Silver Lake (Spokane County), Washington, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Washington - Northeast Washington -

Visitors to Northeast Washington can find a lakeside paradise at Silver Lake. Only 20 minutes southwest of Spokane, Silver Lake offers nearly 500 acres of boating, swimming and fishing fun for the lucky vacationer who chooses this destination. This proximity to both Spokane and Medical Lake makes Silver Lake an ideal place to spend a relaxing weekend or a full week on the water. Never far from city services, the lake offers several campgrounds and resorts geared specifically to the visiting vacationer. The lake’s attractive vistas are not lost on the increasing numbers of property owners who have purchased full-time residences along the east side of the lake: Silver Lake’s popularity is increasing by leaps and bounds.

Silver Lake, along with Medical Lake and the many other lakes found locally, is a natural lake resulting from past glacial actions. Best known as a premier trout fishing lake, Silver Lake is popular for boating, sailing, swimming, wake-boarding, canoeing and kayaking. The shoreline is shaded by stately pines, making one forget they are close to the city instead of at a far-distant wilderness campsite. Many visitors return year after year to a favorite resort or campground. The lake is close to Fairchild Air Force Base, making it a favorite recreation spot for the families of personnel stationed at the base.

A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife boat launch occupies a corner of the northeastern shore. The facility was recently improved and a fishing pier and dock added to offer more space for shore fishing. Although known as prime brown trout, German trout and rainbow trout waters, Silver Lake also offers anglers largemouth bass, crappie, tiger muskie, smallmouth bass, bluegill and perch, along with rough fish such as bullheads and tench. Boats can be rented from several of the resorts along the lakefront. The lake usually does not freeze reliably enough to be useful for ice fishing, but is open for fishing year-round.

In addition to several commercial resorts and campgrounds along Silver Lake’s shoreline, a church camp on the west side of the lake provides over 300 acres of recreation and water fun during scheduled children’s camp week and adult retreats. The far northern shoreline of Silver Lake is divided from North Silver Lake by West Medical Lakes-4 Lakes Road. The lake was originally all one large lake until the road was built. Now, North Silver Lake is entirely private and can only be publicly accessed along the road right-of-way; there is no boat navigation between the two water bodies.

Nearby Medical Lake holds all necessary services and is a well-known recreational destination in its own right. The town of Medical Lake includes Medical Lake itself, along with nearby West Medical Lake and several smaller lakes. Here Silver Lake visitors can find small-scale shopping, medical services, movie theaters, restaurants and the inevitable fast food establishments. Although Medical Lake is only about two miles from Silver Lake and has annexed an area extending to the shore, Medical Lake does not maintain any recreational facilities on Silver Lake. Instead, Medical Lake provides a variety of parks and trails within the town.

Silver Lake is not a part of the Medical Lake community, but instead falls under the jurisdiction of Cheney, five miles to the south. The area falls within western Spokane County in an area popularly known as West Plains. Silver Lake is one of the four lakes that comprise what is referred to as the Four Lakes community. Tiny Four Lakes lies about three miles east of Silver Lake and provides limited services. Cheney, a few miles south of the lake, offers a variety of parks, a historical walking tour and a full range of services. Whereas Medical Lake developed based on the minerals mined from Medical Lake itself, Cheney developed as a railroad, farming and commerce town, so the two evolved quite differently.

Lakes in the West Plains area and farther south were created by sudden and extreme flooding when a gravel dam broke at huge, pre-historic Lake Missoula. The sudden flood sent torrents of trapped water across the plains, gouging out wide, broad canyons in its wake. The resulting landscape has an extra-terrestrial appearance in many places, with evidence of now-dry falls hundreds of feet in height, canyons that don’t relate to the streams flowing across their floors, and a series of lakes, ponds and wetlands that form a waterfowl haven immediately west of the mountains. Called the ‘Channeled Scablands’, the landscape is unique and provides interesting geological features that delight geologists and photographers alike.

One location near Cheney that is open for public viewing is the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge. This series of wetlands, trails and ponds show how flooding eroded volcanic deposits to form the wetland areas that are home to deer, elk, moose, river otter, badger, coyote, a great blue heron rookery and a breeding population of trumpeter swans. The Visitor Center is located about 20 miles south of Silver Lake, southwest of Cheney. Certain areas are closed to the public during some seasons to provide undisturbed breeding areas for protected wildlife. The refuge contains many trails for hiking, mountain biking and auto touring.

Getting to Silver Lake isn’t hard at all: the lake is only a mile or so north of Interstate 90 west of Spokane. Vacation rentals can be located in both Silver Lake and Medical Lake, often on the waterfront. The area is well-supplied with modern hotels and motels; the resorts and campgrounds are eager to welcome visitors. Reservations are recommended on busy holiday weeks, however, as local popularity often limits available space. Campgrounds can accommodate both tent campers and recreational vehicles. Those in the market to purchase property will find real estate available near the lakeshore. Condos and townhouses are in the planning stages on the east shore and should be available soon. So plan your first visit to Silver Lake today. You’ll soon find yourself a repeat visitor; one weekend is all it will take to make you fall in love.

Things to do at Silver Lake Spokane County

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • Movie Theater
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Silver Lake Spokane County

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Trout
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Tench
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Trout

Silver Lake Spokane County Photo Gallery

Silver Lake Spokane County Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 486 acres

Shoreline Length: 9 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,341 feet

Average Depth: 30 feet

Maximum Depth: 80 feet

Water Volume: 14,580 acre-feet

Drainage Area: 19 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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