Lake Pend Oreille
Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho’s biggest, at 43 miles long with 111 miles of shoreline. It’s also the deepest (at 1,158 feet deep, there are only four deeper lakes in the nation). Dug out by Ice Age glaciers and located amid three major frontal ranges of the northern Rocky Mountains, it has natural splendor galore to go with a fascinating human and natural history.
Parks, beaches and trails: Lake Pend Oreille has plenty of parks, boat launches, picnic sites and other attractions and facilities. Major parks are Farragut State Park, at the very southern tip of the lake; Whiskey Rock, a Forest Service fee-free campground on the fairly inaccessible southeastern shore; Garfield Bay, a county park and campground; Springy Point, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; City Beach, with excellent beaches, ball courts, playgrounds and more in downtown Sandpoint; Trestle Creek, with a boat ramp, beach and picnic facilities; and Sam Owen Campground and Park, a wonderful 65-acre site on the Hope Peninsula. And there are others, as well!
Boating: There are many boat launches around the lake, and in Sandpoint, Bayview and Hope a number of companies offer rentals of watercraft ranging from jet skis and ski boats to pontoon boats to sailboats and kayaks. There are a number of major marinas around the lake with fuel docks, food and services.
Wildlife: The lake has a very active and visible population of ospreys, the magnificent fish hawks that can be seen diving into the lake to catch fish. Bald eagles are common, and wildlife from moose and deer and bear to spawning kokanee salmon can be spotted around the lake. Seasonally, migrating waterfowl including swans, geese and ducks are common in many areas of the lake.
Fishing: Lake Pend Oreilel is known for its kamloops (a species of giant rainbow trout), mackinaw and kokanee salmon. Kamloops and mackinaw exceeding 20 pounds are not unusual in the lake, which has seen its fishery rebound in recent years. But many other fishing challenges await the angler, from bass in the sloughs to pike, walleye and various trout species.
Info on activities and providers: Sandpoint Online lake guide
City parks: City of Sandpoint Department of Parks and Rec
State parks: Idaho Department of Parks and Rec
Fishing: Idaho Fish and Game recommended waters