Sunday, March 26, 2023

Fourth of July Lake, Adams/Lincoln Counties, Washington

Fourth of July Lake ( 110 acres)
Fourth of July Lake in Adam and Lincoln Counties Washington (access road is in Lincoln County) is a long and narrow desert lake set in a canyon with steep basalt cliffs and steep slopes around it. Its 3 Miles south of Sprague City and Sprague Lake, 3 miles from HWY 90 exit, and 40 miles west from Spokane WA. When one gets on the gravel access road and approaches the lake there is a large level gravel parking lot that can accommodate maybe 40 vehicles. When you pass through the parking area there is a short descending gravel road to the launch. The primitive launch is gravel/rocky/mud/grass. The launch is on the northeast end of the lake. Most of the time there is no water at the launch and even if there was water the depth will be inches to maybe 2 feet right at the launch. The launch itself is 5% to 10% grade, with a slight dip at the end of it of 17%.

There is always water in the lake no matter how hot the summer gets because in part due to its depth up to 45 ft. There is no creeks that enter or exit the lake. The water enters the lake from all directions from spring runoff and rain. Thus one can only use the launch during the wettest times of the year. If there are 2 or more wet years then one could use the launch or when there is a very high snow pack and very wet spring runoff. Being there is non aquatic grass growing in the launch itself, which indicates this launch seldom has water on it.

You might ask how does one get a boat into the lake. If there is water at the launch it requires a light weight shallow draft boat. There is a short gravel road just left of the launch that extends about 100 feet beyond the end of the launch toward the lake, but there is no launch at the end of the road, but one could portage off the end of it, which is 10-17% grade through a very rocky area through cattails. The water depth off this point is also shallow of inches to 2 feet tops, again if there is water present.

So really this lakes is a shore fishing lakes unless you portage kayak or other very light craft via the primitive trails that surround the lake. Would be a great paddleboard lake with the correct gear for super cold water. It would be best to portage via the trails on the south side of the lake as the north side is mostly cliffs or steep descending slopes/hills. I found the south side access points at the waters edge to be 5 to 17% grades, not difficult to access the lake from. Before getting to these access points it does require hiking down some fairly steep rocky slopes.

The depth of the lake does not get significantly deep until about a mile southeast from the launch when it dips to 15 feet, then another half miles it dips to 25 feet, and then ultimately to 45 feet at its deepest (see printable map below).

There are no facilities at the launch or parking area or anywhere around the lake. Camping or overnight parking is not allowed (camping nearby at Downs or Williams Lakes).

This is cattle country so watch your step for those wonderful cow pies. I did see some swans and otters.

This is a winter lake, meaning the gate that gives access to this lake is open the Friday after Thanksgiving and closes in March (no exact date). Because its open in the winter of course its covered in ice most of the time, thus a great ice fishing lake.

Fishing/Wildlife: Black Crappie, Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, Spiny Ray, Yellow Perch. Swans, Geese, Ducks, Otters, Deer. Lake Dimensions & Coordinates: 110 acres; Maximum depth estimated at 45 ft; elevation 1895 ft; Coordinates T20N R38E Sec 1, 11, 12. & T21N R38E Sec 35, 36. Longitude 117d 57m 59s -to- 117d 58m 57s west. Latitude 47d 14m 45s -to- 47d 16m 8s N. Center of lake coordinates is: 47.25243, -117.975721 Directions:  Take exit 245 off of HWY 90 and turn south on HWY 23, go about 2 miles and on your right you will see a gravel road. The gravel road is 0.9 miles long to the launch. The access sign sits a ways off the main road, so this access road is easy to miss. NOTICE: As noted this lake is a winter fishery only so the gate to the lake is locked in warm season. Gate is open Friday after Thanksgiving weekend and closed in late March. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages the fishing on this lake and leases the land from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

ACCESSIBILITY: PARKING... Level gravel/rocky and dirt parking area near launch, can accommodate about 30 vehicles; PATHS/TRAILS... No paved paths. There are primitive single track rocky dirt trails around either side of the lake. All trails have deep descents to the lake; RESTROOMS/FACILITIES… None; SENSORY... No sensory tactile markers for those with visual and other impairments. DOCKS/LAUNCHES/PLATFORMS… No dock or platforms, One muddy/rocky primitive launch, 5% grade with short 17% grade right at the end of the launch. Must have significant spring runoff and/or consistent heavy rains for there to be any water at the launch (Gate to lake opens Friday after Thanksgiving and closes the end of March); DIRECT WATER ACCESS… No access for wheeled mobility devices; TRANSFER SYSTEMS... None; CAMPING... Not allowed. Camping nearby at Downs or Williams Lakes; O.T.H.E.R… Oddities/Barriers: Very rocky, sand, and mud; Terrain: Level to very steep. Lots of sand, rocks, mud, and cow dung at different areas around the lake; Environmental Conditions: Cold and windy in the winter and hot during the summer (no summer access allowed); Resources: Food, drinks, and gas at town of Sprague off of I90.
Click on map to enlarge or to print

Make a comment here about your experience at this lake or other questions...

Note... If you hike right off the south end of the lake going south for about a mile you will come upon the very unknown Alkali Lake that is about half the size of Fourth of July Lake and super shallow. No idea if the lake has fish as I doubt it due to its shallow depth and having no water in it, if there is two years of very hot weather, dry winter/drought. There are railroad tracks on the south side of this lake. There is another lake that one could potentially confuse with this lake, which is very popular for fishing in Grant County, south of Banks Lake in eastern WA. 

1 comment:

  1. Rama Thapa, September 30, 2018 at 8:01 PM: Very nice blog and great information.