Outdoors

Drawdowns begin at Inland Northwest reservoirs

The survival rate of young kokanee rose in Lake Pend Oreille last year after a program was launched to pull more of the predatory mackinaws from the lake. In this Spokesman-Review file photo, a kokanee swims up Wolf Lodge Creek near Lake Coeur d'Alene.  (The Spokesman-Review)
The survival rate of young kokanee rose in Lake Pend Oreille last year after a program was launched to pull more of the predatory mackinaws from the lake. In this Spokesman-Review file photo, a kokanee swims up Wolf Lodge Creek near Lake Coeur d'Alene. (The Spokesman-Review)

LAKES — Avista Utilities and the Corps of Engineers are beginning fall drawdowns that change the look of the lakes and rivers downstream.

Lake Coeur d’Alene’s annual drawdown began Tuesday to gradually take the summer level of 2,128 feet down to 2,127 by the end of September. The winter level of 2,122 feet should be reached by the end of December.

Priest Lake’s drawdown begins in the middle of October, marking the unofficial beginning of the paddling season on the Priest River. Generally too low for canoes during the summer season, Priest River takes on new life as flows are increased.

Priest Lake is lowered relatively quickly by 3 feet to its winter level by early November.

Lake Pend Oreille’s slow drawdown is set to begin soon, but not until Idaho Fish and Game, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bonneville Power Administration meet this week to negotiate a target level. Idaho Fish and Game mainly is concerned about maintaining water levels for optimum kokanee spawning. 

Preliminary results from late summer surveys indicate the lake’s kokanee continue an encouraging recovery from their crash, officials said Friday.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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