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Lime Lake Leelanau County Ariel Photo

Lime Lake Geology

Lime Lake is a 670-acre lake with a maximum depth of 65 feet, and extensive shoal areas with depths less than 15 feet. Substrate is predominately sand and marl, with some areas of cobble and gravel present. Vegetation is sparse, though there is some emergent vegetation near the shoreline and some small submerged weed beds in water from 5 to 20 feet deep.


The land in the Lime Lake watershed is characterized by a variety of soil types including Kalkaska series sands along the west and south sides of the lake, Leelanau-East Lake loamy sands along the east side of the lake, Eastport sands between Lime Lake and Little Traverse Lake, and Lupton-Markey muck soils along Lime Creek and Shetland Creek.

Lime Lake watershed
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Natural Connections: Lime Lake's Waterways and Migratory Fish Access

Lime Lake is fed by several hillside seeps, springs, and small creeks, with the largest being Lime Creek which flows in at the southern end of the lake. Shetland Creek flows out of the north end of Lime Lake and into Little Traverse Lake, and from there Shalda Creek flows out of Little Traverse Lake and into Good Harbor Bay on Lake Michigan. Migratory fish from Lake Michigan have access to Lime Lake through this connection in years of high water or when there are no natural obstructions (beaver dams).

Hiking Trails

The Leelanau Conservancy actively manages two preserves on Lime Lake.

Teichner Preserve is a 41-acre parcel of property located on the northeast shore of Lime Lake. This property includes 200-feet of lake frontage, uniquely forested lowland, and extensive wetlands. The property is open to the public for guided tours and hiking.

Pat's Preserve protects 1,000 feet of lake shoreline and 26 acres of land including sensitive wetlands important to the preservation of the long-term water quality of Lime Lake. Pat's Preserve is a critical wildlife corridor and its wetlands support a broad diversity of  species. 

Lime Lake Leelanau County Teichner Preserve

Responsible Fishing

Lime Lake is a Type C designated trout lake that is open to trout fishing for the entire year. All tackle types may be used and the lake has a possession limit of five trout per day, with no more than three trout 15" or greater. The lake is accessible via a Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) public boat launch located on the southwestern shore of the lake. 

Management Direction

Any remaining riparian wetlands adjacent to Lime Lake and its tributaries should be protected as they are critical to the continued health of the watershed. Future riparian development and wetland loss may result in deterioration of the water quality and aquatic habitat. 
Appropriate watershed management is necessary to sustain healthy biological communities, including fish, amphibians, and birds. Generally for lakes this includes maintenance of good water quality, preservation of natural shorelines; and preservation of bottom contours, vegetation, and woody structure within the lake.

Lime Lake Leelanau County Michigan Sunset Photo

Conservation Measures

Guidelines for protecting fisheries habitat in inland lakes can be found in Fisheries Division Special Report 38 (O'Neal and Soulliere 2006). Additionally, dredging of the littoral zone should be avoided if possible on Lime Lake, particularly where gravel and cobble substrates are located. Most of the nearshore properties that are developed on Lime Lake have gravel and cobble substrates present. This nearshore habitat is critical for a number of important Lime Lake fish species, as gravel and cobble substrates provide spawning habitat and also host many important aquatic invertebrates that help to sustain healthy fish populations. 

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