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Lake Information for Banks Lake


Banks Lake is a 27 mile long reservoir in central Washington in the United States.

Part of the Columbia Basin Project, Banks Lake occupies the northern portion of the Grand Coulee, a formerly dry coulee near the Columbia River, formed by the Missoula Floods during the Pleistocene epoch. Grand Coulee Dam, built by the United States Bureau of Reclamation on the Columbia River created Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, the reservoir on the river behind the dam. The surface of Lake Roosevelt is several hundred feet above the original Columbia River, making it easier to pump water 280 feet up and out of the river's canyon into the adjacent Grand Coulee. Two low earth-fill dams, Dry Falls Dam and North Dam, keep the water in the Grand Coulee, thus creating the reservoir named Banks Lake. It is named after Frank A. Banks, the construction supervisor at Grand Coulee Dam.

At the north end of Banks Lake the city of Grand Coulee and the town of Electric City are located. Steamboat Rock State Park is in the north-central portion. The town of Coulee City is at the south end of the lake. From the south end, the water stored in Banks Lake is distributed over a large region for irrigation of the Columbia Basin Project.

The Banks Lake unit includes 44,700 BOR acres and 41 WDFW acres in the upper Grand Coulee on 27-mile-long Banks Lake. Banks Lake is a man-made impoundment for irrigation water in the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. It is formed by the North Dam near Grand Coulee and the Dry Falls Dam near Coulee City and is filled with water from Franklin D. Roosevelt Reservoir (Lake Roosevelt). Most of the shoreline is ringed with basalt cliffs and talus slopes, the dry uplands have shallow soils and rocky outcrops with shrub-steppe habitat. Willows and Russian olives grow on the fringes of some cattail and bulrush wetland areas. There are about 23 islands in the reservoir from one to several acres in size, including basalt and granite outcroppings, shrub-steppe and wetlands. Steamboat Rock, in the northern part of the lake, is the largest of several peninsulas and is designated a Research Natural Area. Unique wildlife use can include common loons, wintering bald eagles, mule deer and peregrine falcons.

Facilities and Parks: 

WDFW maintains public fishing parking areas with outhouses at the southwest corner of Banks Lake and north of Million Dollar Mile (where Hwy. 155 goes through and over the basalt cliffs). There is a parking area, without an outhouse, on Hwy. 155 at the south side of Million Dollar Mile. At Osborne Bay, a few miles north of Steamboat Rock State Park, WDFW maintains a primitive road that provides access and parking around the part of the Osborne Bay that is east of Hwy. 155.
Recreational Activities:
* Boating
* Camping
* Fishing
* Hunting
* Picnicking
* Recreational Vehicles
* Water Sports

Fishing Description: 

Banks Lake is popular with anglers pursuing many species.
Smallmouth bass up to 4 pounds are plentiful along rocky shoreline areas, and largemouth bass fairly abundant in the northern part and weedy bays. Effective May 1, 2006, the daily limit for smallmouth bass here increases to 10 fish, with no more than 1 over 14 inches; rules for largemouth bass are unchanged from the standard statewide slot limit. Walleye fishing is still very good. A cooperative rearing project between WDFW, an Electric City sportsmen’s group, and Coulee City Chamber of Commerce offers improved fishing for rainbow trout up to 5 pounds. Approximately 1 million kokanee have been stocked annually in recent years, some of which the net pens also help raise. Angling for kokanee up to 19 inches has been variable during mid to late summer. Chumming is permitted. Yellow perch and crappie angling is good, but bluegill fishing will be poor-to-fair. There is a 25-fish daily limit on perch to prevent over harvest of this important forage and sport fish species. Lake whitefish are a very abundant and overlooked game fish.

Directions to Lake: 

From Moses Lake take SR 17 north to the junction of SR 2 at the southwest corner of Banks Lake. Turn east (right) toward Coulee City and proceed across Dry Falls Dam. About 1/2 mile past Coulee City is the junction of Hwy.155 and SR 2. Take Hwy. 155 north along the east side of Banks Lake. Highway 155 connects to Hwy. 174 in the town of Grand Coulee at the north end of Banks Lake.

Channel Catfish
Smallmouth Bass
White Perch
Bass Family
Catfish Family
Perch Family
Pike Family
Optional Information
Maximum depth: 
Surface area: 
Banks Lake
Lake type: 

Businesses Located Nearby

Boat Rental

    Chelan Boat Rentals Incorporated
  • 1210 W Woodin Ave - Chelan, WA
  • (509) 682-4444
    Larry's Auto & Marine Supply
  • 119 N 5th St - Coulee City, WA
  • (509) 632-5488
    Shoreline Watercraft Rentals
  • 619 Manson Hwy - Chelan, WA
  • (509) 682-1515

Vacation Rental

    Chelan Quality Vacation Properties
  • 146 Long Dr - Chelan, WA
  • (509) 682-9782

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