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Set against the tree clad mountain backdrop of Northeast Washington, Waitts Lake is a beautiful destination for the whole family. Surrounded by national forest, a wildlife refuge and some of Washington's prettiest scenery it is sure to become a favorite with anyone who loves the outdoors.
Created in 1928 by Waitts Lake Dam, Waitts Lake gets its water primarily from two creeks. The outflow runs through another creek and on into the Colville River. The 472-acre lake has a maximum depth of 68 feet, an average depth of 40 feet and is full of fish. In fact for over 50 years Waitts Lake held the state record for rainbow trout. In addition to the rainbow trout, there are also abundant populations of German brown trout, largemouth bass and perch. There is more than enough water for boats including motor boats, canoes and kayaks. The lake is also a great place to swim and water ski.
A four and a half mile long trail rings the lake providing ample opportunity for hiking and biking. Private resorts and campgrounds nestle in the wooded shores of Waitts Lake. There are very few vacation rentals on the lake, but many can be found on nearby Lake Roosevelt. Established in 1941 by the Bureau of Reclamation and part of the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area, the 150 mile long lake was created by the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River. Lake Roosevelt plays host to an annual walleye tournament, and there is fishing and boating on the lake and camping and hunting in the recreation area.
Waitts Lake is in Stevens County just seven miles south of Chewelah near Colville. Settlement in Colville started with the Native Americans that fished for salmon in the Columbia River. European settlers moved into the area around 1811, and Colville was eventually named Stevens County seat. Today Colville has museums to document its rich history along with art galleries, theatres and shops. Golf courses and a casino are also within an easy drive of Waitts Lake. In the winter there are trails for snowmobiling and cross country skiing and there are several downhill ski slopes.
A few mile north of Waitts Lake and 13 miles south of Colville, the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge is a 41,568 acre refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds. Ranging in elevation from 1,800 feet to 5,600 feet at its eastern border at Olson Peak, the refuge is home to 206 species of birds including golden eagles, northern goshawks, bald eagles and a variety of woodpeckers. Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1939 and is the only mixed-conifer refuge in the lower 48 states. In addition to bird watching and wildlife viewing, trails cross the refuge for horseback riding and cross country skiing.
Waitts Lake is also a short drive from the Colville National Forest. With over a million acres, the forest has trails for hiking and biking, and there are ample opportunities to view the wildlife. Hunting and fishing are both available in the forest and camping is allowed.
With its beautiful water, abundant fish and fantastic wildlife, Waitts Lake is a great Northeast Washington getaway. Its proximity to the national forest, national recreation area and wildlife refuge make it is an obvious choice for outdoor enthusiasts. Easy access to all the cultural opportunities of Colville, however, makes it an ideal choice for the entire family.
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