Principal lakes of the United States

Circular 476



The United States has about 250 fresh-water lakes that are known to have surface areas of 10 square miles or more. Nearly 100 of these are in Alaska, and 100 in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York,, and Maine.

Thirty-four fresh-water lakes, exclusive of the Great Lakes, are known to have maximum depths of 250 feet or more. Twenty of these are in Alaska, and Alaska undoubtedly has more lakes of that depth which have not been sounded.

The amount of water stored in natural lakes even exclusive of the Great Lakes is much greater than the amount stored in artificial reservoirs. With the exception of the Great Lakes, however, the economic value of natural lakes is surpassed by that of artificial reservoirs. Natural lakes are best known for the recreational advantages they afford.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Principal lakes of the United States
Series title Circular
Series number 476
DOI 10.3133/cir476
Year Published 1963
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Dakota Water Science Center, Utah Water Science Center, Indiana Water Science Center, North Dakota Water Science Center
Description iii, 22 p.
Country United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N