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Lake levels are expected to be within the forecasted operating range most of the time.
Actual lake levels may be higher or lower than the forecasted operating range.
Click here for lake levels over the last 10 days
Future Operation (Sept. 14, 2021)
The “Oct. 1 Forecasted Operating Range” in the graph above represents the annual forecasted Operating Range for the water year (Oct. 1, 2020 – Sept. 30, 2021). The “Current Forecasted Operating Range” in the graph above represents the most recent forecasted operating range between now and the end of the water year (September 14, 2021 – Sept. 30, 2021).
Generation is planned to manage lake levels per the target curve to meet recreation, fish, flood control, erosion control, and tributary obstruction removal objectives. Actual water supply for the Lake Chelan basin was 103 percent of average from April – July. Lake levels are expected to slowly decrease through the month of September before drafting with full generation in October to make room for next spring’s snow runoff and intermittent fall and winter rain. Chelan County PUD does not control inflows into the lake but does plan for and react to a likely range of inflows, which are dependent on precipitation and temperatures (snow melt). The Lake Chelan Hydro Project boundary includes the Chelan River area, from the dam to the confluence with the Columbia River, including the gorge. With the exception of the Reach 1 trail and public fishing area, these areas are off-limits to the public as spill into the Chelan River can occur at any time. This web page is updated regularly to reflect the latest conditions.
For Those on the Go
Download our Current app for our section of the Columbia River and Lake Chelan to get current lake level readings on your smart phones at www.chelanpud.org/app.
Lake Level Management
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.
Targeting a Range
Chelan PUD estimates that Lake Chelan can be operated within the above Current Operating Range most of the time, and meet the District’s seven license operating objectives and target elevations 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 the lake level within a range of 1,084 to 1,100 feet above sea level during most years. In extremely wet years, the lake level could be lowered to 1,083 feet above sea level, or lower (the license minimum is 1,079 feet above sea level), as more room is needed to capture 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 is a link to our webpage showing elevations at the bottom of each concrete boat ramp – on both Lake Chelan and our Columbia River ramps. As lake levels fluctuate, boaters are asked to take these elevations into consideration before launching a boat.
Fishing and Boating Ramp Information