Williams Lake, Washington, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Washington - Northeast Washington -

Delighting anglers in eastern Washington, Williams Lake really serves up the trout! The long and narrow 320-acre lake is located less than 30 miles from Spokane near the little town of Cheney. Although a few homes perch on the northern and eastern shoreline, most visitors arrive at one of the two resorts that serve guests. Although Williams Lake has no public beach, one of the resorts offers day passes to its sandy beach for swimming, picnicking and dock fishing and is usually the destination for locals seeking a day at the lake. Boats can launch at either resort for a small fee or at the public boat launch.

The long and usually windswept lake is a favorite among sailing fans who regularly launch at the public boat ramp where there are no overhead wires. Sailboats are warned, however, that during periods of low water, this ramp may be too shallow for larger boats. All motors are permitted and waterskiing, jet skiing, sail-boarding, tubing and pontooning are favorites on hot summer weekends. Both resorts rent boats and motors, with kayaks a favorite among day visitors.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has stocked the lake with cutthroat trout, rainbow trout and triploid rainbow trout. A few tiger trout (sterile hybrid trout) can also be caught. Williams Lake is considered one of the best opening day trout fisheries in the region. Especially for Father’s Day, an extra 400 triploid trout averaging one-and-a-half pounds are stocked just before the holiday weekend, giving Dad an excellent chance at a real, keeper-size catch. More than one family has been known to plan their annual summer vacation at Williams Lake to coincide with this special stocking schedule. Fishing licenses can be obtained from the resort stores or bait and tackle shops in the surrounding area. An access permit is required when using any WDFW lands.

For those planning a week or more at Williams Lake, the resorts offer a variety of lodgings. Cabins are available for rental as are campsites for tents and RVs. A few lakefront sites are available on annual lease. Some of the private homes also offer short-term rentals, often with a boat included. Both resorts also offer an on-site restaurant that is open to the public. Regular boating clients regularly visit both restaurants for a meal while cruising the lake. The small, quiet roads around the lake are ideal for walking and bicycling. Although the immediate shoreline is mostly well-treed, the surrounding area is the bare basalt left behind from the ice-age floods that scoured all soil from the area in the distant past. The landscape is starkly bare of vegetation, lending a surreal backdrop to the waters of Williams Lake.

Williams Lake makes the ideal base for investigating the unique landscape of these ‘Channeled Scablands’. Not far from Williams Lake, a section of the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of terrains left behind after the last floods created by the sudden draining of prehistoric Glacial Lake Missoula. Here, the sudden floods left behind potholes that became wetlands and small lakes where a variety of migratory birds and waterfowl nest. Human interaction has drained many of the small wetlands in the area for farming, so these small patches of preserved landscape offer an ideal opportunity to observe the large numbers of birds and wildlife that thrive in these natural places. In spring, the small meadows fill with wildflowers, and songbirds arrive to nest and raise their young. Mammals large and small can often be seen, either grazing in the lush meadows or hunting those doing the grazing. During hunting season, a few permits are issued for controlled hunting to keep nature’s balance fine-tuned.

Many other lakes similar to Williams Lake can be found in the area. Badger Lake is just to the northeast of Williams Lake, with Downs Lake to the southwest. All are likely the remains of a former watercourse that no longer exists. Myriad small pothole lakes dot the surrounding land. Any arable acreage is farmed. The area shows the evidence of flood scouring in the expanses of basalt, many broken cliffs showing signs of early waterfalls and rushing torrents long disappeared. Farm towns and villages in the area maintain their western roots, with heritage festivals, rodeos and annual events. It isn’t hard to find a town ice scream social, a barbecue or a parade during the summer.

The Town of Cheney holds Cheney Rodeo Days in July, an event centered around a PRCA-sanctioned rodeo with a $40,000 purse. The Ice Age Flood Institute produces materials helpful to visitors taking a self-guided tour of the Channeled Scablands, with occasional educational events open to the public. As the home of Eastern Washington University, Cheney has cultural and arts-related events scheduled regularly. Two college theaters, an art gallery and many special interest events such as discussions with contemporary authors and musicians will provide something to interest nearly anyone. Several hotels in town join bed & breakfasts in providing lodgings to those who desire a bit of luxury rather than a camping resort. And big-city Spokane is only 20 miles up the road.

Spokane offers four-season fun to visitors, with plenty of outdoor adventure such as whitewater rafting, downhill skiing, horseback riding and golf. Wineries, craft breweries and unique restaurants all provide their specialties, while nightlife comes packaged in every style from dancing to karaoke to live music. Water parks, tours, amusement parks, spas and race tracks can all be found in the Spokane area. With Williams Lake only a half-hour away, a little fly fishing or a lot of sun-soaking and beach time can be available on short notice. Make Williams Lake a Father’s Day favorite for years to come.

Things to do at Williams Lake WA

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • Amusement Park

Fish species found at Williams Lake WA

  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Tiger Trout
  • Trout

Williams Lake WA Photo Gallery

Williams Lake WA Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 320 acres

Shoreline Length: 5 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 2,056 feet

Average Depth: 37 feet

Maximum Depth: 120 feet

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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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