Hit Brownlee Reservoir while you can


In the coming weeks, Idaho Power will begin drawing down Brownlee Reservoir in preparation for its Fall Chinook Program to provide spawning flows for the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam.

Brownlee is 20 feet down this week, which means all boat ramps except Holcomb Park are available.

As the reservoir's level drops one of the key boat ramps is Woodhead Park, northwest of Cambridge.

The spawning flow will be held flat at a constant flow that will be determined, but current estimates put it at 8,500 to 9,000 cfs below Hells Canyon Dam. That number could change, based on weather and other conditions. Lowering Brownlee is necessary to make space in the reservoir to capture inflows that exceed the flat spawning flow release, Idaho Power said.

For updated Snake River flow, Brownlee elevation levels and boat ramp information, go


The U.S. Forest Service announced Wednesday that more areas were being opened as crews get more control over the Trinity Ridge Fire. The Graham area, northeast of Idaho City, is open. Baumgartner Campground, east of Featherville, is now open as is the road to Pine and Featherville. More areas are open around Anderson Ranch Reservoir, too. See more information on fires and recreation in Idaho Outdoors today.

I was very surprised to see that the Idaho City backcountry yurts were closed on the east side of Idaho 21 because of the Trinity Ridge Fire. We drove by the areas over the weekend and roads were blocked. The equestrian campground at Whoop Um Up was also closed.

I'm hearing these areas may open soon.

Photo of Woodhead Park at Brownlee Reservoir this summer by Pete Zimowsky/Idaho Statesman