Lake Coeur d’Alene
Coeur d’Alene Lake is the second largest lake in northern Idaho, caught in a beautiful mountain setting created when great lobes of the continental ice cap receded during the last Ice Age. The lake is over 26 miles long with some 135 miles of shoreline, dotted with numerous parks, campgrounds, beaches, trails and recreational facilities. The lake is fed primarily by two rivers, the Coeur d’Alene River and St. Joe River, and its outlet forms the Spokane River. A natural lake, the lake level is controlled by discharges from the Post Falls Dam operated by Avista.
Park, Beaches and Trails: There are more than a dozen well maintained boat ramps around the lake. Right in Coeur d’Alene proper are City Park and Beach with extensive sandy beaches, trails, ball courts, volleyball and more; and Tubbs Hill, a 165-acre natural peninsula with miles of hiking trails offering spectacular scenery. The North Idaho Centennial Trail runs along miles of waterfront, through the city to Higgins Point. Out of the city, major parks include Heyburn State Park, Mineral Ridge, the Trail of the Coeur d’Alene’s and Beauty Bay.
Boating: There are more than a dozen well maintained boat launches around the lake. Several companies offer rentals of watercraft ranging from jet skis and ski boats to pontoon boats to sailboats and stand-up paddle boards. There are nine major marinas on the lake with fuel docks, food and services.
Wildlife: One of the great wildlife spectacles of the region, each winter from November through February a migrating population of bald eagles visits the Lake Coeur d’ Alene area to feed on spawning kokanee salmon in Wolf Lodge Bay. The number varies each year, but more than 200 of the majestic birds have been spotted in some prime seasons. Swans, geese, ducks and ospreys are also abundant around the lake in spring and summer.
Fishing: The lake hosts a variety of sport fisheries; it’s especially noted for its chinook salmon. But fishermen also enjoy fishing for trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass, northern pike and kokanee salmon. There are a number of charter fishing companies and fishing guide services.
General info on activities and providers: LakeCoeurDAlene.com
City parks: City of Coeur d’Alene Parks & Recreation
State parks: Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation
Fishing: Idaho Fish & Game recommended waters