C. J. Strike Reservoir, Idaho, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Idaho - Southwestern -

The C. J. Strike Reservoir in Southwestern Idaho offers a wealth of opportunities to enjoy nature. Formed in 1952 when a hydroelectric dam was built across the Snake and Bruneau Rivers, the impoundment grew along both rivers to a considerable distance, forming multiple pools in the canyons that the rivers flow through. Owned by Idaho Power Company, the reservoir is named for C. J. Strike, general manager of the company from 1938 to 1948. Although the reservoir at the dam isn’t that extensive, several more basins with river between them provide welcoming water vistas to hikers, campers, fishermen and wildlife fans. The reservoir covers a total of about 7,500 scenic acres. Meandering across an arid landscape, both rivers cut impressive canyons over millennia, offering shelter and sustenance to early humans and a huge number of native and migratory species. The quest for electricity finally tamed the mighty Snake River. Idaho Power Company is determined to meet both the needs of their customers and serve the natural flora and fauna as generously as possible.

In a land with few lakes, the reservoirs built for hydroelectric power such as C. J. Strike offer a unique opportunity for visitors to engage in water sports such as water skiing, tubing, pontooning, wakeboarding and all of the active endeavors Lakelubbers everywhere enjoy. Kayaking, canoeing and rafting are popular along the narrower stretches of river. Few commercial businesses exist along the shores of C. J. Strike, so Idaho Power has provided four separate parks to offer easy access to those seeking the water. Three offer boat ramps, two provide swimming beaches, and one even includes a marina, boat dock and handicapped-accessible fishing dock. A variety of camping sites, walking paths and picnic areas allow everyone to access the water. For the convenience of nearby Mountain Home Air Force Base personnel, the base maintains a separate private marina that rents boats, pontoons and jet skis, along with the usual lakefront amenities. Water levels vary on a daily basis but not so far that water access is impaired.

Fishing is good at C. J. Strike Reservoir: sturgeon, yellow perch, crappie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, bluegill and catfish are all caught. Bass tournaments are held here regularly. Rainbow trout are stocked annually in the Snake River between Shoshone Dam and C. J. Strike Reservoir, making for exciting fly fishing in the river shallows. There is even some opportunity for ice fishing during the coldest months in a few of the shallow coves of the slower-moving Bruneau River. A local bait and convenience store in the tiny town of Bruneau at the end of the Bruneau arm will gladly divulge the fishing secrets necessary to be successful, such as best bait and hottest fishing holes.

The C. J. Strike Wildlife Management Area encompasses over 20,000 acres and extends 26 miles up the Snake River and 12 miles upstream on the Bruneau River, Adventurous visitors can enjoy a diverse area of habitat including wetlands, ponds and wildlife food plots along with grand vistas, soaring cliffs and numerous raptors soaring silently along the air currents of the heights. The varied landscapes of the Wildlife Management Area offer plenty of opportunity for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Some areas are closed seasonally to protect waterfowl and game bird nesting areas. Parts of the WMA are open to hunting in season.

Because the valley is warmer than the surrounding areas, a number of ‘half-hardy’ birds winter here. Two hundred forty species of birds are known to use the C.J. Strike area annually. American white pelican, double-crested cormorant, yellow-rumped warbler and loggerhead shrike are often seen wintering here, while about 100,000 wintering and migrating waterfowl including Tundra swans and trumpeter swans can be sighted in winter and early spring. The Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area section of the WMA is a great place to observe the many raptors, including hawks, golden eagles, bald eagles and many types of owls. The Birds of Prey National Conservation Area is just southeast of the Bruneau Dunes State Park, a bit east of the WMA. This state park holds the tallest single-structured sand dune in North America, at 470 feet tall. The dune is a favorite for climbing, and the park offers camping, picnic area, observatory with telescopes, hiking paths and two small marsh lakes with non-motorized boat access and fishing for panfish.

Other that the tiny ranching town of Bruneau, the nearest city is Mountain Home, about 20 miles to the north. Although small, Mountain Home holds several types of lodgings, including hotels, motels and at least one bed-and-breakfast. The town also boasts a winery, golf course, farmers market and historical society museum. Rodeos are regularly scheduled near Mountain Home, a reminder that the area’s history and present are both tightly tied to ranching and farming. Boise is only an hour’s drive away, making C. J. Strike Reservoir an ideal getaway for a day or a weekend. Real estate is often found available in the area, although not on the reservoir itself. Few private rentals are available, but campgrounds offer cabins for non-campers. A small private resort rents campsites and a few cabins. C. J. Strike Reservoir is the perfect spot to camp, fish and explore. Come for a day, a week or even longer. It would take months to see everything there is to see at C. J. Strike Reservoir.

Things to do at C. J. Strike Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at C. J. Strike Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sturgeon
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

C. J. Strike Reservoir Photo Gallery

C. J. Strike Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Not Known

Water Level Control: Idaho Power Company

Surface Area: 7,500 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,481 feet

Maximum Depth: 102 feet

Water Volume: 247,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1952

Drainage Area: 40,800 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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