Lake Roosevelt, Washington, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Washington - Northeast Washington -

Also known as:  Lake Franklin D. Roosevelt

Lake Roosevelt, located approximately 90 miles northwest of Spokane, Washington, covers 82,000 acres with a shoreline of 630 miles. Lake Roosevelt, also known as Lake Franklin D. Roosevelt, was formed when the Grand Coulee Dam was completed in 1942.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal to create jobs and stimulate the economy, and in conjunction with the Columbia River Basin project, the damming of the Columbia River and Grand Coulee project began when the first stake was planted on July 16, 1933. Today the Grand Coulee Dam provides crop irrigation to over 600,000 acres of agriculture land, flood control to communities downstream on the Columbia River, and electrical power to over four million residents in eleven western states. In addition, the creation of Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area provides vacation and recreational facilities to over one million visitors a year. The Lake Roosevelt Recreation Area and Grand Coulee Dam are managed by the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Park Service, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a cooperative venture.

Lake Franklin D. Roosevelt is long and narrow, stretching out over 150 miles from the Grand Coolee Dam to the Canadian border. The width generally ranges from one-half to one mile, narrowing as it nears British Columbia in Canada. With a maximum elevation of 1,290 feet and a minimum elevation of 1,208 feet, the lake level is adjusted by the Bureau of Reclamation in cooperation with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, and the Bonneville Power Administration to provide hydroelectric power, irrigation, and water for downstream fisheries. Typically, the lake levels are lowered in late fall or early winter in preparation for flood control from the spring and early summer runoff at which time the lake is allowed to refill to full or almost full capacity by late June.

If you would like to explore the natural wonders of Lake Roosevelt but still enjoy the comforts of home, rent a houseboat and enjoy nature watching from the on-board hot tub. While cruising, keep an eye on the shore for wildlife including black bear, moose, elk, and mountain lion. Smaller game you might witness frolicking and drinking from the lake could be beavers, coyotes, mink, bobcat, and the endangered gray wolf. If you prefer to put your head back and gaze overhead, you might just see a few of the over 200 species of birds in their natural habitat including the endangered bald eagle. Should you wish to try your luck with fishing, your bait may be swallowed by rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, sunfish or crappie. If you decide you must leave the luxury, there are many places along the shoreline where you can anchor and go on shore to visit local amenities.

Of course, if you prefer to enjoy the traditional ways of exploring nature such as camping, swimming, boating and hiking, the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area offers many campsites, boat ramps and swimming areas for the public use. Golfing and horseback riding are also available.

History buffs will want will to spend time at the Keller Heritage Center and Kettle Falls Historical Center where exhibits show the history of the Coulee area and 9000 years of human life from the early Native Americans to present. More excitement can be found at the Two Rivers Casino located on the Spokane Indian Reservation or the Coulee Dam Casino on the Colville Indian Reservation. Be sure to enjoy the beautiful laser light show at the Grand Coulee Dam. The colorful show tells the story of the dam with a combination of music, narration and lights. Shows are free and can be viewed nightly from the end of May to the end of September at many vantage points around the dam.

With a shoreline in Ferry County, Stevens County, Lincoln County, Grant County, and Okanogan County as well as the Spokane Indian Reservation and the Colville Indian Reservation, Lake Roosevelt runs through miles of public and private land. Four distinct seasons, scenic views of Lake Roosevelt, abundant nature, and close proximity to many recreational facilities entice visitors to return as permanent residents or to invest in a vacation or second home in this beautiful area. Whether you crave a quiet commune with nature, the lights and bells of a casino, or a relaxing day on the beach, Lake Roosevelt has it all.

Things to do at Lake Roosevelt

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Casino Gambling

Fish species found at Lake Roosevelt

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Lake Roosevelt Photo Gallery

Lake Roosevelt Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Surface Area: 82,000 acres

Shoreline Length: 630 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,290 feet

Maximum Depth: 400 feet

Water Volume: 9,402,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1942

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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