Michigan is known for being a water-winter wonderland, so much so that we put it on our license plates! Though Minnesota may be the land of 10,000 lakes, in addition to our 5 "Great" ones the DNR estimates that Michigan has over 11,000 inland lakes across the state.

I was out at a local brewery with some friends recently when over a couple of beers, an acquaintance of mine was talking about spending summers on Mud Lake. "Ha! Yeah, which one?" we all joked, as that name could be referring to any handful of Mud Lakes across the state. That's when my wheels started turning and I got curious to find the most common lake name in Michigan.

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What Qualifies as a Lake?

The Michigan Lakes and Streams Directory of 1941 attempted to document all lakes located within the state of Michigan. However, in order to do this one must first define which bodies of water are considered to be "lakes". Michigan’s Inland Lakes and Streams Act defines lakes as being 5 acres and greater, so for the sake of this article ponds, swamps, and reservoirs are excluded.

Most Common Lake Names

According to Wikipedia, of Michigan's 11,000+ inland lakes some of the most common names include:

  • Crooked Lake (6)
  • Indian Lake (10)
  • Mud Lake (7)
  • Round Lake (4)
  • Murphy Lake (5)
  • Silver Lake (9)
  • Bass Lake (5)

However, the most common lake name in Michigan is....

via Google Maps
via Google Maps
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Long Lake

Between Alpena, Branch, Barry, Benzie, Cass, Cheboygan, Clare, Gogebic, Grand Traverse, Hillsdale, Ionia, Iosco, Iron, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Montmorecy, and Presque Isle Counties there are a total of 21 inland lakes that share the name of "Long Lake". I suppose that name is generic enough to describe just about any lake in Michigan, but I'm still surprised that number is so high!

For the record, the largest inland lake in the state of Michigan is Houghton Lake in the U.P. I was also surprised to learn Houghton Lake is considered to be one of the largest natural inland lakes in the country! At its widest point the lake is 5.5 miles wide and 10 miles long from north to south.

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