Cass County Lakes & Access Sites
The lakes of Cass County, Michigan are only one of the many natural resources available to tourists and residents. They provide year-round recreation for boating, swimming, fishing, and picnicking. Different resources put the number of lakes between 122 and over 200. Many of the smaller lakes in Cass County are private and those that are not private often prohibit motorized boats depending on the size of the lake.
Lakes with public access sites and launch sites managed by Michigan DNR or Cass County Parks are listed below.
Please refer to The Handbook of Michigan Boating Laws and Responsibilities before enjoying Cass County’s lakes and streams.
The Cass County Sheriff’s Water Patrol also enforces Michigan DNR regulations. Many of Cass County’s lakes are connected with channels. Slow, “no-wake speed” policies are strictly enforced in channels and on some of the smaller lakes.
Below you can find most of the DNR maintained boat launch sites for lakes and waterways in Cass County, Michigan.
Dowagiac Creek at Arthur Dodd Memorial Park provides water access to the Dowagiac Creek and the park entrance is at 61437 Creek Road, Niles, MI. The Dowagiac River Water flows through rural southwest Michigan. Like the Dowagiac River, the Dowagiac Creek is lined with trees and wetlands and offers fantastic views of wildlife. The Dowagiac River also offers great fishing and is known for brown trout and its steelhead and salmon runs. At this time, the section below Dodd Park to the former Pucker Street Dam site has significant log jams and requires advanced paddling skills to navigate and may also require difficult portages. Always wear a lifejacket! Be sure to stay off the river after rain events when flows may be really fast. There is a canoe/kayak rental business on M-51 north of Dowagiac offering 2-6 hour trips. Facilities include toilets and parking for 10 vehicles. Directions / DNR Launch Site
Belas Lake is 58 acres in size and is located 2 miles NE of Vandalia, Michigan. There are no public toilets but parking spaces for 10 vehicles. Directions
Birch Lake is 300 acres and the Henry Sears Boat Launch (maintained by Cass County Parks Department) is located at the intersection of Birch Road and Lake Shore Drive at foot of the hill, on the south side of Birch Lake. This park offers boating access to Birch Lake with limited parking. Directions
Bogart Lake is 31 acres in size and is located 5 miles N of Jones, Michigan. It is part of the Crane Pond S.G.A. There are 4 parking spaces for vehicles and no toilets. Directions
Corey Lake is 620 acres and is located 2 miles north of Jones, Michigan. Corey Lake is one of the larger natural, spring-fed lakes in southwest Michigan. The majority of the lake lies in St. Joseph County, with only a small portion being located in eastern Cass County. The town of Three Rivers is located 5 miles due east of the lake. Residential development is heavy along the southern and eastern shores and around the western basin of Corey Lake. Much of the north shore is still in its natural state because a large portion is owned by the South Bend YMCA and is home to Camp Eberhard. There is also a large wetland area. A state-owned, public access site exists at the western end with enough parking for nine vehicles with trailers. There are no public toilets. Directions
Chain Lake is 35 acres in size and is located in Calvin Township. It is 42.00 feet deep at its deepest point. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish including Black Crappie, Bluegill, and Panfish. Directions
Dewey Lake is 174 acres and is located 2 miles SE of Sisters Lakes. There are public toilets and parking spaces for 10 vehicles. Directions
Diamond Lake, located about 1 mile SE of Cassopolis is the largest lake in the county and is a natural spring-fed lake. This 1,020-acre lake is 64.00 feet deep at its deepest point. There is a DNR maintained access site on the south side of the lake (Lake Street) with toilets, a launch pier, and parking spaces for 60 vehicles and trailers. Access requires boaters to purchase an annual $24 launch access permit or a $6 daily permit (available at the site). Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish including Black Crappie, Bluegill, Grass Pickerel, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Rock Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Sunfish, and a few Walleye. Directions
Donnell Lake is located 1 mile SE of Vandalia, is 246 acres in size and is up to 63 feet deep. There is a small island (2 acres) on the eastern side of the lake. Development around Donnell Lake is heavy with a combination of primary residences and cottages. The only state-owned property along the lake is the public access site. Presently, it has a dirt parking lot with a hard-surfaced ramp. The launch site has toilets and can accommodate up to 10 vehicles with trailers. Directions / Donnell Lake Boat Launch / Map of Donnell Lake
Dowagiac River Creek is a designated trout stream (second-quality, coldwater) located in north-central Cass County. This first-order stream originates in a chain of lakes near Marcellus and flows in a southwesterly direction to its confluence with the Dowagiac River. There is no State-owned land along the creek, but it does flow through the Russ Forest, which is owned by Michigan State University. The amount of suitable trout water is estimated at 8.4 miles. The creek falls about 67 feet (8 ft/mile) from its source at Bunker Lake to Lake LaGrange (see map of Dowagiac Creek). Stream width is relatively constant at 25 to 30 feet, with an average depth of 1 foot. Holes deeper than 5 feet exist. Anglers currently have no problems obtaining landowner permission to fish most of the creek.
Driskels Lake in Jones, Michigan is 37 acres in size. There is a launch site with no pier, no toilets, but parking spaces for 10 vehicles. Directions.
Eagle Lake is located in Edwardsburg, just north of US-12. There is a DNR access on Eagle Lake Road. Almost no parking except roadside and no other facilities. Directions
Fish Lake is 340 acres in size and located 2 miles NW of Marcellus has a boat launch site with toilets and parking for 13 vehicles, but no launch pier. Directions
Forked Lake is 122 acres and located in Newberg Township 3 miles northwest of Jones, Michigan. There are no public facilities (toilets) and parking for only 2 vehicles. Directions
Fox Lake is 51 acres in size and located 1 mile N of Jones, Michigan. It is part of the Crane Pond S.G.A. There is parking for 3 vehicles and no toilets. Directions
Harwood Lake is 122 acres and located 2 miles northeast of Jones, Michigan. There are toilets and parking for 15 vehicles. Directions
Hemlock Lake is 63 acres in size and located 3 miles north of Marcellus. The launch site has toilets and parking spaces for 10 vehicles. Directions
James E. Heddon Memorial Park Mill Pond is 174 acres and is located 1 mile E of Dowagiac, Michigan. There are parking spaces for 20 vehicles, but no public toilets. Directions
Juno Lake is 190 acres in size and located 4 miles east of Edwardsburg, Michigan. There are a launch pier, toilets and parking for 16 vehicles. Directions
Kirk Lake is 41 acres in size and located 2 miles NE of Vandalia. There are no public toilets and parking spaces for 5 vehicles. Directions
Long Lake is 211 acres and located 3 miles NE of Jones, Michigan. There are parking spaces for 3 vehicles, but no public toilets. Directions
Magician Lake is 498 acres in size and located 2 miles east of Sister Lakes. Amenities include toilets, a boat launch pier and parking for 10 vehicles. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish including Black Crappie, Brown Trout, Channel Catfish, Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Steelhead, Walleye, and Yellow Perch. Directions
Paradise Lake located 2 miles south of Vandalia and is 185 acres, 56.00 feet deep at its deepest point. There are toilets and parking for 15 vehicles, but no launch pier. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish including Black Crappie, Bluegill, Grass Pickerel, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Rock Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Sunfish, and Yellow Perch. Directions (Use these instructions to find the public launch site at Paradise Lake: Take Lake Street north off US 12. At the intersection of Washington Blvd turn left (west) for about 100′. The mini-park and launch are on the north side of the road.)
Shavehead Lake is 289 acres in size and 70.00 feet deep at its deepest point. There is a boat launch on the peninsula at West Harmon Park on West Peninsula Dr. Anglers can expect to catch a variety of fish including Black Crappie, Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, and Rainbow Trout. Directions
Stone Lake is 148 acres and has a beautiful new public pier with boat docks and beach along M-62. All of this new construction is part of the Cassopolis Downtown Revitalization Project. Directions to Stone Lake access.