Hess Lake is a relatively large, shallow lake. A summary of the physical characteristics of the lake is presented below:
Hess Lake Physical Characteristics
Lake Surface Area 777 Acres
Maximum Depth 25 Feet
Mean Depth 6.4 Feet
Lake Volume 4,989 Acre-Feet
Shoreline Length 6.2 Miles
Shoreline Development Factor 1.6
Lake Elevation 763.3 Feet
Hess Lake has a surface area of 777 acres, a maximum depth of 25 feet, and a mean or average depth of 6.4 feet. Only about 2% of the lake is greater than 15 feet deep. Hess Lake has a volume of 4,949 acre-feet which equates to 1.6 billion gallons of water.
Hess Lake has a shoreline length of 6.2 miles and a shoreline development factor of 1.6. Shoreline development factor is a measure of the irregularity of the shoreline. A lake with a perfectly round shape would have a shoreline development factor of 1.0. With a shoreline development factor of 1.6, the shoreline of Hess Lake is 1.6 times longer than if the lake were perfectly round.
Except for the north and eastern shores of the lake where relatively hard bottom sediments are found, most of the offshore portions of the lake have soft sediment. In shallow waters less than about 4 feet, sediment depths are generally less than two feet; in deeper offshore areas, sediment depths often exceed six feet.
Hess Lake has a lake level of 763.3 feet above sea level established in 1965 by circuit court order. Water flows from Hess Lake to Brooks Lake which outlets to Brooks Creek, the Muskegon River and Lake Michigan. The elevation of Hess Lake is approximately 186 feet above Lake Michigan.
Michigan Department of Conservation Map – Hess Lake was first mapped by the Michigan Department of Conservation Institute for Fisheries Research in 1955. At that time, the maximum depths in the three deep basins of the lake measured 17 feet, 28 feet, and 29 feet, respectively.
Sediment Hardness Map – Hydroacoustic mapping conducted in 2019 indicated that, except for the north and eastern shores where relatively firm bottom sediments are found, most of the offshore portions of Hess Lake have soft sediment.
Lake Depth Map – Hydroacoustic mapping of the lake conducted in 2019 found the maximum depths in the three deep basins of 14 feet, 25 feet, and 18 feet, somewhat less than the original mapping. Outside of the deep basins, depths in the lake are shallow and similar to those measured historically.