What Makes a Great Lake

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tlsharb
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What Makes a Great Lake

Post by tlsharb » Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:28 pm

As I've watched people weigh in on the thread "Courtright-Punchbowl", it really hits me how different folks reflect on different lakes. Lakes I wouldn't express any interest in (like Lower Indian) are some folks favorites, and then there are lakes I really love (like Blackrock) that no one ever mentions. So I just wanted to throw out a question-- what is it that you look for in a lake that makes it a "great lake"?
ts








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bobby49
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Re: What Makes a Great Lake

Post by bobby49 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:32 pm

The best Great Lakes are around Chicago and Detroit.

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tlsharb
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Re: What Makes a Great Lake

Post by tlsharb » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:09 pm

OK, I was wondering how long it would take before that came up. Good job, now let's get back to west.

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rlown
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Re: What Makes a Great Lake

Post by rlown » Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:14 pm

I go for the fish, not stunted fish.

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phoenix2000
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Re: What Makes a Great Lake

Post by phoenix2000 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:27 pm

Beautiful Surrounding Scenery – The prettier and more dramatic the better
a.) Cliffs – preferably granite with trees. The more dramatic looking the better. Think Nance Peak over Edith Lake
b.) Waterfalls – Love the look of waterfalls and the rushing sound of the water can lull you to sleep at night unless it’s a heavy snow year and it sounds more like your sleeping right next to a jet engine.
c.) Creeks running into or out of the lake. I love how the water looks flowing down the creek
d.) Trees – specifically Pine or Aspen trees. I don’t care for Oak trees
e.) Beach – Look nice and are nice way to enter into the water

Cleanliness of the water – How clean the water is dictates how comfortable I am using the water from it and swimming in it
a.) Bugs – I prefer lakes with fish in them so they keep it relatively bug free. Especially of the backswimmer type bugs who bite
b.) Water Clarity – I prefer that the water appears clear instead of cloudy. The one time I was at Upper Buck Lake in the Emigrant Wilderness the water was very cloudy and you could not see more than a few inches down.
c.) Free of Trash – Anytime I see trash in the water it’s a turnoff. You see this more in the popular lakes, like one time at Vernon Lake we setup camp, went to pump water and there were macaroni noodles covering the bottom of the lake.
d.) Free of Strange Foreign Substances – When I was at Maxwell Lake in Emigrant Wilderness there was a strange clear slime that ringed the shore of lake. It was in water that was around a foot deep. I had to hike way over to a spot where there was an underwater cliff in order to pump water without having to worry about the slime.

Access to water/ability to move around the lake – Lakes where the shoreline is all cliffs or bushes, are almost impossible to move around or get to the water are not among my favorites.

How many people use the lake – The more remote and thus the less people who use the lake the more attractive I find the lake

Elevation – Too low means too hot and you have Oak trees, too high and you have no trees.

Horse Packers or Cow Grazing – I do not like the idea of horses or cows pooping in the water that I am going to be drinking and swimming in. While I was at Upper Buck Lake in Emigrant Wilderness there were horses on the northern shore standing in the water and one let loose.

Depth – I prefer deeper lakes because shallower lakes tend to have lily pads and dark unattractive water

If they have a diving cliff/rock then that is a big plus

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dougieb
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Re: What Makes a Great Lake

Post by dougieb » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:57 pm

Damn, it is hard to follow the comprehensiveness of the last post but I'd say a couple things... I want solitude. I also tend to like smaller lakes that feel intimate, not so big that you couldnt yell to someone on the other side. Lakes are mirrors and I tend to like those reflect interesting peaks or surrounding scenery. I also like enough trees nearby to provide some shelter but not so many that they dominate. Its fun to have a waterfall or water feature coming in or out of the lake. Its also fun when there are multiple lakes strung together or interesting islands to break them up. So many lakes to love for so many reasons.

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dave54
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Re: What Makes a Great Lake

Post by dave54 » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:00 pm

Lots of fish and no people
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Log off and get outdoors!
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ryanerb
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Re: What Makes a Great Lake

Post by ryanerb » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:17 pm

No mosquitoes
Good fishing (quantity and quality)
Water inlets coming in
Waterfalls are a bonus
Towering peaks as a backdrop
Good campsites
No people
Good depth (20ft+)
Foliage / greenery to add beauty

To get all these together though seems to be a bit of a pipe dream... so then we start settling and prioritizing each item...

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rlown
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Re: What Makes a Great Lake

Post by rlown » Tue Jul 23, 2019 4:48 pm

Ok. When i can figure out why phpbb won't let me upload pictures (message sent to Greg), I'll say except for the fish now, Virginia Lk out of Cold canyon (yose) meets most of the criteria.

Remote - only ever saw one other party and they camped on the North side
Peaks - Close to Mattie and Wildcat peak with great views
No people
Great campsite - SW side
Deep lake
Beach - NE side

Trees mixed in with granite
Probably MYLF now as well.
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There is also this old thread along the same thought: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=4488&hilit=virginia
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Last edited by rlown on Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Wandering Daisy
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Re: What Makes a Great Lake

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:47 pm

I would not rule out a lake that has quite a few people or is easily accessible. I am thinking of Convict Lake. It is very touristy, but that does not mean it is not a great lake. Just go there off-season. Tahoe is another example. Just because it is in civilized country does not mean it is not a great lake.

I think reservoirs can also make great lakes, such as Hetch Hetchy and Courtright.

A great lake does not have to have fish; if fish that is just frosting on the cake.

For me a great lake HAS to have a great view. I prefer open alpine lakes instead of brush choked lakes. Some trees are fine, but not so thick as one cannot see get close to the shores. By virtue of this, there are usually campsites with views.

For me the best lakes are those within a cirque. I really like lakes made by terminal moraines in glaciated terrain. They have that beautiful turquoise water and are surrounded by steep cliffs of a cirque. Not a lot of these in the Sierra, a lot in the Canadian Rockies as well as the Wind Rivers. That turquoise color water is due to silt, so they do not have fish.

I also do not like lakes that are choked with algae or have cloudy water. Color and clearity matters. I do not like those olive green murky waters.

A great lake also should be photogenic. In other words be situated for good lighting at least once a day.

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