Lake Pend Oreille begins to refill for summer

Army Corps announces opening dates for local recreation spots

By Reader Staff

On April 1, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials at Albeni Falls Dam began summer refill operations for Lake Pend Oreille, limiting outflows and allowing for the lake to take on snowmelt in the lead-up to the warmer months ahead.

The lake will refill from its winter pool of 2,051-2,052 feet above sea level to approximately 2,062.5 feet at the targeted summer pool, with levels measured from the Hope gage. The journey to summer pool is never linear, as temperatures and precipitation affect the rate of runoff through spring and early summer. Right now, USACE officials predict a lake elevation of approximately 2,055 feet by the end of April.

Looking east toward Gold Hill from south Sandpoint. Photo courtesy Rich Milliron.

To track lake level yourself, visit the Northwest River Forecast Center website at and click on the icon over Lake Pend Oreille, titled “HOPI1.”

As for other USACE operations going into summer, the Corps has shared its opening dates for several local recreation areas, starting with the Trestle Creek Recreation Area on April 1. Coming up, the Riley Creek Recreation Area opens Saturday, May 6 while Albeni Cove, Priest River “The Mudhole” and Springy Point Recreation Areas will open for the season Saturday, May 13.

As for camping, sites at Albeni Cove, Priest River, Riley Creek and Springy Point Recreation Areas are available by reservation only, online or by phone, at or 1-877-444-6777.

Public tours of Albeni Falls Dam are available by appointment by calling 208-437-4617, and the Albeni Falls Dam Visitor Center will be open seven days a week starting Memorial Day weekend.

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