THE OTHER GREAT LAKES

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lakes mapsThe other “Great Lakes” are Houghton, Higgins, and Lake St. Helen. All three lakes will delight you with their natural beauty, wildlife viewing, and spectacular sunrises and sunsets. The combination of the three makes this region a sportsman’s fishing and boating paradise.

Houghton Lake is Michigan's largest inland lake. It is more than 7 miles long and more than 4 miles wide. For its size this is a fairly shallow lake, averaging just under 8 feet in depth. The south end of the lake has the most development. Prudenville is where you find lodging, restaurants and shopping. Houghton Lake is the site of one of a traditional winter event, Tip-Up-Town. Back in 1951, a couple of the guys were trying to figure out how to pass the long winter months on Houghton Lake. They decided to have a festival. A nationwide contest was held to come up with a name for the event. They eventually settled on Tip-Up-Town USA, a reference to the little flag on an ice fishing rig that signals a bite. Today, the festival is huge, requiring more than 200 volunteers. Events, like sled dogs, polar dip, medallion hunt, and dozens of contests and parades are held in January.

Directly north of Houghton Lake, and 5 miles west of Roscommon, is Higgins Lake. Higgins was formed when the glacier retreated north. This lake has been written of as one of the world's most beautiful lakes. Even in prehistory, the beauty of this lake was noted. The Chippewa people called the lake Majinabeesh, which means "sparkling water". The crystal clear lake is connected to Marl Lake by the Cut River. That means that there are fish, especially perch, trout and pike. Two state parks and public access points provide excellent beach facilities and boat launches.

A few miles east of Houghton and Higgins is Lake St. Helen. The lake is about 2,400 acres, very shallow, except for a couple holes, and is full of fish. Due to the differences in depth, different species of fish are found in different places on the water. The lake is man-made and seems to be three different lakes, known locally as, 1st lake, 2nd lake, and 3rd lake. One side of the lake is almost entirely free of development. It is under lease to the Duck Club. The community of St. Helen is all about outdoor activities. In fact, signs at the edge of town call this a “recreational community”.