Lake Cascade
Lake Cascade (or originally “Cascade Reservoir”) is located on the North Fork of the Payette River in Valley County, Idaho, USA, in the Boise National Forest. It is the fourth largest lake or reservoir in the state. The closest cities are Cascade, Donnelly, and McCall. Following a delay due to World War II, the earthen dam was built by the Bureau of Reclamation, and completed in 1948.

The lake contains perch, trout, smallmouth bass, Kokanee, and Coho salmon for anglers and there is a winter ice fishing beautiful season.

Sport fish restoration
In 2003 the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) proposed draining Lake Cascade to facilitate the removal of pikeminnow and the addition of sport fish, such as perch. Pikeminnows are a problem in Lake Cascade because they are predators that live up to 15 years and compete for food stocks. Issues involved in mitigating damage during the lowering of the lake level include maintaining an adequate supply for irrigation, providing a steady stream for power, maintaining salmon flow augmentation, and other water rights. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation manages the reservoir and estimated the draining could take place over the course of a year at a cost of $100,000 to $300,000. The U. S. Bureau of Reclamation withdrew its application for an Environmental Impact Statement studying the drawdown citing “that the draining of Lake Cascade is not a viable option for sport fish restoration.”

Water quality
The lake experienced a bloom of blue-green algae in 1993 caused by low water, high phosphorus content, and hot weather. Studies of water quality found phosphorus to be present in high levels which contributed to the algal bloom. Beginning in 1995, the water quality was monitored and an improvement plan was implemented to lower the phosphorus by 37 percent. By 2003 the lake had 57 percent less phosphorus than the initial monitoring in 1995 due to the best management practices adopted in the drainage basin of the lake.

Tamarack Resort
The defunct Tamarack Resort (2004”“09) is located on the west shore of the reservoir, southwest of Donnelly. The term “Lake Cascade” came into use during this time period.


2 photos