Parks and Recreation Lake Chelan Lake Levels

Lake Chelan Lake Levels
Thu, April 24, 2014 1:49 AM
1087.78 feet above sea level

Lake Chelan ready to welcome 2014 summer visitors

Lake Chelan draws thousands of visitors and residents to its shores each year. Whether the purpose is to fish, swim, boat or simply meander along its shores, the lake is a popular gathering place. It’s also a vital part of the Chelan County PUD network of hydroelectric resources.

A forecast of near normal runoff for 2014 makes it likely residents and Lake Chelan visitors will find conditions favorable for summer recreation this year. During refill this spring, the level of Lake Chelan is expected to be within or above the annual expected operating range for dry to average water years. Minimum (target) lake levels are expected to be met unless spring runoff is late. 

This video shows how we measure snowpack to forecast our water supply outlook:


Information about lake levels is available in real time on this page. For those on the go, posters at boat launches and marinas and rack cards distributed throughout the Chelan-Manson-Chelan Falls community display a QR (Quick Response) code that offers a direct link to current lake level readings by using their smart phones and tablets.


Click here for annual operating ranges and lake level history

Lake Chelan is the reservoir for the Lake Chelan Hydro Project. Managing the level of popular Lake Chelan requires balancing seven objectives in the operating license that together provide recreation, protect fish, reduce erosion and restore year-round flows to the Chelan River.

Managing the level of the lake is not an exact science. It involves a series of forecasts and calculations, with the added uncertainty of weather. However, updated tools and additional data will help us provide information that is more useful for residents and visitors.

Future Operation

April 8: Lake Chelan will begin refilling as the weather begins to warm. During refill this spring, the level of Lake Chelan is expected to be within or above the annual expected operating range for dry to average water years. Minimum (target) lake levels are expected to be met unless spring runoff is late. 
One of the power generating units at the Chelan Dam is being taken out of service for scheduled maintenance from March 17 to May 16. That means the lake level may increase faster than if both of the generating units at the powerhouse were available to generate power.
To give you some idea what the lake levels will be this year, here are our estimates for what you can expect based on historical data and likely runoff:

There is a 50-percent chance that the level of Lake Chelan will be:

  • 1,088.7 feet above sea level on May 1
  • 1,095.2 feet above sea level on June 1
  • 1,098.9 feet above sea level on July 1
    There is also a 90-percent chance that the level of Lake Chelan will be between:
  • 1,087.4 and 1,090.9 feet on May 1
  • 1,093.8 and 1,097.3 feet on June 1
  • 1,098.0 and 1,099.9 feet on July 1

      Targeting a Range

      Chelan PUD estimates that Lake Chelan can be operated more consistently within the expected range shown on the Dry/Average Water Years graph 90 percent of the time and meet the District’s seven license operating objectives in most years.

      We are committed to letting you know about any changes in expected lake levels as soon as we can so residents and visitors know what to expect. We welcome your comments or questions about Lake Chelan levels.


    • The District expects to maintain a range of 1,085 to 1,100 feet above sea level during dry or average water years. In wet water years lake level could fall to 1,083 feet or lower (the license minimum is 1,079 feet) as more room is needed for increased runoff. Factors that can affect lake level management include:

      • High runoff due to a wet water year
      • Early or late snow melt
      • Project operation and/or maintenance needs
      • Energy market conditions
      Public Boat Ramps at Lake Chelan

      We are sensitive to the needs of the many users of Lake Chelan. Below are the elevations at the bottom of each concrete boat ramp. As lake levels fluctuate, boaters are asked to take these elevations into consideration before launching a boat.

      Upper lake boat launch sites map
      Lower lake boat launch sites map

      Elevation at
      End of Boat Ramp
      Chelan Riverwalk Park Chelan PUD Chelan 2 concrete ramps 1080.5 feet
      Lake Chelan State Park WA State Parks Chelan 1 concrete ramp 1090.0 feet

      Lakeshore Marina

      City of Chelan Chelan 2 concrete ramps 1090.0 feet
      Manson Bay Park Manson Parks Manson 1 concrete ramp 1077.9 feet
      Old Mill Park Manson Parks Manson 4 concrete ramps 1082.9 feet
      25-Mile Creek State Park WA State Parks Chelan 2 concrete ramps 1093.0 feet