Payette Lake Article

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[File:Payette Lake, 2018.jpg|thumb|Payette Lake, 2018]]

Payette Lake
Payette lake panorama.jpg
Panoramic view from McCall
Location Valley County, Idaho,
United States
Coordinates 44°57′00″N 116°05′06″W / 44.95°N 116.085°W / 44.95; -116.085
PAYETTE LAKE Latitude and Longitude:

44°57′00″N 116°05′06″W / 44.95°N 116.085°W / 44.95; -116.085
Primary inflows North Fork Payette River
Primary outflowsNorth Fork Payette River
Catchment area373 square kilometres (144 sq mi)
Basin countries United States
Max. length6 mi (9.7 km)
Max. width2.25 mi (3.62 km)
Surface area4,986.7 acres (2,018.0 ha) [2]
Average depth36.8 m (100 ft)
Max. depth92.7 m (300 ft)
Water volume0.75 km3 (0.2 cu mi)
Shore length136 kilometres (22 mi)
Surface elevation5,039 ft (1,536 m) [1]
Settlements McCall, Idaho
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Payette Lake is a natural lake, formed by glacial activity, situated in the upper drainage basin of the Payette River, which drains into the Snake River in southwestern Idaho. Outflow from the lake is regulated for irrigation purposes by a small dam completed in 1943. The normal maximum lake surface elevation of 1,520 metres (4,990 ft) above sea level is attained in July; a normal drawdown of 1.7 metres (5 ft 7 in) is completed by December. The lake surface area and volume, excluding islands, are 20.5 square kilometres (7.9 sq mi) and 0.75 cubic kilometres (0.18 cu mi), respectively; mean and maximum depths are 36.8 metres (121 ft) and 92.7 metres (304 ft), respectively; and shoreline length is about 36 kilometres (22 mi). The principal tributary and outlet is the North Fork Payette River. The lake receives drainage from 373 square kilometres (144 sq mi) of heavily forested, mountainous terrain. [3]


Prior to the arrival of Euro-American hunters in the 1830s, the area had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years. The discovery of gold in 1862 in the upper drainage of Payette Lake prompted an influx of miners to the area. The townsite of McCall was established on the lake's southern shore in the 1880s. The area became more accessible in 1914 when a railroad and roads were extended to McCall, which was becoming a tourist destination for summer and winter recreation. In 1920, the Idaho State Land Board began leasing vacation homesites around Payette Lake. Increasing recreational demands led to the establishment of Brundage Mountain Ski Area and Ponderosa State Park, both near McCall, in the 1960s. [3]

In popular culture

In Idaho folklore, a sea serpent much like the Loch Ness Monster is said to live in the deep waters of Payette Lake near McCall. In 1954, the creature was given the name Sharlie. [4]


  1. ^ a b "Payette Lake". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  2. ^ "Payette Lake". Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Woods, Paul F. (1997). "Eutrophication Potential of Payette Lake" (PDF). Water-Resources Investigations Report 97-4145. U.S. Geological Survey. p. 2-4. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  4. ^ "McCall, Idaho: the Monster of Payette Lake". San Diego Reader. August 13, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2018.

External links

Payette Lake, 2018