Torch Lake (Antrim County, Michigan)

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Torch Lake
Torch Lake Antrim County (July 2019).jpg
Torch Lake is located in Michigan
Torch Lake
Torch Lake
Location within the state of Michigan
LocationAntrim County, Kalkaska County, Michigan
Coordinates44°59′00″N 85°18′30″W / 44.98333°N 85.30833°W / 44.98333; -85.30833Coordinates: 44°59′00″N 85°18′30″W / 44.98333°N 85.30833°W / 44.98333; -85.30833
Basin countriesUnited States
Max. length19 miles (31 km)
Max. width2 miles (3.2 km)
Surface area18,770 acres (7,600 ha)
Average depth111 ft (34 m)
Max. depth285 ft (87 m)[1]
Water volume0.78 cu mi (3.3 km3)
Surface elevation591 feet (180 m)[2]
SettlementsAlden, Eastport, Clam River, Torch Lake, Kewadin
Another view of Torch Lake

Torch Lake at 19 miles (31 km) long is Michigan's longest inland lake and at approximately 18,770 acres (76 km²) is Michigan's second largest inland lake. Surrounding it are several townships including Torch Lake Township, Central Lake Township, Forest Home Township, Helena Township, and Milton Township in Antrim County and Clearwater Township in Kalkaska County, Michigan. Several villages and hamlets lie along its shore, including Alden, Eastport, Clam River, and Torch Lake. The lake is about 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Traverse City and is separated by narrow strips of land from both Grand Traverse Bay on the northwest and Elk Lake at the southwest end. The lake is about two miles (3.2 km) wide and is centered at 44°59′00″N 85°18′30″W / 44.98333°N 85.30833°W / 44.98333; -85.30833. It has a maximum depth of 285 feet (87 m) just off the east end of Campbell Rd. (Milton Twp.) and an average depth of 111 feet (34 m), making it Michigan's deepest inland lake, as well as the state's largest by volume. It is a popular lake for fishing, featuring lake trout, rock bass, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, Pike, ciscoes, brown trout, steelhead, rainbow trout,  Atlantic salmon and whitefish.

The name of the lake is not due to its shape, rather, is derived from translation from the Ojibwa name Was-wa-gon-ong meaning "Place of the Torches", referring to the practice of the local Native American population who once used torches at night to attract fish for harvesting with spears and nets. For a time it was referred to by local European settlers as "Torch Light Lake", which eventually was shortened to its current name.

The lake is known for nature activities including hiking, canoeing, fishing and diving. Owing to the low amount of boat activity, it is a nature-lovers paradise. Noted for its exceptional beauty; its waters are unusually clear and exhibit a bright turquoise hue, often resembling Caribbean waters. This quality has made the lake a popular spot for the development of resorts and second homes with notables including Kid Rock, Eminem, and Michael Moore[3][4] owning vacation homes on the lake.

Torch Lake is part of a watershed that begins in northern Antrim County with Six Mile Lake, which is connected by the Intermediate River with Lake Bellaire. The Grass River flows from Lake Bellaire into Clam Lake, which in turn drains into Torch Lake via the short Clam River. Torch Lake itself is drained by the Torch River, which flows into Lake Skegemog, which opens into Elk Lake. Elk Lake flows into the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay at Elk Rapids. This watershed is popularly known as the Chain of Lakes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Michigan’s 20 Largest Lakes.
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Torch Lake (Antrim County, Michigan)
  3. ^ Critic tweaks Occupy Wall Street supporter Michael Moore for Torch Lake manse | Detroit Free Press. Retrieved on 2011-12-27.
  4. ^ "Michael Moore's Lavish Lakefront Michigan Mansion -- See The Photos". November 13, 2011. Retrieved December 24, 2012.

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