US Army Corps of Engineers
Portland District

Applegate project data

Dam length 1,300 ft 396.2 m
Height 242 ft 73.7 m
Elevation (NGVD*) 1,994 ft 607.7 m
Lake length 4.6 mi 7.47 km
Lake area when full 988 ac 306.5 ha
*National Geodetic Vertical Datum
(Mean Sea Level)

Applegate / Lost Creek pamphlet

Contact us about Applegate Dam:

Phone: 541-878-2255

Email us about Applegate Dam

Reservoir elevation, flow and temperature report: 800-472-2434

Applegate Dam and Reservoir

Applegate Dam is on the Applegate River, about 28 miles southwest of Medford, Ore. The lake covers 988 acres and extends to the California border. The average depth is 85 feet, with a maximum depth of 225 feet. 

The Corps of Engineers began building Applegate Dam in 1976 and finished this 242-foot rockfill embankment dam in 1980. Applegate Dam includes a regulating outlet conduit, a gate-controlled concrete chute spillway and an intake tower with multi-level intakes capable of removing water from various levels of the reservoir for downstream temperature control.

Applegate Reservoir has 82,200 acre-feet of storage for flood control and water conservation, and controls runoff from a drainage area of 220 square miles. Authorized primary purposes include flood risk management, irrigation, recreation, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, and water quality improvement.

Development at most of the recreation sites is minimal and most of the lakeshore is maintained in a natural state. 

Link to larger Applegate map graphic

Operations at Applegate

Environmental concerns prompted the Corps to construct an innovative multi-port intake tower, allowing operators regulate the temperatures of water released from the lake by mixing water from different depths.

During the summer this water temperature regulation improves conditions for migrating fish in the Applegate and Rogue rivers.

The returning fish are collected just below the dam and transported to the Cole M. Rivers Fish Hatchery, located just downstream of William L. Jess Dam on the Rogue River, for spawning. Later, juveniles are released into the Applegate River to maintain the runs.

Rogue River Basin Project

Map showing Rogue River Basin locations

Portland District’s Rogue River Basin Project operates a water resource management system that provides flood risk management, fish and wildlife management, irrigation, municipal and industrial water supply, hydropower, recreation and water quality on the Rogue and Applegate rivers and Elk Creek.

During the rainy season, potentially disastrous flooding is controlled by storing water in the reservoirs behind the dams. During the summer, water levels in the reservoirs are maintained as high as possible to provide water-related recreation opportunities. In the drier summer and fall months when rivers are at low levels, stored water is released from the dams to improve water quality and conditions for fish.

Federal, state and local agencies and many Rogue River Basin stakeholders are united in their commitment to protect native fish populations and their habitat. They have been working together for many years on improvements essential for the successful protection and recovery of these Northwest treasures.

There are more than a dozen developed recreation sites within the Rogue River Basin Project. Available activities vary by location, but may include: camping, picnicking, boating, water skiing, fishing, swimming, hunting, hiking, biking, equestrian use and wildlife viewing.

Applegate recreation

Applegate Reservoir is 988 acres in size and extends to the California border. A hiking trail follows the 18-mile shoreline. Motorcycles are permitted only on the trail leading to Stein Butte. Horses are permitted on the Stein Butte, Collings Mountain and Da-Ku-Be-Te-De trails. Paved trails and other barrier-free facilities are provided at the day use areas so that they may be enjoyed by all visitors. 

Development at most of the recreation sites is minimal and most of the lakeshore is maintained in a natural state. To help preserve its rustic nature, a 10-mph speed limit for all boats is in effect. For information on reservoir elevation, flow and temperature report: 800-472-2434.

Boating: There is one year-round boat ramp at Copper, near Watkins Campground on the southwest shore. A ramp east of the dam near French Gulch Campground Boat Ramp is usually used when the water is low.

Camping: The Forest Service operates several campgrounds at Applegate: Carberry CampgroundFrench Gulch CampgroundHarr Point Campground, Hart-Tish Campground, Latgawa Campground, Tipsu Tyee Campground and Watkins Campground.

Day-use parks: Located in southwest Oregon in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Hart-Tish Park, managed by the Forest Service, is surrounded by a variety of landscapes, boasting nearby volcanic peaks, rivers and old-growth forests. Hart-Tish Park offers several acres of beautifully groomed lawn sloping down to the shores of Applegate Lake. Visitors can spot the peaks of the majestic Red Buttes Wilderness while looking south over the lake.

Fishing: Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie and rainbow trout are some fish that can be caught.

Hiking: The Forest Service manages the following trails: Collings Mountain Trail, the Da-Ku-Be-Te-De Trail, the Grouse Loop Trail, the Payette Trail.

Recreation facilities at Applegate are operated by the U.S. Forest Service. For more information about these locations, contact the Star Ranger Station, 6914 Upper Applegate Rd., Jacksonville, Ore. 97530, (541) 899-3800.