Elk Rapids’ Hydroelectric Dam: A Critical Force

Ever wonder why some lakes that drain to Lake Michigan experience huge water level changes, just like Lake Michigan, during years of drought or heavy rain or snow? Or why Elk and Skegemog lakes and their connecting waters are relatively stable — levels are dropped only about 6-7 inches for winter maintenance. For those stable water levels, we owe huge gratitude to the Elk Rapids’ Hydroelectric Dam owned by Antrim County and operated by Elk Rapids Hydroelectric LLC owned by the Stockhausen family. The dam’s Federal Energy Commission license is in effect through 2045. The following history and description was… Read More »

Elk Lake fish survey

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will conduct its first detailed fish survey in about 20 years this spring on Elk Lake. It’ll involve late evening electroshocking in late May or early June following by netting in August. Results will be compiled and available in the spring of 2023. We’re hoping to learn a great deal about what’s happening in our lake ecosystems.

Deep water research coming to Elk

The Great Lakes Water Studies Institute based at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City will be coming late this spring to conduct deeper water surveys focused answering questions about the deeper waters in Elk Lake. A team of advanced level students planning careers in freshwater science or similar fields will be led by noted researcher Hans VanSumeren, the institute’s director, and John Lutchko, NMC’s Marine Technology Laboratory coordinator. They’ll be using the latest sonar technology. They’ll also have an ROV, a remote controlled robot capable of still and video photography at great depths. We hope to learn whether evidence of… Read More »

Anglers needed: Spring Brown Trout Survey

Since December 2018, the DNR has planted 132,000 brown trout in Elk Lake.  By now, many of these fish should have grown well over the minimum legal size limit of 15 inches.  There have been no successful fishing reports to either ESLA board members or the DNR.  So where are they? Brown trout had been successfully planted in Elk Lake in the past and were regularly caught.  This spring ESLA with help from the DNR will conduct an angler survey in an effort to understand what’s happened.  We need anglers to report their success, or lack of, to ESLA and the DNR over an… Read More »

ESLA adopts new technology to survey its waters

Beginning this week, riparians and boaters may notice a Boston Whaler with a curious raised platform edging along the shores of Elk and Skegemog lakes and the Torch River. Trailing two men in the boat at 20 to 45 feet above the water will be a drone, flown by Dennis Wiand, owner of Zero Gravity Aerial, LLC. He’ll  control flight and camera from the boat, capturing high resolution video of near shore waters and shorelines. For years, watershed groups and lake associations have conducted periodic shoreline surveys to identify clusters of invasive species, hotspots of nutrient pollution, habitat loss and… Read More »

Upcoming ESLA Events for 2021

Aug. 27 (Friday) — IT’S A HEALTHY SHORELINES THING: Meet at 5:30 p.m. at the lakefront Milton Township Park Pavilion, Cairn Highway across from township offices and party store. Antrim County’s Soil Conservation Officer Heidi Shaffer speaks at 6 p.m., discussing maintenance, improvement and creation of healthy shorelines adjoining our waters. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer, looking for plant tips or local contractors or best times to plant, don’t miss it. Food & free booklets. Aug. 28 (Saturday) — IT’S A BOAT WASH THING: 12-4 p.m. Baggs Road DNR ramp: ESLA’s third and final boat wash of 2021, co-sponsored with Tip of the Mitt Watershed… Read More »

Helper Crews needed on Elk Lake for Paddle Antrim Festival

Paddle Antrim needs Motorized Safety Boat Captains and First Mates on Elk Lake for the 6th Annual Paddle Antrim Festival on Saturday, Sept. 18. Volunteers must attend a one-hour orientation on Tuesday. Sept. 14 in Central Lake. On Sept. 18, crews must be in their designated location (Paddle Antrim will assign) by 12:15 pm and stay until the last paddler passes — usually 3-4 hours. Safety boat crew requirements: Watch for signs of distress and assist if able. Call for assistance or emergency responders if necessary. Check in with paddlers as they go by, sharing updates on upcoming water conditions, potential… Read More »

ESLA Annual Meeting returns June 25 at the ER Harbor Pavilion

By Bob Campbell Your ESLA board was determined to bring back the annual membership meeting we all missed in 2020 due to concerns about in-person gatherings during the worst of the pandemic.  We have. And it’ll be different. But still interesting and fun and a chance to chat with old friends. We won’t assemble at the venerable Historic Elk Rapids Town Hall. We won’t be drinking ESLA-supplied beer and wine or munching the fabulous hors d’oeuvres and desserts that Ruth Bay, our legendary social director, arranged each year. (They’ll return next year, we promise!) But it’ll still be ESLA’s social… Read More »

ESLA Co-Sponsoring 3 Boat Wash Days

BY: Bob Campbell ESLA will partner again this summer with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council to offer three boat wash days at the newly paved DNR Baggs Road public boat launch and the Whitewater Township public ramp. Anyone launching or retrieving a watercraft will be offered a free hull and trailer high pressure spray washdown aimed to removing any invasive plant or animal species that may have been transported from the last waterway where the craft was used. The boat wash schedule is: May 29 (Saturday), 12-4 p.m., DNR Baggs Road ramp on the south side of Skegemog Lake…. Read More »

The Reduced Mayfly Hatch Of 2020

By Kenneth Krentz Every summer from late June to early July we have a hatch of the biggest mayflies, Hexagenia Limbata, aka Hex flies, on Elk Lake, Skegemog Lake, Rapid River, and most Michigan bodies of water. They also are called giant mayfly, Michigan mayfly or simply fish fly. Their adult life cycle occurs over just a couple days from emergence, mating and egg release, to death. In that short adult stage, they cling to just about anything; boats, docks, hoists, houses, trees, etc. They die over the water and form the big mats of floating corpses we observe. It… Read More »