"Are the lakes here?"
To elaborate on what Olimo said a bit, есть is used when asking about the existence or otherwise of an object, and not when asking about a characteristic of that object (such as location). In the English sentence, the existence of the lakes is not in question. We know there are lakes. We want to know if they're here or somewhere else. Therefore есть is omitted.
Then you can use есть. But don't get confused, есть is not used as "is" in English, although it is it's litteral translation. You'll generally not have to use it in the present tense, except for possession (у меня есть кот=I have a cat) Or to specify if something does exist, like in the case you were talking about.
It's really bothering me that these sentences aren't very consistent. Sometimes it'll only accept [noun] здесь, and sometimes it will only accept здесь [noun]. If all it changes is the emphasis, shouldn't both be accepted? But every single time it asks to translate a sentence like this, it only accepts one, with no indication of which.