Lake Cushman, Washington, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Washington - Olympic Peninsula & Pacific Coast -

Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Olympic Mountains, Lake Cushman is known for its clear, blue water and alpine beauty. With 23 miles of shoreline, visitors can enjoy all kinds of outdoor recreation fun at this 4,000-acre lake including fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming, canoeing, bird watching and even scuba diving. In addition to the Olympic National Forest, Lake Cushman is surrounded by campgrounds which provide wildlife viewing, nature trails, hiking, horseback riding, and nearby golfing.

Lake Cushman is located on the north fork of the Skokomish River in Mason County, Washington. It was originally a long narrow broadening of the Skokomish River formed in a glacial trough and dammed by a terminal moraine from the last ice age. In 1895 the Antlers Hotel was built on the original lake which attracted visitors to the area to enjoy the incredible natural beauty. The lake was famous as a hard-to-reach fishing and hunting paradise. Lake Cushman was named in honor of Orrington Cushman, who served as interpreter for Governor Isaac Stevens during the Treaty of Point Elliott negotiations with Puget Sound Indians in 1854.

In 1925 Tacoma City Light built the first dam on the North Fork of the Skokomish River and flooded all existing developments, including the hotel. With the creation of the dam, water from the North Fork now flowed into an expanded Lake Cushman, then through a power plant before returning to the stream channel. In 1930, another dam was built a mile downstream to form the 2-1/2 mile long Lake Kokanee. Today, the two dams work in concert to provide electrical power to the Tacoma Power system. Ownership and operation of the lake, dam, campgrounds and power plant has been mired in a battle between the Skokomish Tribe and Tacoma Power for eight decades. A historic settlement agreement was reached in early 2009 by the Skokomish Tribe, Tacoma Power (which owns the hydroelectric project), and numerous state and federal agencies regarding issues such as river restoration, in-stream flows, fish habitat and fish passage improvements, wildlife habitat, restoration of fish populations, and recreation. Part of the agreement includes the transfer of the 500-acre campground, Camp Cushman, to the Skokomish Tribe.

Fishing enthusiasts are attracted to the lake’s refreshingly cool waters and plentiful fish. The northern shoreline features huge boulders and large trees and is a popular fishing spot. Whether fishing for relaxation and fun or for sport, Lake Cushman offers a variety of fishing experiences. Lake Cushman is open year round and is home to the abundant kokanee, rainbow, and cutthroat trout as well as the elusive landlocked chinook salmon. Three paved public boat launches at Camp Cushman (formerly Lake Cushman State Park) provide easy access to the lake, with a launch fee. Camp Cushman has overnight camping, full hookups, fire pits and picnic tables for day use. The deep water also beckons scuba divers to explore the sunken forest and the remains of the Antlers Hotel.

The nearby Olympic National Forest offers many opportunities for recreation, with over 200 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and/or biking. Trails range in length from short to long with about half of the trails located at lower levels so they can be enjoyed year round. Wildlife viewing is also common for the area where visitors will likely see bears, bobcats, chipmunks, coyotes, deer, elk, fresh water otter, mountain goats, rabbits, raccoons, skunks and squirrels. Ninety-five percent of Olympic National Park has been designated as Wilderness and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

Visitors considering building or purchasing a home in the area will find many options including single family homes, cabins, and timeshares. Lake Cushman’s shoreline is also dotted with rental cabins. The town of Lake Cushman (also known as Cushman) is an unincorporated community on the shores of Lake Cushman and is the fastest growing community in Mason County. With the Seattle/Tacoma International Airport just 43 miles away, the area is convenient to reach while still maintaining a remote feel.

Things to do at Lake Cushman

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Water Skiing
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • National Park
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Lake Cushman

  • Chinook Salmon
  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Kokanee Salmon
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Lake Cushman Photo Gallery

Lake Cushman Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Tacoma Power

Surface Area: 4,010 acres

Shoreline Length: 23 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 738 feet

Maximum Depth: 260 feet

Water Volume: 450,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1930

Drainage Area: 94 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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