The gem of the Elk River Chain of Lakes has excellent water quality. The Spring 2004 analysis demonstrated richly oxygenated water down to 150 feet with exceptionally low levels of phosphorus. The Summer 2004 observations made with our new high-tech field meter indicated super-saturated oxygen levels down to 260 feet. The exceptionally high oxygen levels at the bottom prevent phosphorus from leaching out of the bottom sediments. This helps to keep the water clear and clean. The temperature at that depth is near 4 degrees Celsius. These conditions will support healthy populations of cold-water fish such as lake trout, and white fish. Water clarity continues to be outstanding with Secchi depths of 22 feet in the North Basin and 19 feet in the South Basin. Zebra mussels have invaded this lake also but have not yet entered the explosive growth phase.
In June of 2004, Three Lakes Association received a $62,000 DEQ grant to develop a predictive water quality model for Torch Lake. This 18-month project will result in a computerized simulation that can be used by local decision-makers to combine water quality protection with managed economic growth. We are presently collecting sediment samples with NOAA designed traps located in 260 feet of water within the GPS coordinates of N-44 degrees 57.140′
W-85 degrees 18.038′.

Fishermen are cautioned to avoid trolling with downriggers in this area as the fishing gear might become tangled in the traps.

Three Lakes Association completed the Nutrient-Based Predictive Model for Torch Lake. This project was funded by a grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and matching funds from Helena, Custer, Kearney, Forest Home, Torch Lake, Milton, and Clearwater Townships.

Download the Torch Model final report
Download the Torch Model Appendices I, II, III