You can come across ponds in a wide variety of habitats. Nature creates some ponds, but humans take the lead in other cases. There are both permanent and temporary ponds, and within either, there exists a variety of animal and plant life. Often, people flock to ponds to enjoy recreational activities, including birdwatching and fishing. Even if birding or fishing is not your thing, a pond’s edge can still provide the ideal environment for a memorable picnic with loved ones. Michigan has thousands of ponds, but do you know where the largest is found?
How is a Pond Formed?
It all starts with a depression in the ground. A pond starts to form when there is space for water to pool. Early plants start growing at the very bottom of the pond. A pond can start as pooled water and eventually return to land over hundreds of years. These slow-changing ponds eventually become marshes, swamps, grasslands, or even forests. There are two main types of ponds, including a temporary pond that only forms for a portion of the year. Usually, these develop around springtime, but when summer rolls around, they dry up. The other type of pond is a permanent pond. These permanent ponds exist throughout the year.
Ponds vs. Lakes
Ponds are often confused with lakes, and though they may share some similarities, some specifics differentiate them. Although both bodies of fresh water are open and sit within a dip in the ground, ponds are typically smaller than lakes. Plant life thrives in ponds, meaning they have to be shallow enough for the plants to get enough sunlight. Lakes are typically too deep for plants to have the conditions they need to flourish. In a pond, the water doesn’t get deeper than about seven feet. The temperature remains steady throughout the smaller body of water; if it gets cold enough, it can freeze completely.
Largest Pond in Michigan: Fletcher Pond in Hillman, MI
Fletcher Pond covers a surprising 8,970 acres, though it can shrink to half of that during low water periods. Although most ponds have a depth of up to seven feet, Fletcher Pond is a little bit deeper, with some portions of the pond sinking down 10 feet (which is great for crappie and bluegill fishing). It’s also commonly referred to as Fletcher Floodwaters. This is a man-made pond that was formed in 1930 for water storage functions. At the very bottom of the pond, there is primarily mud with bits of sand.
Fletcher Pond Wildlife
Several fish call Fletcher Pond home, including black crappies, bluegills, yellow perches, pumpkinseeds, and northern pikes. The deeper part of the pond is ideal for finding black crappies and bluegills during spring, but to find bass and northern pikes, it’s best to head over to the northwest corner of the pond where the big bay is. Fletcher Pond is also where you can find osprey nests, and many arrive not just for fishing but to enjoy an excellent spot for birdwatching.
Where Is Fletcher Pond Located on a Map?
Fletcher Pond is located in Hillman, MI. This is close to the top of Michigan, near Alpena and the Upper Peninsula. It is a man-made pond that spreads over almost 9,000 acres. As Michigan is the land of lakes, this pond is in good company.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Bennian/Shutterstock.com
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