Posts tagged: Priest River
RIVERS – The best time to float the Priest River comes and goes, but the next couple of weeks will be worth checking out.
At its extremes – up to 10,500 cubic feet per second and down to 165 cfs – the river is basically too high for safe passage except for experts or too low to float without dragging a vessel over the rocks.
During summer through early fall, when most people would be lured to portions of the river downstream from Priest Lake, the water generally is too low to float without bouncing and scraping along the rocks.
However, inexperienced paddlers running inflatable boats can have a safer, enjoyable float at flows in the 600-1,000 cfs range in the Eight Mile Rapids stretch from McAbee Falls downstream. (See description below.)
Prime times for experienced paddlers farther upstream are:
Read on for more details and notes on flows from Spokane Canoe and Kayak Club diaries.
PADDLING — The drawdown of Priest Lake to its winter level will begin Oct. 8.
The drawdown generally is complete by early November and brings the lake down three feet from a summer elevation of 3,427.64 feet to the winter level of 3,424.64, said Karl Duncan, the dam operator.
The lake’s drawdown also launches the unofficial beginning of the paddling season on Priest River. Generally too low for canoes during the summer season, Priest River takes on new life as flows are increased.
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.