2011 - 2012 Banks Lake Maintenance Drawdown Information                    
The United States Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled a late summer drawdown for maintenance work on Banks Lake.
Improvements to:    Coulee City Park  ~  Steamboat Rock  ~  Coulee Playland  ~  Sunbanks Resort  ~  
No affect until mid August 2011
Most construction will start in
October  ~  The lake levels quoted here are from the “Full Pool”
of 1570.  
 Normal elevation has been between 1568 and 1565 {about 5 feet down in August}.    A drawdown like this occurs
every 12 to 20 years, the last one in 1993/1994.

When will drawdown begin?

Should be normal {5 feet down from full pool} through the end of July 2011.
The lake will then be allowed to draft down” based on irrigation and weather factors.

Predicted elevations down from full pool:

By August 15:               1563.0 or    7.0 feet down
By August 31:               1556.4 or 13.6  feet down
By September 30:       1543.3 or 26.7  feet down
By October 31 :            1540.0 or 30.0  feet down

Lake refill:

Should start by early spring 2012.

Near normal level by early April 2012.

Completion of maintenance projects
and weather could affect timing.

. Minimum levels for boat launches: Coulee Playland main launch ties into an additional ramp
  Steamboat Rock Main Park
Steamboat Rock Northrup
Sunbanks Resort
Million Dollar Mile
Osborn Bay

Coulee City Park
Barker Canyon
Coulee Playland
1562 or   7 feet down
1560 or 10 feet down
1565 or   5 feet down
1565 or   5 feet down
1560 or 10 feet down
1562 or   8 feet down
1565 or   5 feet down
1565 or 10 feet down
system that can be used to 1540 or minus 30 feet.

The ramp itself is concrete, the approach is gravel.

 It was last used during the 1993 / 1994 drawdown.

At that time four wheel drive vehicles were highly recommended.

What about navigation in...    July?

Normal caution.


1st – 15th : Normal Caution, some backwaters are more hazardous as month progresses.
16th-30th : Back bays are very limited.  North end of lake to Steamboat Rock will be narrow.
Use a map and extra caution.    Roadbeds in Punchbowl area are very hazardous.


Main Lake flats,  humps may be exposed or hazardous.   Map and extra caution.

October to 2012 refill?     

Main basins stable, North end of lake to Steamboat very limited.
Map and extra caution required.

Special attention and map use:  

South of Goose Island, South end of lake.    ~    Hump near Steamboat Park, mid lake.
~  Submerged shoals, west side of Million Dollar Mile, Mid lake - east shore.

 How will this effect fishing in July?

No effect


Back waters draining ~ Outside weed line


Vertical structures   ~   Off shore ledges


Main basin areas  ~ Suspended fish ~ Forage and predators compressed together

Where can I launch in July?  

Any launch


1st - 15th:     Coulee Playland, Northrup, Sunbanks Resort
16th-30th:    Coulee Playland, four wheel drive recommended

Sept 1 to April 2012 refill:    Coulee Playland, four wheel drive recommended

Many factors like weather, irrigation demands, work schedules, Etc, could affect estimates.
This information was compiled from the following sources:  United States Bureau of Reclamation  ~  Washington State Parks
        ~  Washington State Fish & Wildlife ~ Sunbanks Resort ~  Coulee Playland Resort  ~  JK Watersports

This information is intended as a guide only.      Plan your vacation as usual.     All business will help with information.

Consider a trip late fall to early spring to tour the lake!!

You are encouraged to look at other recreational opportunities in the Grand Coulee Dam Area:
Other Grand Coulee Dam area lakes NOT AFFECTED by any Banks Lake draw downs:

Lake Roosevelt {behind Grand Coulee Dam}

Crescent Bay Boat Launch  (Saw Mill)
Miles From Safeway in Grand Coulee
1 Mile
  Spring Canyon Boat Launch    6 Miles
Rufus Woods      {below Grand Coulee Dam} Sprit Ridge Boat Launch  (Elmer City)    8 Miles 

This Page will be updated as new information becomes available.  ~  This page last updated: Wednesday February 09, 2011