By Cameron Rasmusson
As North Idaho winds its way into autumn, the draw-down of Lake Pend Oreille is scheduled to begin this month and advance in October.
According to the Lakes Commission, the top foot of Lake Pend Oreille will begin flowing into the Columbia River Monday, Sept. 18. It won’t be lowered more than a foot before Sept. 25 and will begin its full draw down around Oct. 1. By the time Kokanee salmon begin lake spawning around Nov. 15, the lake will likely reach its lowest level of between 2,051 and 2,051.5 feet.
The draw-down schedule is the result of a deal struck between the state of Idaho and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in 2014. Under the deal’s terms, the draw down begins the third weekend of September or Sept. 18 — whichever is later — unless there is an emergency. The compromise was reached after many local businesses and property owners complained that an earlier draw down hurt Sandpoint’s tourist-heavy summer season.