Saturday, March 24, 2012

Dworshak Reservoir, Clearwater County, Idaho


Dworshak Reservoir (19,000 acres) was created in 1973 after years of construction on the Dworshak Dam, which is the highest straight-axis dam in North America at 717 feet.  The dam generates over 50 million dollars in revenues annually via its 400,000 kilowatt capacity (tours are available). Just downstream from this dam is the world’s largest fish hatchery.
Highest straight-axis dam in
North America
 The Worlds Largest Fish Hatchery
The Dworshak Dam creates a reservoir 54 miles long, with 184 miles of shoreline.  The reservoir is 630' deep at the dam during high water, at an elevation of 1445 feet. Common animals of the area include elk & deer, black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, river otter, Pacific tree frog, bald eagle, osprey, great blue heron, Canada goose, and others. There are over 100 primitive mini-camps along its shore, with tent pads, fire pits, picnic tables and toilets. There are, in addition, three developed campgrounds for RV's and tents, etc. (see pictures and info below). There are numerous hiking trails and the area is well-known for fishing and hunting of elk, dear, bear, etc. There are seven public boat launches on the reservoir, with no privately owned commercial resorts/marinas (see launches and marina info below).

Fishing:  Brown Bullhead (native); Bull Trout (also known as Dolly Varden - native); Chinook Salmon (below dam - native); Cutthroat Trout (native); Kokanee (stocked), good for year-round fishing, using maggots & white corn or trolled lures; Rainbow Trout (stocked), good for year- round fishing, using nightcrawlers, scented baits, and spinners; Smallmouth Bass (stocked) & Largemouth Bass (native), best fished in spring as in summer heat they head to deeper water, bait includes nightcrawlers and plastic grubs, ask locals about other baits used; Steelhead Trout (below dam - native), many found below dam in clear water, baits include various types of live bait, large shiny spoons or variety of minnow lures, slip bobber with jig and shrimp. Clearwater Region Fish & Game 208-799-5010.


Maps: Printable map coming soon!

Sailing: Like most inland lakes July is the lightest time of year, with spring and fall developing the most wind, and winter is variable. The best place to sail on this lake is near the dam, where you will find the most open water and consistent wind. Bruce Eddy launch facility is the best location to launch from, placing you in the area of the most wind and open water. Big Eddy is by far more congested than Bruce Eddy, but is a good place to sail from if you have friends/family that want to swim and play in the park while you sail. Info: Clearwater County Sheriff's Office 208-476-4521; Dworshak Dam & Reservoir - main office 208-476-1261 & water level 800-321-3198 (recorded message), Visitor Info. 800-321-3198, Visitor Center 208-476-1255, http://www.nww.usace.army.mil/CorpsOutdoors/dwa


Boat Launches, Marinas, Moorings, Docks
Moorage Docks are located at Cranberry Creek, Drift Creek, Elk Creek, Indian Creek, and Merry's Bay. These docks are popular swimming and picnics sites.


1. Merry's Bay - beach, picnic tables, grills, vault toilet, pack in/pack it out bags - Must hike to site and portage kayaks/canoes to site, no running water. Approximately 100 feet off shore is a moorage dock. Directions: From US HWY 12 cross the river to Orofino, Idaho; take State HWY 7 a short distance then turn right onto Wells Bench Rd.  Once on this road turn left onto Eureka Ridge Rd. and follow this down the 14% grade (4x4 vehicles only) until you see a sign and parking area for Merry's Bay Rec. Area. Via hiking trail one can access this site from Bruce's Eddy rec. site. Maps: To view a map click on http://www.mapquest.com .  Type in Orofino and follow driving directions to the site.



2. Bruce Eddy Boat Launches - multiple large paved launches, restrooms, running water, hiking trailers, no beaches. Directions: From US HWY 12 to Orofino, take State HWY 7 west toward Dworshak Dam. Before crossing North Fork Clear Water River there will be a sign directing you to Bruce Eddy rec. facilities; follow this road to the launches. Maps: To view a map click on http://www.mapquest.com and type in Orofino; follow driving directions to the site.



3. Big Eddy State Park  - launch, marina, beach, restrooms, running water, park, store, hiking trails, no camping. Directions: From US HWY 12 to Orofino, take State HWY 7 west toward Dworshak Dam. Just after you cross North Fork Clear Water River there will be a sign directing you Big Eddy rec. facilities and the Dworshak Dam. Follow this road to the launches. Maps: To view a map click on http:www.mapquest.com and type in Orofino; follow driving directions to the site.



4. Dworshak State Park & Three Meadows Group Area - launch, docks, beach, restrooms, running water, campground, park, hiking trails. Directions: From US HWY 12 to Orofino, take State HWY 7 west toward Cavendish, Idaho. Just after the town of Cavendish turn right/east onto Freeman Creek Rd.; follow this road all the way to State Park and boat launch. Maps: To view a map click on http:www.mapquest.com and type in Cavendish Idaho; follow driving directions to the site.



5. Dent Acres Campground - launch, docks, small beach depending on water level, restrooms, running water, campground, park, hiking trails. Directions: From US HWY 12 cross the river to Orofino, Idaho; take State HWY 7 a short distance then turn right onto Wells Bench Rd. Stay on this road until it forks, then take Upper Wells Bench Road all the way across Dent Bridge to Dent Recreation Area. Maps: To view a map click on http:www.mapquest.com and type in Orofino; follow driving directions to the site. Info: Campground contact # 877-444-6777.


Dent Bridge - Depending on water level clearance is 10'-20'.



6. Grandad Campground (near by) & Boat Launch - paved launch, restroom, camping at launch site and up the road at Grandad Campground, hiking trails, no running water or beach at launch site. Directions: From US HWY 12, turn northeast/cross the river to the city of Greer, Idaho on HWY 11 and on to Pierce, Idaho. From Pierce travel to Headquarters, Idaho.  Once in the town of Headquarters turn left where the road tees onto Forest Service road 247 (follow arrow on sign at T to N. FK. Clearwater R.). Once on this road turn left at the sign indicating 27 miles to Grandad Bridge; this road is called Silver Creek Rd. This road quickly turns to gravel; you must stay on the road that appears the most well traveled as there are no signs from this point on for 27 miles to Grandad. This gravel road can be at times extremely rough. When coming down to the hill to the lake you will come to a T in the road; turning right you go to the boat launch and left you go to Grandad Bridge and the town of Elk River. About 20 miles into the drive to Grandad there is the access road to Little Meadow Creek ORMV Campground. You can also continue on FS 247 after leaving Headquarters and then take Grandad Bridge Rd. Maps: To view a map click on http:www.mapquest.com and type in Headquarters, Idaho. View northward to see the reservoir and associated roads.


Grandad Bridge - Depending on water level clearances is 10'-20'.



7. Canyon Creek Campground - launch, dock, restroom, campground, hiking trail, no running water. There is no beach just rocky shoreline. Directions: From US HWY 12 cross the river to Orofino, Idaho; take State HWY 7 a short distance to Wells Bench Road.  Continue on this road until you reach High Valley Road; turn left onto High Valley Rd., and left again onto Canyon Creek Rd. Follow this road to the launch. This road is about 6% grade at points and very rough. Maps: To view a map click on http:www.mapquest.com and type in Orofino; follow driving directions to the site.



8. N. Fork Clearwater River (below Dam) Boat Launch - launch, restroom, no dock or running water. From US HWY 12 to Orofino, take State HWY 7 west toward Dworshak Dam. After crossing North Fork Clear Water River, there will be a sign directing you to the dam powerhouse. Turn right and shortly after you turn you will see the launch site. Maps: To view a map click on http:www.mapquest.com and type in Orofino; view short segment of river below dam.

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