 3.3 miles long and 1.6 miles wide. The average depth of Platte Lake is 24 feet deep. The deepest point of the lake is measured at 95 feet deep. The Platte River flows through the lake at a speed of 120 cubic feet per second. This means the residence time for the water in Platte lake is 6 months. Also meaning that every hour 3.3 million gallons of water are passing through Big Platte Lake. This is an extremely fast residence time. The Platte River flows in and back out Platte lake and continues downstream in and out through Loon Lake until it finally reaches Lake Michigan.

Geography[edit]

Big Platte Lake is located in Benzie county, which was molded into a land full of sand dunes by the glacial formations. Along with the sand dunes, the glaciers also left many lakes in the area, not only in Benzie but throughout the area. Big Platte Lake is located at an elevation of 584 feet (178 meters) above sea level. Platte Lake is one of the largest of the lakes located in Benzie Michigan.

Geology[edit]

Big Platte Lake is surrounded by sand dunes that were formed by glaciers and it is believed that these same glaciers also formed the many lakes in the Benzie area, not excluding Platte Lake. These sand dunes and glacial formations have since 1970 been protected under state law. The lakes bottom is filled with sand much like the sand that rolls over the massive dunes that overlook Lake Michigan and that make up Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Lake environment[edit]

Seagulls are extremely prevalent in the area, as well as various species of ducks and loons. Hawks and wild turkeys are often seen around the lake. Occasionally spotted is the bald eagle. In the water there are many types of fish as well as water turtles. Around the lake, white-tailed deer, bears, and red-tailed foxes can be found.

Species of fish[edit]

Platte Lake is full of a variety of different species of fish. The types of fish include, small mouth and large mouth bass, rock bass, northern pike, walleye, brown bullhead, chinook salmon, strickbacks, bluegill and perch.

Invasive species[edit]

A foreign species of mussel, called the zebra mussel has over the past 20 years inhabited Platte Lake as well as many other lakes in the Great Lake area. These mussels help water clarity, but they are not native to the Northern Michigan area. They have been transported to North America by large vessels from Asia. They are a serious problem because they have nearly eliminated the native clam population in Platte Lake and many other bodies of water in the area.

Climate[edit]

The climate around the lake is pretty steady. Winters are dreadfully cold filled with a large amount of snow, and the summers are pretty warm but never too hot. During the winter the average low is 17 degrees F and the average high is 31 degrees F. In the summer the average low is 55 degrees F and the average high is 78 degrees F. It is not unusual for it to be extremely windy on and around the lake.

Tourism[edit]

Platte Lake is known for its vacation homes that are visible from every spot on the water. Benzie Michigan is extremely tourist oriented and is known for having a lot to do. There are many shops and restaurants not on the lake, but near the lake. You can go canoeing down Platte River. You are only minutes from the city of Frankfort, Michigan which is packed with cool shops, amazing restaurants and is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. There is also a pier, which you can walk out to view the spectacular lighthouse. Platte Lake is also minutes away from the most photographed lighthouse in Michigan, Point Betsie Light. Platte Lake is also near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which is an amazing mound of sand dunes that over look Lake Michigan from one side, and Glen Lake from the other. There are over a dozen golf courses in the area as well. The things to do in Benzie county are unlimited.

Summer rentals[edit]

There are an enormous amount of summer rental homes located on Platte Lake. Many people vacation there. During the summer tourists like to boat, water ski, wake board, tube, and sailboat on the water. Because Platte Lake is known for having such a variety of species of fish, fishing is also very popular on Platte Lake.

Fishing[edit]

To legally be able to fish on Platte Lake, you must have a fishing license.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Benzie County". Michigan DNR.