Pine River Channel, Charlevoix

Ironton Ferry, Ironton

Lake Charlevoix Facts & Stats

How big is lake charlevoix?

Lake Charlevoix is the third largest lake in the state with a surface area of over 17,200 acres (70 km²) and 56 miles (90 km) of shoreline. The maximum depth in the main basin is 122 feet (37 m) and in the south arm, 58 feet (18 m).

Fish in Lake Charlevoix...

Lake Whitefish, Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Pumpkinseed Sunfish, Rainbow Trout, Rock Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Black Crappie, Bluegill, Brown Trout, Channel Catfish, Cisco, Walleye, and Yellow Perch.

Aquatic invasive species...

Aquatic invasive species are a problem in Lake Charlevoix. The open connection with Lake Michigan allows any invasive species present in Lake Michigan to enter Lake Charlevoix unimpeded. The Lake Charlevoix Association, Charlevoix County Conservation District, and Watershed Council have worked diligently to educate residents about invasive species, as well as document and control specific invasives. In particular, watershed partners have focused much of their work on mapping and treating invasive Phragmites. The invasive Phragmites control efforts, which began in 2008, have been very successful in preventing the spread and dominance of this aggressive invader along the Lake Charlevoix shoreline.

RIvers and streams in the watershed...

The lake’s largest tributaries are the Jordan River, feeding into the south arm at East Jordan, and the Boyne River, flowing into the main basin from the east at Boyne City. Other significant tributaries include Horton, Stover, Porter, and Loeb Creeks. The outflow of Lake Charlevoix is the short Round Lake/Pine River complex which discharges into Lake Michigan at Charlevoix. The lake’s watershed covers 335 square miles (870 km2) in Charlevoix and Antrim Counties, and a small portion of the northwest corner of Otsego County.

One of the best lakes in America...

In 2012, Lake Charlevoix was voted the second best lake in America in a USA Today poll, behind only Lake Tahoe. Being awarded this honor is partly due to the many forms of recreation the lake provides, including swimming, kayaking, sailing, fishing, diving, boating, water skiing, and just relaxing on the beach.

Water levels...

Because Lake Charlevoix is directly connected to Lake Michigan through the Pine River Channel in Charlevoix, its water level fluctuates with that of Lakes Michigan and Huron. In fact, the Pine River can flow in both directions! Most of the time, water flows out of Lake Charlevoix through the channel, but sometimes the flow is reversed due to a natural phenomenon called a seiche. A seiche is a rise in water level at one end of a lake caused by wind-driven waves; in this case, westerly winds push water up along Lake Michigan’s eastern shore, causing the Pine River to flow back into Lake Charlevoix. The current can be quite strong either way.

Follow this link for monthly water level updates:




Lake Charlevoix Association

P.O. Box 294

Charlevoix, MI 49720

  • Protecting the natural quality and beauty of Lake Charlevoix
  • Promoting understanding and support for safe, shared use
  • Advocating sensible & sustainable practices for lake use & development