Prineville Reservoir hits lowest level in more than 20 years

Posted on in categories Fishing , Local , River tagged Boating , Local , Prineville , Water

Prineville Reservoir is seeing its lowest levels in over 20 years. Learn more here.


PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) — The water level at the Prineville Reservoir has slowly been getting lower and lower.

This year, the reservoir has hit its lowest water level since the 1990s, at 18% of capacity, according to Prineville Reservoir State Park Manager Chris Gerdes.

While the reservoir’s water level fluctuates through the years, it has stayed low the last few years.

“It happens periodically,” Gerdes told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday. “Any time that the reservoir gets below 30%, that’s where issues happen.”

The reservoir is at 26% now, with the only visitors being a dozen or so geese. For the first dock to open, the water level will need to rise to 30%, which Gerdes said will likely happen in the next couple of weeks.

But other docks, like the ones at the Jasper Campground or Powder House Cove, will need the water level to be at 50% — which may not happen this summer.

“The boat ramp and docks that are here in our boarding dock area are not floating right now,” Gerdes said. “Boaters are going to have to either go out by kayak, paddleboard, canoe — or they are going to have to wait.”

Fish have also been affected by the low water levels, with some dying by getting trapped in small pools of water as the reservoir water level drops.

Despite the low water levels, the campground area was “nearly fully booked,” according to Gerdes.

And it’s far from the only low reservoir in the region now. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s “tea cup diagram” shows Ochoco Reservoir is at just 9%, and Crescent Lake at 8%.