What to Do: Oakland County Lake Living in the Winter

Who said you can’t have just as much fun when the water is frozen?


Winter is close around the corner. The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are falling and soon you’ll start to notice that the beautiful lakes are starting to freeze.  Most would think it’s time to pack up all the fun and head into hibernation for the next few months. We’ll we’re here to tell you that’s simply not the case!

Did you know that Oakland County, Michigan is one of the best places to live if you want to enjoy all aspects of lake living? Even in the winter!

Here are just a few activities that you can enjoy when the temperature drops.

Ice Fishing

Now you may not know it, but there are over 11,000 lakes in the state of Michigan, 358 of them are located in Oakland County alone!  There is plenty of opportunity to snag a few big ones during the winter. Whether you’re drilling a hole and plopping down on your trusty bucket, or making yourself at home in your shanty there are plenty of fish in the sea (well, lake in this case).

Michigan has over 150 species, and the majority can still be caught when the water freezes over. Popular fish include panfish like perch and bluegill, northern pike, walleye and various species of trout.

Broom Hockey/Pond Hockey

Being so close to Canada, it’s only natural that us Michiganders would pick up an obscure Canadian game like Broom Hockey. Some call it Broomball. This recreational game can be played both indoors and outdoors. It most likely originated from trying to play ice hockey without skates. Goals are scored by hitting the ball into your opponents net using a broom (the rules are similar to that of ice hockey).

Speaking of ice hockey, if you choose to be a little more traditional, you can always trade in your ball and brooms for some sticks and a puck and play yourself a good old fashioned game of pond hockey.

Ice Skating

Everyone’s favorite winter pastime is heading out with friends and family to ice skate. Although most people don’t have the advantage of stepping right out into their own backyard and onto the ice. Like we said before, with 358 lakes in Oakland County there are many of shores that people call home. Invite some friends over because strapping on some skates, friendship and hot cocoa go hand in hand.

Wildlife Watching

Now this might not seem like the most exciting way to spend your winter, but trust me it’s worth it.

Tons of species migrate south to deal with harsh northern winters. Some like warblers fly thousands of miles before they reach their final destination. Other birds fly as far as it takes to find open water. Even white-tailed deer start to migrate when temperatures get too cold. They may not flee to Central America but they will trek miles to find shelter from frigid weather and deep, deep snow.

But this isn’t the case for all northern animals. During the winter months keep your eyes open at your lake house because you’re likely to see a snowshoe hare or weasel. Both of these animals have fur that changes color when the temperature drops so they can blend with the snow.  Or watch for coyotes and foxes, particularly in Oakland County, which you’re much less likely to find roaming in populated areas in the warmer months.

Snowmobiling 

When it comes to experiencing a winter wonderland, you don’t need to go much further than your own backyard, especially living in Oakland County. There are several sanctioned snowmobiling trails located just outside of metro Detroit.

All snowmobiling routes in the state require 4-6 inches to open. They are mostly located in state parks and public parks. Be sure to stay alert of pedestrians and other people enjoying the snow. Opening day for snowmobiling is December 1st. All trails in Michigan will stay open until March 31st, annually, weather permitting.

Keep in mind the state of Michigan and Oakland County will require you to have permit for all riders, and all State Parks require recreation passports.

Here are a few of our favorite trails in Oakland County to go snowmobiling:

If you know anything about Michigan you know the lengths of your seasons are limited so make the most of them! We hope you enjoyed our suggestions on ways to enjoy Oakland County lake living in the winter months.

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