Deep is overrated. Give me a lake that I can sit down and talk about the Kardashians with, a lake that is shallow and superficial!

The Shallowest Great Lake Is Lake Erie

Lake Erie acts more like a river than a lake, transporting water from deeper brother lakes Huron and Ontario. Lake Erie averages around 62 feet deep, and is only thirty feet deep along much of it western basin, which cozies it up to the Michigan shorelines south of Detroit.

But Lake Erie seems like Stephen Hawking compared to the depth of some inland lakes in Michigan, which can run pretty shallow.

Daniel Vogel via Unsplash
Daniel Vogel via Unsplash
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So What Is The Shallowest Inland Lake?

Two large bodies of water are hands down the shallowest lakes in Michigan.

Houghton Lake, located in Roscommon County, almost dead in the center of the Lower Peninsula, is a large lake in terms of area at over 20,000 acres, but the lake only averages around 7.5 feet of depth. It's deepest spot is just 22 feet deep along its East Bay.

The lake receives most of its water from its much deeper and spring-fed sister lake to the north, Higgins Lake. Houghton Lake also is considered the headwaters for the Muskegon River, which begins its flow to Lake Michigan from the northwest corner of Houghton Lake.

Jeffery Hamilton via Unsplash
Jeffery Hamilton via Unsplash
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Houghton Has Some Serious Shallow Competition Further North

Another large body of water, Fletcher Pond, up in the northwest corner of the Lower Peninsula near Alpena, is pretty shallow as well, averaging less than ten feet deep. At times, the average depth at Fletcher Pond can be shallower than Houghton Lake, however, since it is a man made body of water, it is ineligible for the title.

Jonathan Lampel via Unsplash
Jonathan Lampel via Unsplash
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Smaller lakes like Tawas Lake in Iosco County and Grass Lake in Montmorency County are very shallow as well, but are so small they are not considered true lakes.

So what makes up a "true lake"?

Damn good question, and it's totally arbitrary. Even the Encyclopedia Brittanica is confused by the question:

Definitions that precisely distinguish lakes, ponds, swamps, and even rivers and other bodies of nonoceanic water are not well established.

Check Out the 20 Largest Inland Lakes in Michigan

Michigan boasts over 11,000 lakes throughout the state. Check out the 20 largest lakes in Michigan here. 

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