Parks and Recreation Lake Chelan Lake Levels

Lake Chelan Lake Levels
Thu, January 29, 2015 6:19 AM
1092.13 feet above sea level

Lake Chelan annual operating range and lake level history

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 slightly less-than-average runoff for 2015 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.

     
Lake Chelan Lake Level - Current

The expected operating range is based on a narrower range of water years from 67% to 124% of average, due to current forecasted snowpack. Lake levels are expected to be within the expected operating range most of the time. Actual lake levels may be higher or lower than the expected operating range.

Graph lines can be turned "on" and "off" by clicking on the legend names above, and a zoom function is enabled by clicking and dragging the mouse pointer over a section of the graph

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

Jan. 20: The level of Lake Chelan is unusually high for this time of year due to above average precipitation and runoff in recent months. It is estimated the lake level will be lowered to between 1,085 and 1,086 feet this winter, occurring sometime in late March or early April. There is also a 95 percent chance that the lake level will be at least as low as 1,087 feet sometime this winter. The current runoff forecast from the Northwest River Forecast Center is for 87 percent of average runoff from April 1 to July 31. That means there should be plenty of water to meet spring lake level targets, unless runoff timing is late.

Targeting a Range

Chelan PUD estimates that during dry/average water years, Lake Chelan can be operated 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.

Links

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

Site
Name
Site
Manager
Nearest
City
Launch
Type
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
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