Payette Lake Idaho Fishing, Camping, Boating

McCall Idaho
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Payette Lake

This sparkling glacier lake, one of the main attractions in McCall, provides both spectacular scenery as well as a vast array of year round recreational fun for the entire family.

  • One of the highlights of McCall, this lake offers recreational fun all year round.
  • Excellent for sailing, kayaking, water skiing, and other water sports.
  • A spectacular 8.3 square mile sparkling glacier lake surrounded by the beautiful Payette National Forest.
  • Ice skate, snowmobile, or cross country ski on the frozen lake in the winter.


Payette Lake is one of McCall’s most popular attractions for locals and tourists alike. Covering over 5300 acres with its pristine glacial waters, this vast lake is surrounded by the towering pines and lush Douglas firs of the Payette National Forest. With sandy beaches in the warmer months and a solid, frozen surface in the winter, it’s a virtual playground year round. It’s no wonder that this spectacular Idaho lake is often referred to as McCall’s “crown jewel”.

Location & Information

Payette Lake, Idaho is located in west central Idaho. McCall sits at the southern end of the lake.

Contact Information: Payette National Forest (208) 634-0700


Late spring through early fall - Payette Lake is a great place to water ski, jet ski, water board, fish, camp, and swim in the summer. Sailing is especially popular on this big lake, along with excellent boating, kayaking and canoeing. There are multiple trails in the surrounding forest for hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing.

Winter – Since the lake freezes over during the winter you can enjoy ice skating, ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing across the lake. Two ski resorts and miles of snowmobile and cross-country trails are nearby.

Fun Facts

  • Payette Lake, ID has a 21-mile perimeter and covers 8.3 square miles.
  • To distinguish it from Little Payette Lake and Upper Payette Lake, it is sometimes referred to as Big Payette Lake.
  • The lake has its own “Loch Ness” monster named Sharlie, first sighted in 1920.
  • The 1000-acre peninsula in the lake’s center is beautiful Ponderosa State Park.