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Michigan is fortunate to have many fishing and water sport destination options. Cass Lake, just a 30-mile ride from Detroit, is a popular freshwater lake destination in southeastern Michigan. Located in affluent Oakland County, Cass Lake is bordered by Waterford Township, West Bloomfield Township, Orchard Lake Village, and Keego Harbor and is the largest lake in this 900 square mile county. The lake was named for former Michigan governor Lewis Cass.
Cass Lake is in a morainic basin and is one of a large number of glacial-formed lakes in the area. The smaller Orchard Lake to the south drains into Cass Lake through a narrow channel with a one foot elevation change between the lakes. From Cass Lake the drainage passes through Otter and Sylvan Lakes to the Clinton River which is dammed by the Price Dam a short distance below Sylvan Lake. Lake levels are monitored and maintained by Oakland County for flood control, enhanced recreational use, and property value protection. Lake levels are lowered from winter to spring to prevent ice damage and flooding.
With a great reputation for year-round fishing, anglers will love Cass Lake any time of year. In addition to fishing by boat, fishing enthusiasts can head out on the lake's fishing pier to find northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, rock bass, perch, splake and lake trout. The lake is stocked with Walleye every other year - currently on odd years - by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR occasionally stocks it with other fish, as it did during the 2006 and 2007 season, stocking it with a small number of Rainbow Trout. Cass Lake is also one of the more popular ice fishing destinations in southeast Michigan, as it is a consistent producer of a variety of pan fish. Michigan's Department of Community Health publishes a fish consumption guide. Cass Lake has a consumption advisory for smallmouth bass and walleye over 14 inches.
Fishermen aren't the only ones who will enjoy their visit to Cass Lake. In the summer, sunbathers will enjoy lounging on the white, sandy beach with its one mile of shoreline. Rent a pontoon boat, go swimming, canoeing or paddling to cool off on a hot sunny day. In the winter, visitors can go ice skating, cross country skiing and snowmobiling. Ice sailing is a new and increasingly popular sport as well. Dodge #4 State Park, located on the northern end of the lake, provides several amenities including a bathhouse with showers and changing area, picnic areas, grills and shelters overlooking Cass Lake. There are no camping or overnight facilities, nor are there marked foot trails. However, hiking is encouraged throughout the park.
For Michigan standards, Cass Lake is blessed with moderate temperatures, with high 70's and 80's in the summer and just around the freezing mark in the winter. The mild climate combined with an amazing choice of activities makes Cass Lake a great lake to visit.
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