Read about the mighty dam that lives in Hamlin Lake, how it came to be and how it is utilized to help protect this man-made lake.
Discover Hamlin Lake
Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography
Hamlin Lake is a beautiful 5,000 acre water paradise just north of Ludington in West Michigan.
If you’re looking for a fun, inexpensive family vacation, then Hamlin Lake is where you want to be. It offers terrific summer recreation, including swimming, boating, tubing, and fishing. At more than 12 miles long and 5,000 acres large, it is the largest inland man-made lake in Michigan. There’s more than enough space for everyone without feeling crowded. Hamlin Lake originated during the logging hey-day when lumbermen dammed the Big Sable River to make an enormous holding pond for trees felled upstream.
Located along the western shore of Hamlin Lake is the Ludington State Park. Within the park is the Hamlin Lake Dam, a great spot for catching salmon in the fall. The sandy shoreline of Hamlin Lake Beach is popular with swimmers and sunbathers. It features picnic lawns, concession stands, and restrooms. From here you can begin your walk on a hiking path, or rent a canoe or kayak and take a leisurely glide on marked paths that meander along the state park’s shoreline.
Hamlin Lake touches the Manistee National Forest on the north, towering dunes in the west and miles of undeveloped wilderness all around. The eastern shoreline of Hamlin Lake is filled with family-friendly resorts and cottages…many with marinas where you can launch your boat or rent one for the day.
Visitors can rent a boat, kayak, or other watercraft to visit the dunes, Ludington State Park, and more. | Todd & Brad Reed Photography
Hamlin Lake Sand Dunes & Natural Beauty
The northern shore of Lower Hamlin Lake is comprised of beautiful sand dunes. It’s a great place to anchor your boat just off shore and enjoy sunning or sandy-bottom swimming. Climb the dunes for a magnificent view of Hamlin Lake and Lake Michigan. Just to the west of the dunes, you can land your boat at the shoreline and follow a trail into the Ludington State Park and the Hamlin Lake dam.
Two fishermen cast their lines into Hamlin Lake. Hamlin is home to several types of panfish, walleye, perch, and more. | Todd & Brad Reed Photography
Fishing on Hamlin Lake
The fishing is great on Hamlin Lake! Whether you traverse the bayous or head for deeper waters, Hamlin Lake offers a smorgasbord of fish. Tiger muskie, northern pike, large and small mouth bass, perch, crappie, bluegill and over 600,000 walleye, planted several years ago, promise a superb catch. The fishing doesn’t cool down in winter either. Tip-ups and shanties dot the ice as fishermen pull in delicious panfish and walleye. There are many businesses around Hamlin Lake which serve boating and fishing enthusiasts. We offer a Hamlin Lake fishing map and fishing reports to help you get started.
Visitors can find an activity for the whole family any time of year. Ice-skating and cross-country skiing are popular during the winter months in the Ludington State Park. | Todd & Brad Reed Photography
Four Seasons of Fun!
Hamlin Lake is a wonderful destination during the warmer months, but winter is beautiful as well. During the winter, ice-shanties are scattered on the frozen lake and you can participate in a local ice-fishing tournament. Winter also means ice-skating and cross-country skiing on miles of groomed trails along Hamlin Lake and through Ludington State Park’s frozen wilderness, truly making Hamlin a lake for all seasons.
A rainbow bends over lower Hamlin Lake in late September. | Moko Media
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Experience Hamlin Lake
Take a paddle down the Hamlin Lake Canoe Trail. Venture out on the trip yourself, or join a guided trip lead by Dune Grass Concessions.
Long Skinny Park is located on Lower Hamlin Lake between the South and Middle bayous. Perfect for fishing or taking in the view.
Cast your line into Upper Hamlin Lake or enjoy a picnic, the playground, or watch Hamlin Lake’s Independence Fireworks at Wilson Hill Park.
The Hamlin Lake Beach within the Ludington State Park is fun for the whole family! With a dedicated, weed-free swimming area and more!
Small destinations within themselves, visitors of Hamlin Lake will go on an adventure to find their perfect dune.