Lucky Peak water levels to start dropping Monday

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Water levels at Lucky Peak will begin to drop on July 22, as water managers start releasing water into the irrigation systems.

This move comes about a month ahead of schedule, and could leave you high and dry on your next trip to the lake.

Water levels usually hold until August or September, but this year the watershed has only 50-55 percent of what normally does. Beginning July 22, water levels will drop between 1-2 feet each day.

That means, you could start seeing changes within the next couple of weeks, even after water levels drop just 10 feet.

"That first 10 foot drop really has a significant impact on access to boat insights, courtesy docks and boat ramps," Lucky Peak park manager Keith Hyde said. "Many of our ramps will become inaccessible at 10 feet below."

Normal lake elevation is 3,055 feet. Hyde said it is rare to see such low water levels in the watershed.

Robie Creek and Barclay Bay will be two of the first loading docks to be affected.

Turners Gulch and Spring Shores will be two of the last loading docks to close, and will be your best bet after this month. However, that means you will need to allow a little extra time for congestion.

"Tempers flare when boat ramps are congested and that's a big concern," Hyde said. "It's an inconvenience for everyone but there's nothing that can really be done about it."

Another concern for park managers is the increase in boating hazards.

"As the lake falls, the lake conditions are changing," Hyde said. "There are going to be new hazards emerging, hazards that weren't there a week before or even the day before."

Hyde said boaters should be careful to watch for rocks, and plan out a route when doing water sports.

Another consequence is that boaters will likely have to chain up and pull their boats out of the water earlier this season. Some boaters said they will now have to go elsewhere to finish out the summer.

"We'll probably go up to Cascade more," Boise resident Michael Ward said. "It's not as close, but it doesn't drain as fast."

Others said they will take the season for what it is: short and sweet, even if the sun is setting early on the season.

"We'll take advantage of the time we have, maybe come up every weekend until the water drops to where we can't get the boat in," Boise resident James Fehlhaber said.

"A day on the lake is still a day on the lake," Hyde said. "It's still going to be a good time."

Even though the Boise River flows out of the Lucky Peak Reservoir, lowering water levels early at the lake will not affect the floating season on the river.