Cocolalla Lake, Idaho, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Idaho - Northern -

Cocolalla Lake, located in Idaho’s Northern Region, is an example of the recreational opportunities the Panhandle has to offer. The 805-acre lake is little-known outside of the Sandpoint, Idaho area; 86,000-acre Pend Oreille Lake is only six miles away and garners more attention. But Cocolalla Lake’s attractions are many; the lake offers all water sports, solitude, easy access to US 95, and beautiful views of northern Idaho mountains, wetlands and natural vistas. Located less than 75 miles from the Canadian border, Cocolalla Lake experiences four colorful and action-oriented seasons for you to enjoy.

Idaho was the last state to be explored by European explorers; the first Europeans were trappers who arrived in 1809. Prior to that time, the area around Cocolalla Lake and Pend Oreille Lake was left to the Native American tribes in the area – the Kalispel, Flathead, Salish, Kootenai and Pend Oreille. The area was populous enough that a major Native American trail ran through the area from the Spokane River through Bonner’s Ferry; the trail was later used by trappers. The eventual building of the railroad through the area finally led to more settlement near Cocolalla Lake; the current railroad travels along the east shore of Lake Cocolalla. Harsh winters and distance were likely the reason much of the land in northern Idaho never passed into private hands. Nearly 64% of the land in Idaho is managed by various agencies of the federal government. Two national forests are within a few miles of Cocolalla Lake.

The western and southern shorelines of Cocolalla Lake are mostly summer cottages and year-round residences. Another large portion of the south shore is wetlands. With the railroad taking up most of the eastern lakefront, there is little possibility the lake will be overdeveloped in the future. An active homeowners group, the Cocolalla Lake Association, works to safeguard and improve water quality in the lake. The Lake Association has battled invasive weed species successfully and is working to improve adjacent road surfaces to limit sediment running into the lake. All types of water sports are engaged in at Cocolalla Lake. Water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, sailing and power boating are favorites as are personal watercraft. It is the slower float craft that give the lake its best opportunity to showcase nature; canoeing, kayaking and pontooning allow water lovers the opportunity to spot wildlife along the wooded shoreline and waterfowl dabbling in the shallows. Cocolalla Creek, the lake’s main water source, provides spawning habitat for brown trout, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout and brook trout. Other creeks providing habitat are Fish Creek, Westmond Creek, Butler Creek and Johnson Creek. The year-round fishery also offers channel catfish, largemouth bass, crappie and perch. Once the lake freezes in December, ice fishing for perch draws many to venture onto the ‘hard water.’ A public boat launch and campground along the northern shore provide access to visitors where they can picnic, swim and enjoy the sandy beach.

The two small settlements along the shore, Cocolalla and Westmond, provide few amenities except a sense of community and shared effort during the long winters. The larger town of Sandpoint is only 15 miles north of Cocolalla Lake and offers all of the big-city amenities the visitor would need in terms of shopping and entertainment. Sandpoint offers cultural venues such as the Panida Theater and a full range of festivals and activities to entertain the visitor. For the ‘big water boater,’ access to Pend Oreille Lake is available at marinas along the shore. Closer to Cocolalla Lake, both the Kaniksu and Coeur d’Alene National Forests provide thousands of acres for hiking, mountain biking and back-country camping. Wildlife Management Areas are set aside for hunting in season in designated areas. Elk, deer and moose are available for hunting with a permit. The public lands in Bonner County contain over 400 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. A riding stable is located near Cocolalla Lake, and the quiet country roads are ideal for walking, cycling and enjoying the lake from varied vantage points. A theme park is located only 15 miles from the lake, and major ski areas are less than an hour away on 6,400-foot Schweitzer Mountain.

Only five miles from Cocolalla Lake by car, Round Lake State Park surrounds Cocolalla Creek and small Round Lake. A favorite camping spot, the park offers campsites with modern restrooms, showers, dump station, picnic tables and barbecue grills all shaded by towering western red cedar, western hemlock, ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and western larch. Canoe rentals are available at the park with facilities for swimming and some great fishing spots. The many small wetland areas around Cocolalla Lake and Pend Oreille Lake offer excellent bird watching opportunities. During high rainfall years, little Westmond Creek delivers water from Cocolalla Lake northeast to tiny Westmond Lake. The small lake surrounded by wetlands is a noted bird-watching area for raptors, shorebirds, songbirds and waterfowl from April to September.

Cocolalla Lake is a short 40 miles from Coeur d’Alene along an all-weather highway. Vacation rentals can be found along the lakeshore; several property owners rent out cabins by the week or month. Others offer their residential properties by reservation. Bed-and breakfasts are available both in Sandpoint and in the surrounding area as are hotels and resorts. There is often real estate for sale both along the lake and in the surrounding area. Cocolalla Lake is the ideal spot for those who enjoy both summer activities at the lake and loads of snow sports in winter. So, bring the boat and the skis, pack the binoculars and prepare to vacation in one of nature’s most pleasant hidden playgrounds. Discover Cocolalla Lake. Make it part of your life!

Things to do at Cocolalla Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • National Forest
  • Playground
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Cocolalla Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brook Trout
  • Brown Trout
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout

Cocolalla Lake Photo Gallery

    Cocolalla Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 805 acres

    Shoreline Length: 10 miles

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 0 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 2,208 feet

    Average Depth: 26 feet

    Maximum Depth: 40 feet

    Drainage Area: 65 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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