Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
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Elk River Chain of Lakes

The Elk River Chain of Lakes drains a 321,000-acre watershed, beginning at its serene headwaters near East Jordan and emptying into the majestic deep blue waters of East Grand Traverse Bay at Elk Rapids. The sinuous chain first flows north from Beals to Scotts, through Sixmile and on to St. Clair Lake. Near the town of Ellsworth, the chain turns 180 degrees and heads south through Ellsworth, Wilson, Ben-way, Hanley and Intermediate Lakes. South of the town of Bellaire, the chain begins to open up, jogging south, west, south and west again through typically larger lakes, from Lake Bellaire to Clam and Torch Lakes, then to Lake Skegemog and Elk Lake before emptying into Lake Michigan. The combined surface area of all fourteen lakes is 34,420 acres – a veritable wealth of water resources! 

2013 Aquatic Vegetation Survey Report

The Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council (TOMWC) received funding in 2013 from the Dole Family Foundation to perform comprehensive aquatic plant surveys for Bellaire and Clam Lakes (Antrim County, MI) to address concerns involving aquatic invasive species, aquatic plant management, and fish habitat. Click here to read the full report.

Elk River Chain of Lakes Watershed Map

Elk River Chain of Lakes watershed

Volunteer Lake Monitoring Results for the Elk River Chain of Lakes

2007 Chloride levels - Elk River Chain of Lakes
Elk River Chain of Lakes Conductivity 1992 - 2007Elk River Chain of Lakes Conductivity 2007
Elk River Chain of Lakes Nitrogen 1995-2007Elk River Chain of Lakes Nitrogen levels 2007
Elk River Chain of Lakes Phosphorus 1992-2007Elk Rapids Chain of Lakes Phosphorus levels 2007
Elk River Chain of Lakes Chlorophyll AveragesElk Rapids Chain of Lakes Secchi Averages 1992-2007
Elk Rapids Chain of Lakes TSI Averages 1992-2009

Additional Resources about Elk Skegemog Lakes

Elk Skegemog Lake Profile

Elk River Chain of Lakes - Profile 2010

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council
8 pages

The report contains specific data for Bellaire Lake, Ben-way Lake, Clam Lake, Elk Lake, Elk Lake, Ellsworth Lake, Hanley Lake, Intermediate Lake, Sixmile Lake, Skegemog Lake, St. Claire Lake, Torch Lake, and Wils­on Lake from two of our cornerstone water quality programs - Comprehensive Water Quality Monitoring Program and Volunteer Lake Monitoring program. These two programs have provided valuable data on the overall health of our waters. The report also contains information about Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council's work with shoreline property owners and lake associations regarding erosion control, greenbelts and nutrient pollution.






Additional information about this lake can be obtained from the following partner organization.

Elk Skegemog Lakes Association

Do all things and take such actions as may be necessary or desireable to protect and preserve the environment of the area of the Elk-Skegemog watershed, including connecting lakes, streams and wetlands.

Contact:                 Dean Ginther, President
Mailing Address:    PO Box 8
City/State/Zip:        Elk Rapids, MI 49629-0008

Phone:                   n/a
Fax:                       n/a
E-mail:                  dean.ginther@gmail.com

Website:               http://www.elk-skegemog.org


Friends of Clam Lake

Contact:                Paul L. Sak
Mailing Address:   PO Box 173
                            Alden, MI 49612
Physical Address: 6461 Crystal Springs Road
                            Bellaire, MI 49615
Phone:                 586-268-4146
Fax:                     515-474-3120
E-mail:                 friendsofclamlake@focl.com
Website:              www.friendsofclamlake.com


Installed Fish Shelters on the Elk River Chain of Lakes

For additional information, click on the individual locations below.

View Installed Fish Shelters in a larger map
Fish shelters provide crucial protection for smaller forage fish, which is vital because shoreline development has decreased natural shallow-water structures. Shelters are constructed with all-natural materials that are approved by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and placed in 15 to 25 feet of water.

This project is a collaboration between the Watershed Center, Three Lakes Association, Friends of Clam Lake, Antrim Conservation District, Elk-Skegemog Lakes Association, Intermediate Lake Association and Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council.
Elk River Chain of Lakes Fish Shelter Project

Three Lakes Association

Fish Shelter Project Handbook

by Leah Varga, TLA Research Associate

Summer 2012

The fish shelter project is a five-year program to deploy fish shelters in five lakes of the Elk River Chain of Lakes. These five lakes are Torch Lake, Clam Lake, Lake Bellaire, Intermediate Lake, and Elk Lake.

The project will introduce shelters at each of the 80 sites throughout these five lakes in about 15 to 20 feet of water. There are three shelter types, and each of the 80 sites will be comprised of the three designs. Written permission of the riparian property owners is required for the lakefront property in order for the shelters to be deployed at that site. There was also a Michigan DEQ permit submitted in early March of 2012, and was accepted and issued June 1, 2012.

This handbook includes the objective and goals of the project, the construction and deployment of the fish shelters, and their observations.

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council • 426 Bay Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
PH: (231) 347-1181 • Fax: (231) 347-5928 • www.watershedcouncil.org
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