Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rock Lake, Whitman County, Washington

Rock Lakes (2,189.6 acres)
This lake is one of the Largest Scab Land lakes at 7.5 miles long and the deepest of the scabland lakes at about 408 feet. I have personally sailed on this lake many times and taught sailing for the University of Idaho on it as well. I was told while attending the U of I that Rock Lake was to small to sail on and there was no wind (must have been a power boater telling me this). When I visited the lake I could not believe what I found, a large lake (large for this area); and once I started sailing on it I was amazed at the consistent winds. As a matter of fact I never experienced lack of wind on this lake. This is the German Brown fishing lake of the Inland NW. Browns pulled from this lake average 10 to 20 inches long. Even though the boat launch is very is privately owned it is maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and public access is allowed. The launch is rough due to its rocky surface and if the water level is low it will be very hard to launch any boat via trailer in the water other than a fishing dinghy or shallow draft sailboat lake a Hobie 16. The end of the rocky boat launch abruptly drops of to some unknown depth; basically there is a potential to back in too far during low water and drop your trailer wheels off the end of the launch area/ledge (not good). It’s a deep lake but the boat launch (as is the case on many lakes in this area) limits the size of boat you can launch. This lake is more than deep enough for keelboats; the only downside would be the lava spears that you can hit just under the surface of the water and because of this fact I would heavily advise against water skiing or jet skiing on this lake.

I never had issues with these lava spears when I sailed the lake other than my rudders kicking up when hitting one. Caution should be noted if you are sailing a daggerboard style sailboat on this lake, as hitting a lava spears at high speed with a daggerboard could cause damage. Rock Lake is just an absolutely amazing sailing lake, and best of all there are seldom any other boats on it. Please click here for very detailed info on Rock Lake and great pictures as well ( Directions: On I-90 from Spokane take the WA-904 W exit- EXIT 270- toward FOUR LAKES / CHENEY., Stay STRAIGHT to go onto WA-904 / LT COL MICHAEL ANDERSON MEMORIAL HWY., Turn LEFT onto S CHENEY-PLAZA RD., S CHENEY-PLAZA RD becomes S CHENEY PLAZA RD., Stay STRAIGHT to go onto S ROCK LAKE RD., Turn SHARP LEFT. Maps: to view a map click on and type in Rock Lake, Whitman County, WA., or type in GPS coordinates 47.139048, -117.725401
ACCESSIBILITY: PARKING... Large gravel parking lot; PATHS/TRAILS... No official paths. Wide gravel, rocky areas that leads around area and into the water; RESTROOMS/FACILITIES/SHADE… Restrooms, not accessible to wheelchairs. No shade; DOCKS/LAUNCHES/PLATFORMS… No docks, Two gravel/rocky areas to launch from, about 3% grade; DIRECT WATER ACCESS… No access for wheeled mobility devices. Wide gravel area that leads into the water. Watch out for underwater drop off; TRANSFER SYSTEMS... None; SENSORY... No sensory tactile markers for those with visual and other impairments. CAMPING... No; O.T.H.E.R… Oddities/Barriers: Very rocky shoreline and in other places deep mud; Terrain: Very rough/rocky of level to about 3% grade at launch; H2O/Water: Water normally murky. Water temperature in the summer can be around 60 to 70 degree. Drinking water available; Environmental Conditions: High winds and hot temperatures during the summer; Resources: Food, drinks, and gas up the road in town of St. John.

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