All About Lake Superior

Lake Superior Weather

Predicting the weather any where is never an easy task. However, here on the North shore this is even more of a challenge. It is a challenge because of a phenomenon known as the “lake effect” which can drastically alter the predicted weather.   In the summer the shore line of Lake Superior tends be about 10° cooler than if you are to drive about five miles inland up the ridge where it is about 10° warmer. The opposite effect happens in the winter time, the shore is 10° warmer and up the ridge is about 10° cooler.  This is because water is slower to absorb and release heat than land. Storms can quickly become stronger than expected with the added moisture and speed of the wind traveling across the lake.  This can create gale size waves and massive snow storms depending on the direction of the wind.  Fog is another factor that is created because of the lake effect. Fog hides Duluth under a heavy blanket for 52 days in an average year by comparison, Minneapolis averages 11 day.

Ship Wrecks 

Lake Superior is responsible for at least 350 reported shipwrecks. The oldest of which was the SS Algoma and it sank on November 7th1885.  The most famous of the ship wrecks the Edmund Fitzgerald just celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Here at Sawtooth Outfitters we sell a book called “The Night the Fitz Went Down” a great book to read if you are interested in learning more. Looking for a fun book to spice up the camp fire talk, “Haunted Lakes I and II” tells ghost stories from the Great Lakes.

Sizing out Lake Superior

  • Lake Superior is the largest of the great lakes. It could easily hold all the other great lakes and still have room left over.
  • Lake Superior holds over 3 quadrillion gallons of fresh water and is the 3rd largest volume lake in the world.
  • There is enough water in Lake Superior to flood all of North and South America with 1 inch of water.
  • The length of Lake Superior is 350 miles long (West to East) and 160 miles wide (North to South).
  • 1,826 miles of shoreline, 2,726 miles if you include all the islands.  There are over 400 Islands on Lake Superior the Largest is Isle Royale.
  • Surface area is 31,700 miles. This is the largest of any fresh water lake in the world!
  • Average depth of the lake is 483 ft with a max depth of 1,332 ft.
  • Over 300 rivers and streams empty into Lake Superior.
  • Water is retained on Lake Superior, on average, every 191 years.
  • Average temperature of the Lake Superior is 40°F… Burrr.

Minerals of Lake Superior

  • Iron
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Copper
  • Zinc

Gemstones of Lake Superior

  • Agates
  • Amethyst
  • Greensyone
  • Thomsonite

Want to learn more about the minerals and gemstones of Lake Superior? We have fun books to check out here at Sawtooth Outfitters are “Agates of Lake Superior” and “Lake Superior Rocks and Minerals”. 

Fish of Lake Superior 

Lake superior is home to over 88 different fish species, such as:

  • Bloater
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Burbot
  • Carp
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Coho Salmon
  • Freshwater Drum
  • Lake Herring
  • Lake Sturgeon
  • Lake Trout
  • Lake Whitefish
  • Longnose Sucker
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Pink Salmon
  • Rainbow Smelt
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Rock Bass
  • Round Goby
  • Round Whitefish
  • Ruffe
  • Sea Lamprey
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Walleye
  • White Perch
  • White Sucker
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Superior is also home to at least 36 species of waterfleas. Don’t worry, they aren’t harmful to people, but play an important role in the Great Lakes food chain. Two alien species are causing problems, the fishhook and spiny water fleas.

Looking for more information on how to fish Lake Superior? Check out the book we have here “Fishing Lake Superior”.

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