Waitts Lake, Washington, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Waitts Lake.

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Waitts Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - West - Washington - Northeast Washington -

Set against the tree-clad mountain backdrop of Northeast Washington, Waitts Lake is a beautiful destination for the whole family. Surrounded by national forest, a wildlife refuge, and some of Washington’s prettiest scenery, it is sure to become a favorite with anyone who loves the outdoors.

Waitts Lake gets its water primarily from two creeks. The outflow runs through another creek and on to the Colville River. A small dam built in 1928 stabilized water levels. The 472-acre lake has a maximum depth of 68 feet, an average depth of 40 feet, and is full of fish. In fact, for over 50 years Waitts Lake held the state record for rainbow trout. The lake also contains abundant populations of German brown trout, largemouth bass and perch. Water sports enthusiasts enjoy motor boating, canoeing, kayaking, waterskiing, and swimming.

A four and a half mile long trail rings the lake providing ample opportunity for hiking and biking. Private resorts and campgrounds nestle in the wooded shores of Waitts Lake. There are very few vacation rentals on the lake, but many can be found on nearby Lake Roosevelt. Established in 1941 by the Bureau of Reclamation and part of the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, the 150 mile long lake was created by the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River. The recreation area is popular for boating, fishing, fishing tournaments, hunting, and camping.

Waitts Lake is in Stevens County just seven miles south of Chewelah near Colville. Settlement in Colville started with Native Americans who fished for salmon in the Columbia River. European settlers moved into the area around 1811, and Colville was eventually named Stevens County seat. Today, Colville has museums to document its rich history along with art galleries, theatres, and shops. Golf courses and a casino are also within an easy drive of Waitts Lake. In winter there are trails for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and several nearby downhill ski slopes.

A few mile north of Waitts Lake and 13 miles south of Colville, the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge is a 41,568-acre refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds. Ranging in elevation from 1,800 feet to 5,600 feet at its eastern border at Olson Peak, the refuge is home to 206 species of birds including golden eagles, northern goshawks, bald eagles and a variety of woodpeckers. Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 and is the only mixed-conifer refuge in the lower 48 states. In addition to bird watching and wildlife viewing, trails cross the refuge for horseback riding and cross country skiing.

Waitts Lake is also a short drive from the Colville National Forest. With over a million acres, the forest has trails for hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing. Hunting and fishing are available in the forest, and camping is allowed.

With its beautiful water, abundant fish, and fantastic wildlife, Waitts Lake is a great Northeast Washington getaway. Its proximity to the national forest, national recreation area, and wildlife refuge make it is an obvious choice for outdoor enthusiasts. Easy access to all the cultural opportunities of Colville makes it an ideal choice for the entire family.

Custom Waitts Lake house decor

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Things to do at Waitts Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • National Forest
  • Museum
  • Casino Gambling

Fish species found at Waitts Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Waitts Lake

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Waitts Lake photo gallery

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Waitts Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Washington Department of Ecology

Surface Area: 472 acres

Shoreline Length: 3 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,950 feet

Average Depth: 40 feet

Maximum Depth: 68 feet

Water Volume: 18,880 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1928

Drainage Area: 12 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligo-mesotrophic

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