Potholes Reservoir, Washington, USA
Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Potholes Reservoir.
If you’re considering Potholes Reservoir vacation rentals, we’ve made it super easy to explore accommodations and nearby hotels using the interactive map below. Simply click on a listing to compare similar properties, best rates and availability for your dates. Or keep scrolling to read our Potholes Reservoir guide!
Potholes Reservoir visitor and community guide
Potholes Reservoir was formed by the building of the O’Sullivan Dam which is one of the largest earthfill dams in the United States. The name “pothole” originated due to large depressions in the earth in that area, some as large as 70 yards wide by 60 feet deep, created during the Pleistocene flooding in prehistoric times. These potholes were filled in the 1950s after the completion of the O’Sullivan Dam, and water began to fill the reservoir.
The Potholes Reservoir and O’Sullivan Dam were built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation as part of the Columbia Basin Project. The O’Sullivan Dam was named after James O’Sullivan a local attorney who campaigned continuously to bring water to the then dry area of central Washington. The main purpose of the Potholes Reservoir is to collect return flows from all irrigation in the upper portion of the project for reuse and irrigating in the lower portion. With a maximum depth of 142 feet and mean depth of 18 feet, there is a wide fluctuation of water in the reservoir due to the irrigation process. No power is generated from the O’Sullivan Dam.
Surrounded by sand dunes and rocky canyons, Potholes Reservoir is a nature lover’s paradise. Located on the Pacific Flyway, birdwatchers can watch millions of birds use the area as a resting and feeding stop on their annual migrations in addition to the many birds and waterfowl that are native to the area. Bass, perch, sunfish, crappie are plentiful for fishing in the Potholes Reservoir. Jackrabbits, ground squirrels, marmots, muskrats and a large variety of mice are abundant in the area where coyotes are the most abundant predatory mammal. Mule deer can be seen in the fringe areas where appropriate habitat exists.
Located on 640 acres with 6000 feet of shoreline, Potholes State Park has over 350,000 visitors a year. There are four boat ramps for boating and other water sports, as well as sandy beaches for swimming. Campsites with and without utility hookup are available however, no campsites are next to the Potholes Reservoir.
Built to bring beneficial water to the farming lands, Potholes Reservoir has become a recreational and nature retreat for thousands. Whether you come for the recreational activities, the great fishing, or just to enjoy the natural beauty of the terrain, Potholes Reservoir will definitely will be worth the trip.
Custom Potholes Reservoir house decor
Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.
Things to do at Potholes Reservoir
- Vacation Rentals
- Wildlife Viewing
- State Park
Fish species found at Potholes Reservoir
Best hotels and vacation rentals at Potholes Reservoir
The Potholes Reservoir map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.
Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.
Potholes Reservoir photo gallery
New photos coming soon!
Potholes Reservoir statistics & helpful links
Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed
Water Level Control: Bureau of Reclamation
Surface Area: 27,800 acres
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,052 feet
Average Depth: 18 feet
Maximum Depth: 142 feet
Water Volume: 500,000 acre-feet
Completion Year: 1949
Trophic State: Eutrophic
We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.
Advertise your Potholes Reservoir vacation rental
LakeLubbers will soon offer homeowners and property managers the opportunity to to showcase their vacation rentals to the thousands of lake lovers searching our site daily for accommodations. If you’d like additional details, please contact our advertising team here.
Looking for the Potholes Reservoir forum?
LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.
Spread the word! Share our Potholes Reservoir article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!