Anderson Ranch Reservoir, Idaho, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Idaho - Southwestern -

One of the true gems of the Idaho reservoir system is Anderson Ranch Reservoir. Completed along the South Fork of the Boise River in 1950, this project provides irrigation water for local Southwest Idaho farms, with hydroelectric power generation a secondary purpose. Long needed as a way to store water from the spring run-off of the Smoky Mountains in the Sawtooth National Forest, the Anderson Ranch Dam was begun in 1941 by the Bureau of Reclamation. One of three dams on the Boise River system, the work was delayed by a shortage of manpower and materials caused by World War II. Much of the work on the dam was eventually completed by Japanese-American laborers interned at Minidoka Relocation Center. These imprisoned citizens and immigrants were interned about 65 miles away at Hunt, ID in a camp created on Bureau of Reclamation land. In memory of their sacrifices during this dark period in United States history, the Minidoka camp is maintained as a national historic site. Certainly the many visitors to Anderson Ranch Reservoir appreciate all of their hard work, for without their labor the reservoir might never have been completed.

The 4,730-acre reservoir offers a variety of activities to visitors. Several campgrounds are provided under Boise National Forest management, ranging from modern to primitive. A number of boat launch ramps are placed along the 50 miles of shoreline, and visitors often come here to swim, water ski, jet ski, wakeboard and enjoy their power boats. In keeping with Idaho boating laws, all boats other than small inflatable rafts must show an Idaho Invasive Species sticker along with any appropriate licenses. There are few services directly on the reservoir, but several nearby private businesses sell bait, provide outfitter and guide service, and cater to the daily needs of lakelubbers.

Several hiking trails in the area provide space for mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding. Anderson Ranch Recreation Area is open for some activities year-round, with snowmobiling a popular winter sport. From here, snowmobilers can access a network of groomed trails stretching over 380 miles across varied terrain and amidst spectacular scenery. These same trails serve those who enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Adventurous visitors make Anderson Ranch Reservoir their home base for hiking the surrounding mountains or exploring up-river through the scenic canyons between towering forested slopes.

Fishing is a major drawing card at Anderson Ranch Reservoir: kokanee, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, chinook salmon, sockeye salmon, bream, bluegill and whitefish are all caught. Bull trout are also present but must be immediately released as they are protected. Trout fishing is especially good below the dam. Some of the quieter coves offer ice fishing in winter. With a surface this large, and with such varied fish habitat, it is common to engage the experienced advice of a fishing guide who knows where the best hotspots are and what bait and techniques will be successful; several are located nearby. The more remote stretches of shoreline are favorite places to explore via canoe or kayak; a large number of birds and wildlife can be seen in the Recreation Area and the surrounding Boise National Forest. Bear, deer, elk, pheasant, turkey, grouse, ducks and geese can commonly be seen, while some can be hunted in season with appropriate permits.

Non-campers can find a variety of lodgings in the small town of Pine, a short distance from the Anderson Ranch Reservoir. Several seasonal rentals are available, along with bed-and-breakfasts and lodges. The City of Mountain Home is only half an hour away and holds conventional motels and motels. Boise is just 75 miles away, making Anderson Ranch Reservoir an easy trip for a weekend of fun. For a small city, Boise has a surprising number of unusual sites that visitors will enjoy, from the Basque Museum and Culture Center to the Old Idaho Penitentiary State Historic Site, World Center for Birds of Prey, Boise Zoo, and a number of historical and scientific-themed sites. A first-time visitor to Idaho can camp near Anderson Ranch Reservoir and take day-trips to local sites or stay in the larger cities and visit the reservoir for the day. Many visitors soon find that they want to experience more of the breathtaking solitude and majestic views offered by the Boise National Forest and attempt to find private lodgings near the reservoir itself. A few can be located with excellent views of both the reservoir and the surrounding mountains. Real estate is sometimes available in these locations and quite popular for summer or vacation homes.

If you haven’t considered southwestern Idaho as a vacation destination in the past, one visit will surely change your mind. For fishing, hiking, boating, photography and wildlife viewing, few places fill the bill quite as well as Anderson Ranch Reservoir. Won’t you come and try your luck with the trout?

Things to do at Anderson Ranch Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest
  • Museum

Fish species found at Anderson Ranch Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Bull Trout
  • Chinook Salmon
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sockeye Salmon
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Whitefish
  • Yellow Perch

Anderson Ranch Reservoir Photo Gallery

Anderson Ranch Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Not Known

Water Level Control: United States Bureau of Reclamation

Surface Area: 4,730 acres

Shoreline Length: 50 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 4,200 feet

Maximum Depth: 315 feet

Water Volume: 413,100 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1950

Drainage Area: 960 sq. miles

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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