Curlew Lake (Washington)

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Curlew Lake
Curlew Lake looking South.jpg
Looking south down the lake
Location of Curlew Lake in Washington, USA.
Location of Curlew Lake in Washington, USA.
Curlew Lake
Location of Curlew Lake in Washington, USA.
Location of Curlew Lake in Washington, USA.
Curlew Lake
LocationNortheast of Republic, Ferry County, Washington
Coordinates48°43′50″N 118°39′50″W / 48.73056°N 118.66389°W / 48.73056; -118.66389Coordinates: 48°43′50″N 118°39′50″W / 48.73056°N 118.66389°W / 48.73056; -118.66389
TypeOligo-mesotrophic glacial kettle lake
Primary inflowsSanpoil River, Herron Creek, Barrett Creek, Trout Creek
Primary outflowsCurlew Creek
Catchment area64.50 sq mi (167.1 km2)
Basin countriesUnited States
Max. length7 mi (11 km)
Max. widthVaries no more than 0.33 mi (0.53 km)
Surface area921 acres (373 ha)
Average depth43 ft (13 m)
Max. depth130 ft (40 m)
Water volume39,603 acre⋅ft (48,850,000 m3)
Shore length115.8 mi (25.4 km)
Surface elevation2,333 ft (711 m)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Curlew Lake is a 921-acre (3.73 km2) lake located in the glacier-carved Curlew Valley northeast of Republic, Washington.[1] The spring- and stream-fed lake is named for the long-billed curlew, Numenius americanus, that once frequented the area.[2] The 7-mile-long (11 km) lake reaches a maximum of ​13 miles wide and includes four small islands.[3]

The average depth of the lake is 43 ft (13 m) deep with a maximum depth of 130 ft (40 m) reached in the northern area.[3] Curlew Lake provides visitors and residents with opportunities for kayaking, boating, fishing, swimming, water skiing, canoeing, and sailing. Public access is available at Curlew Lake State Park at the lake's south end.

The first elevation determinations for Ferry County establishing the water level of Curlew Lake were made from 1901 to 1903 by E. M. Fry and F.E. Fellows. The official elevation of the surface of Curlew Lake was recorded on May 13, 1901, as 2,345 ft (715 m).[4]

In 1917 the Washington State legislature granted the Curlew Irrigation District the right to overflow the shore lands bordering the lake up to and including the high-water mark.[5]

Two years later a recommendation was made by the state game warden in 1919 that Curlew Lake be made into a reservoir for storing irrigation water.[1] In 1926, with the construction of a 3 ft (0.91 m) dam at the north end of the lake, the water level was stabilized at an elevation 2,333 ft (711 m),[3] 12 ft (3.7 m) lower than the original 1901 determination.

The lake hosts a number of native and introduced fish including Salvelinus fontinalis (brook trout), Salmo trutta (brown trout), Micropterus salmoides (largemouth bass), Oncorhynchus mykiss (rainbow trout), Esox masquinongy X Esox lucius (tiger muskellunge), and Ptychocheilus oregonensis (squawfish). The tiger muskellunge, raised at the Columbia Basin Fish Hatchery in Moses Lake, were initially released into the lake in 1997 to control populations of squawfish.[6]

Several of the native mollusks found in the lake are now listed as species of concern.[7] Anodonta californiensis commonly called the California floater is a species of mussel which was formerly found throughout Washington and in disjunct populations across the Western United States. The current Washington range is limited to Curlew Lake and three other locations.[7] The severe reduction in range has resulted in the species' listing as a federal and state species of concern.[7][8][9] The masked duskysnail (Lyogyrus) and Washington duskysnail (Amnicola), both undescribed species, are found in only two glacial kettle lakes in Washington, Fish Lake in Okanogan County and Curlew Lake.[7]

Believed to have formerly ranged in glacial lakes from the Cascades to the Rockies, the Washington duskysnail is now only found in one location outside of Washington, and both snails are limited to the two lakes in Washington.[7] This isolated range has placed them on state and federal watchlists as critically imperiled species.[7][9]

Curlew Lake is one of several lakes in Eastern Washington to host a population of Euhrychiopsis lecontei (milfoil weevil) subsisting on the native milfoil species Myriophyllum sibiricum (northern milfoil).[10]


  1. ^ a b Darwin, L. H. (1919). "Fifth and sixth annual reports of the state game warden to the governor of the State of Washington". State of Washington Department of Fisheries and Game. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ Yocom, Charles F. (1956). "Re-Establishment of Breeding Populations of Long-Billed Curlews in Washington". The Wilson Bulletin. 68 (3): 228–231.
  3. ^ a b c "Curlew Lake, Ferry County 1997 assessment". Washington State Department of Natural Resources. 1997. Archived from the original on 2010-07-30. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  4. ^ Marshall, R. B. (1914). Results of spirit leveling in the State of Washington, 1896 to 1913, inclusive. Washington, D.C.: United States Geological Survey. p. 44.
  5. ^ Session Laws of the State of Washington, Fifteenth session 1917
  6. ^ "Washington department of fish and wildlife, News releases "First tiger muskies go into Ferry County's Curlew Lake July 22"". 1998-07-21. Archived from the original on 2009-05-11. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Aquatic Resources Program, Habitat Conservation Plan, Covered Species Technical Paper" (PDF). Washington State department of Natural Resources. August 2007. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  8. ^ "California Floater (Anodonta californiensis)". Endangered Species Information Network. Archived from the original on February 27, 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Washington Natural Heritage Information System: A Partial List of Animals in Washington". Washington Department of Natural Resources. February 2008. Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2009.
  10. ^ Tamayo, Mariana; Grue, Christian; Hamel, Kathy (2000). "The Relationship between Water Quality, Watermilfoil Frequency, and Weevil Distribution in the State of Washington". Journal of Aquatic Plant Management. 39: 112–116.