Lake Entiat, Washington, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Washington - North Central Washington -

Also known as:  Rocky Reach Reservoir

No trip to the north central part of Washington would be complete without a visit to Lake Entiat and the Rocky Reach Dam. Lake Entiat is a 9,100 acre reservoir that was created in 1962 when the Rocky Reach Dam was completed on the Columbia River in Douglas County. The glass-like waters of the reservoir make it an extremely popular lake for water skiing, sailing, jet skiing, kayaking, wind surfing, and wake boarding. Plus, the dam itself is one of the Northwest’s most popular visitor attractions, with its award-winning lawns and gardens and fascinating exhibits. Visitors will also find several parks along the 43 miles of the Columbia River that Lake Entiat encompasses. The parks provide all kinds of additional recreational activities and include camping and picnic facilities.

The Rocky Reach Dam is a hydroelectric gravity dam that is a marvel in both construction ingenuity and environmental conscientiousness. With 11 generators and 12 spillway gates, the dam is enormous. Engineers used the natural landscape of the area to their advantage, building the dam on top of super-stable metamorphic rock that is millions of years old. The steep hills surrounding the dam were shaped by tectonic uplifts. The dam includes an innovative bypass system that transports young salmon and steelhead trout that can’t negotiate the fish ladders. The Fish Bypass achieves unprecedented protection of fish species without compromising the hydropower production of the facility. It is the only system of its kind in the world capable of reusing almost all of the water used to collect fish, to generate power.

The whole family will enjoy the wide variety of things to do at the dam. The carefully manicured lawns and gardens are perfect for a picnic and a relaxing afternoon while the kids have fun in the children’s play area complete with climbing toys. A walkway high above the powerhouse floor gives visitors a view of the giant turbine-generators at work, while viewing windows provide an opportunity to watch salmon swim a fish ladder on their way upstream to spawn. For a fun and informative afternoon, the dam features a fascinating self-guided museum called The Museum of the Columbia. There are exhibits detailing early life on the Columbia River as well as the impact the river had on the lives of Native Americans and early settlers. Visitors can also learn about the building of the dam itself and see the Gallery of Electricity which shows the importance of the energy produced by this massive dam which serves more than 7 million people throughout the Northwest.

Lake Entiat has some of the best water recreation activities anywhere. At the city of Entiat’s waterfront park, visitors can launch their ski boat, jet ski or kayak and go the full length of the lake. Anglers will enjoy the wide variety of native resident fish species which include white sturgeon, bridgelip sucker, rainbow trout, northern pikeminnow, peamouth chub, mountain whitefish, chiselmouth chub, largescale sucker, bull trout, redside shiner, sculpins, and threespine stickleback. There are also many introduced resident species including largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, walleye, carp, tench, pumpkinseed sunfish, yellow perch, and brown bullhead trout. Anglers should review regulations on daily limits, allowable fishing areas and more which can be found online in the annual Fish and Wildlife Department’s fishing rules pamphlet.

Several campgrounds and parks dot the shores of Lake Entiat. Daroga State Park is a family-friendly park with one and a half miles of shoreline on the east side of the reservoir. Boat ramps and docks provide easy access to the water. Several campsites for boaters and hikers can be found on a strip of land commonly called “the island.” The park’s main campground includes baseball and soccer fields and basketball courts. The Rocky Reach Dam Park features the dam’s visitor center, the museum, picnic areas and shelters, playground equipment and extensive, award-winning landscaping. Lincoln Rock State Park is also located on the east side of Lake Entiat. This camping park is a popular place for swimming, water-skiing and sunbathing. It was named for a basalt outcropping resembling the profile of Abraham Lincoln.

Vacation rentals, including homes and cabins, are available along the shores of Lake Entiat. For those interested in living around the reservoir, land and homes are also readily available. The county has many lakes in the area, and thankfully, the people of Chelan County are forward thinking. In the 1970’s the county developed a Shoreline Master Program with ongoing updates since then. Included in those plans are various redevelopment programs to make Lake Entiat even more attractive as a recreation destination.

Being located in north central Washington makes getting to Lake Entiat a good drive from just about anywhere. From Spokane International Airport the drive is just over 2 1/2 hours, and from Seattle/Tacoma Int’l Airport it is just over 3 hours. But it is certainly worth the drive. With year-round recreation, great climate, beautiful vistas, and ongoing development initiatives, Lake Entiat is an excellent place to visit or relocate to in the beautiful state of Washington.

Things to do at Lake Entiat

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Wind Surfing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at Lake Entiat

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Bull Trout
  • Carp
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Steelhead Trout
  • Stickleback
  • Sturgeon
  • Sucker
  • Sunfish
  • Tench
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Whitefish
  • Yellow Perch

Lake Entiat Photo Gallery

Lake Entiat Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Chelan County Public Utility District No. 1

Surface Area: 9,100 acres

Shoreline Length: 93 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 707 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 703 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 710 feet

Average Depth: 42 feet

Water Volume: 382,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1962

Drainage Area: 87,800 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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