Lake Huron is the second-largest of the Great Lakes of North America, with a surface area of 23,000 square miles, making it the third-largest fresh water lake on Earth by surface area. It is bounded on the east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the west by the state of Michigan in the United States. Lake Huron boasts over 30,000 islands, and at least 25 lighthouses. Despite the number of lighthouses, there have been over 1,000 shipwrecks in Lake Huron. Glass bottom boat tours provide tourists with views of some of the famous shipwrecks in Thunder Bay.
Unlike Lake Erie’s relatively short retention time, Lake Huron’s retention time is roughly 22 years. The lake originally supported a native deepwater fish community dominated by lake trout, which fed on native fishes. The lake trout were virtually extirpated from the lake by 1950 due to a combination of overfishing and the effects of sea lamprey. Nonnative Pacific salmon have been stocked in the lake since the 1960s, and lake trout have also been stocked in an attempt to rehabilitate the species, although little natural reproduction of stocked trout has been observed. Lake Huron has suffered recently due the introduction of a variety of new invasive species, including zebra and quagga mussels, the spiny water flea, and round gobies. Chinook salmon catches have also been greatly reduced in recent years, and lake whitefish have become less abundant and are in poor condition.
Like Lake Erie, the area surrounding Lake Huron has a strong tourism appeal for vacationers or local residents seeking hiking trails, museums, horseback riding, golf courses, nature centers, parks, float trips, and waterfalls. There is something for everyone, from the history and nature buffs to the hardcore adventure-seekers.