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Anchor Bay (Michigan) facts for kids

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Anchor Bay
Michigan Macomb county Lake St Clair Anchor Bay Selfridge AFB IMG 1817.JPG
Aerial view of the Anchor Bay from the south towards north, over Macomb County
Location of bay in Michigan, United States
Location of bay in Michigan, United States
Anchor Bay
Location in Michigan
Location of bay in Michigan, United States
Location of bay in Michigan, United States
Anchor Bay
Location in the United States
Location (Great Lakes)
Coordinates 42°37′N 82°43′W / 42.617°N 82.717°W / 42.617; -82.717
Type Freshwater Bay
Primary inflows St. Clair River, Clinton River, Black Creek and Salt River.
Primary outflows Lake St. Clair and then to the Detroit River
Basin countries United States, Canada
Max. length 9 mi (14 km)
Max. width 10 mi (16 km)
Surface area 90 sq mi (233 km2)
Islands Strawberry Island, and the tips of Dickinson and Harsens Island
Settlements Detroit

Anchor Bay is a freshwater bay that lies to the North and is a part of Lake St. Clair and is located in the U.S. state of Michigan. Anchor Bay is best described as the Northern region of Lake St. Clair. It generally encompasses the waters north of a line between Huron Point (which is part of the Lake St. Clair Metro Park Beach and not to be confused with Port Huron) and the Middle Channel of the St. Clair River (which enters Lake St. Clair in between Dickinson Island and Harsens Island). It has a total surface area of over 90 square miles (230 km2) and the depth ranges from 1 to 11 feet (0.30 to 3.35 m). Overall the bay is quite shallow for its immense size.


The bay is situated about 25 miles (40 km) northeast of the downtown areas of Detroit, Michigan. It is just south of New Baltimore, Michigan and borders Harrison Towship, Clinton Twp., Chesterfield Twp., Anchorville, Ira Twp., Fair Haven, Clay Twp., and several islands including Dickinson and Harsens. The area is notable for the fact that Canadian waters lie to the south of the adjacent United States territory and make up a major portion of Lake Saint Clair.

Anchor Bay measures over 8 nautical miles (15 km; 9.2 mi) from north to south and over 9 nautical miles (17 km; 10 mi) from east to west. Its total surface area is over 90 square miles (230 km2). The bay is fed by the St. Clair River, which flows southwards from Lake Huron and has an extensive river delta where it enters Lake Saint Clair. This is the largest delta of the Great Lakes System. This bay is part of the Great Lakes System.


As early as 1710, the English identified the lake on their maps as Saint Clare. By the Mitchell Map in 1755, the spelling appeared as St. Clair, the form that became most widely used. Some scholars credit the name as honoring the American Revolutionary War General Arthur St. Clair, later Governor of the Northwest Territory, but the name Lake St. Clair was in use with the current spelling long before St. Clair became a notable figure. Together the place name and general's name likely influenced settlers' naming a proliferation of nearby political jurisdictions: the Michigan county and township of St. Clair, as well as the cities of St. Clair and St. Clair Shores.

The origin of the name has also been confused with one Patrick Sinclair, a British officer who purchased land on the St. Clair River at the outlet of the Pine River. There, in 1764, he built Fort Sinclair, which was in use for nearly twenty years before being abandoned.

Unlike most smaller lakes in the region – but like the Great Lakes – Lake comes at the front of its proper name, rather than the end; this is reflective of its French origins.

Water quality

Anchor Bay is a part of the largest freshwater delta in the Great Lakes. Current water quality is quite good despite past incidents and a history of chemical bio-accumulation. A number of cities source drinking water from or just downstream of the lake and quality is closely monitored.

In the early 1970s, the Canadian and American governments closed the commercial fishery over concerns of bio-accumulation of mercury. The industry responsible for this contamination was the Dow Chemical Chlor-Alkali Plant in Sarnia, Ontario. Since 1949, Dow Chemical had been operating mercury cell plants for the production of chlorine and other chemicals. From their production process, mercury was being discharged into the river and contaminating the fishery. The fishery has not been re-opened since, although studies have now confirmed mercury levels are well within the safe range.

Boat clubs

Many yacht clubs (boating and sailing clubs) are located along the shores. Some of which include:

  • Clinton River Boat Club (Club Island), near Harsens Island, Michigan
  • Albatross Yacht Club, Anchor Bay, Michigan
  • North Star Sail Club, on the Clinton River, Harrison Twp, Michigan

Public beaches

  • New Baltimore - Beach at Walter and Mary Burke Park in Downtown New Baltimore, Michigan
  • Lake St Clair Metropark - Harrison Township, MI
  • Most of the small islands on the bay (Strawberry, Grassy Bends (known as "Grassy" locally)) have a sandy beach or a sand bar to enjoy. Be aware that some are not family friendly areas (Such as nearby Gull Island is one example especially during Jobbie Nooner weekend.


Many of North America's fresh water fish species can be found in the lake throughout the seasons. Species popular with anglers include bass, bluegill, bullhead, catfish, muskellunge, northern Pike, perch, salmon, smelt, steelhead, sturgeon, trout, and walleye. Several invasive species also inhabit the lake, including zebra mussels, sea lampreys, alewives and round gobies.

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