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Lakes: Cisco Lake

Part of an extensive chain of lakes, Cisco Lake feeds into the Cisco Branch about 12 miles upstream from CLT. The lake is 506 acres in size and has a maximum depth of 20 feet. Aquatic vegetation is abundant and consists mainly of submergent and emergent types. Additional fish cover in the lake includes logs and rocks. The shoals are gradual in flooded areas but quite steep in the main basin and are composed primarily of sand in the main basin and pulpy peat in the remaining areas. Spawning substrate is sufficient for the reproduction of all species inhabiting the lake. The state maintains a public access site on the northeast shore. There are inlets from both Thousand Island Lake and Lindsley Lake. The lake outlets to the north and is the origin of the Cisco Branch of the Ontonagon River.

Being a part of the Cisco Lake Chain, the water level is held artificially high by a dam on the outlet of Cisco Lake. The dam was constructed sometime prior to the 1930s and probably originated as a logging dam. In 1937 the Copper District Power Company purchased the dam and subsequently, in 1948, the Upper Peninsula Power Company purchased the dam. The purpose of the dam to this day is to provide water for power generation at Victoria Dam many miles downstream on the Ontonagon River. The elevated water level also permits the passage of boat traffic through several lakes in the Chain which would not be otherwise possible.

During the late 1930s, a structure known as a Barr Fish Lock was installed on the downstream side of the dam to lift fish from the river below into the lake. It met with limited success and is not operable at this time.

Chemical-physical parameters of the lake, measured since 1971, include pH readings between 6.8 and 7.8, Secchi disk readings of 4.6 to 14.0 feet, and an methyl orange alkalinity of 54 ppm (1971). The lake appears to be homothermous most of the time and sufficient oxygen is present for fish at all depths.

from the Michigan DNR