Billy Clapp Lake, Washington, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Billy Clapp Lake — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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All About Billy Clapp Lake

Located in north central Washington, two miles northeast of Stratford, Billy Clapp Lake offers visitors year round access to its deep blue waters. Billy Clapp Lake is a part of the Columbia Basin Project built by the US Bureau of Reclamation to provide flood protection and irrigation capabilities to the thousands of acres in the Columbia River Basin and surrounding areas.

Millions of years ago, Ice Age glaciers carved deep grooves into the land as the glaciers traveled through the area creating a “coulee.” Volcanic eruptions filled some the coulees with volcanic basalt. Convinced that whatever nature had done with ice and lava in prehistoric times, William “Billy” Clapp thought that man could duplicate nature with concrete and tools and was the first person to suggest damming the Columbia River. Named for this man of foresight, Billy Clapp Lake is a natural coulee which was dammed on the lower south end by Pinto Dam to create this unique reservoir. The majority of the shoreline is steep and rocky with high basalt walls. Water spills into Billy Clapp Lake from the Main Canal of the Columbia Basin Project, creating the scenic Summer Falls.

Summer Falls State Park, located on the northern end of Billy Clapp Lake, has approximately five miles of shoreline and offers picnicking, fishing, hiking, and great views of Summer Falls. The facilities include picnic sites, comfort station, ample parking and hiking trails. The peaceful sound of the rushing falls can be heard in many areas of the park. Summer Falls State Park is a day use park only and therefore no camping is allowed. Because of a strong undercurrent created by the falls, swimming is not allowed in the park.

Because of the steep rocky banks of Billy Clapp Lake, there is very little foot access so most fishing is done by boat. Access to the lake on the south end is provided by a Department of Wildlife boat ramp which includes a dock and toilets. Northern access is provided by the Bureau of Reclamation. Fishing season is open year round with angling opportunities for sockeye, rainbow trout, walleye, yellow perch and crappie.

The majority of the land surrounding Billy Clapp Lake is the Stratford Game Reserve. This reserve is used by millions of birds as a resting and feeding place on their annual migrations along the Pacific Flyway. Waterfowl use the area for breeding grounds and a natural habitat to raise their young. Canada geese, mallards, canvasbacks, ringneck, ruddy ducks, pintails and wood ducks can be viewed as they visit the Stratford Game Reserve. Shorebirds that can be observed as you float on Billy Clapp Lake include pelicans, sandhill cranes, swans, and Caspian terns as well as ring-billed gulls, yellow-headed blackbirds, meadowlarks, and horned larks. Don’t be surprised if you also see elk, deer and other small animals making their way to the lake for a cool drink of water.

With the majestic basalt walls, the sparkling water, and the musical falls, the natural beauty of the Billy Clapp Lake and its bountiful wildlife will satisfy every nature lover.

Things to Do at Billy Clapp Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park

Fish Species Found at Billy Clapp Lake

  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Find Places to Stay at Billy Clapp Lake

If you’re considering a Billy Clapp Lake lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Billy Clapp Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Billy Clapp Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.

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Billy Clapp Lake Statistics & Helpful Links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: US Bureau of Reclamation

Surface Area: 1,010 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,335 feet

Water Volume: 21,200 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1948

Drainage Area: 190 sq. miles

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