Fishing Creek Reservoir, South Carolina, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - South Carolina - Olde English District -

Also known as:  Nitrolee Dam, Fishing Creek Lake

Fishing Creek Reservoir, on the Catawba River in the Old English Region of South Carolina is aptly named: the 3112-acre lake provides a steady source of water to Chester County, South Carolina and a source of fishing and paddling enjoyment to both residents and visitors. Created in 1916, the reservoir provides hydroelectric power to Duke Energy’s Fishing Creek Hydroelectric Station dam, known locally as the Nitrolee Dam. There is little development along the shoreline and the many coves and inlets provide great fishing opportunities for anglers dedicated to their craft.

Fishing Creek Reservoir is one of 13 reservoirs serving generating plants for Duke Energy along the Catawba River. Duke provides several boat access sites for the benefit of visitors on the lake. The limited access keeps the lake from being inundated with visitors and assures a quiet body of water for ideal for kayaking, canoeing and fishing. The primary fish species caught are bluegill, largemouth bass, gizzard shad, crappie and catfish, although other fish are present. The Department of Natural Resources has built fish attraction structures to improve the fishing at several spots underwater. It’s the perfect place to spend a leisurely day in the boat with a rod and some bait.

Most Fishing Creek Lake visitors are very well acquainted with the series of reservoirs downstream: Great Falls Reservoir has no public access and the third reservoir in the series, Rocky Creek Lake – better known as Stumpy Pond – has several. There is apparently an informal portage path around Fishing Creek Dam and many local anglers report excellent fishing near the tail waters of the dam.

Local canoe clubs meet regularly to canoe all three reservoirs. They regularly report seeing a great variety of birds on Fishing Creek Reservoir and in the tail water area. Bald eagles are reported to nest in the area and snowy egrets are common. A recent bird survey cites several species of endangered birds, including peregrine falcon, American swallow-tailed kite, red-cockaded woodpecker, wood stork and least tern sighted in the area of the three reservoirs, often during migration.

In recent years, kayakers have joined the many canoe enthusiasts on the lake to enjoy the wildlife and the solitude. The 30-mile stretch of the Catawba River between Wylie Hydro and the upper end of Fishing Creek Lake is now the longest portion of the Catawba River that remains undammed.

Fishing Creek Lake hasn’t always been so quiet: the Catawba River has been a main transportation route since before locally recorded history. The river was a main Native American trading route and early European traders followed their paths. Some experts suggest that Cortez may have followed the Catawba-Wateree River basin trails. Battles were fought at the fords across the river in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. At The Battle of Fishing Creek, British forces under Banastre Tarleton surprised the militia company of Thomas Sumter, killing a significant number and taking about 300 captives. Several locally-famous Civil War skirmishes fought at river crossings are part of South Carolina history. The area is called the Old English Region due to the large number of English settlers who made their home here early in the nation’s history.

Around 1820, an effort to improve transportation to the coast resulted in several canals being built to circumvent rapids. The remains of one of these canals, complete with lock, mill, stone bridge and lock keepers homes, have been preserved in the upstream rapids of Fishing Creek Lake/Catawba River. The Landsford Canal State Park offers excellent walking trails along the old towpath and views of all of the preserved ruins of the canal system. Bald eagles nest in the park. There are campsites and a picnic area but many visitors choose to jump from stone to stone across the rapids to reach an island for a favored picnic spot. An unforgettable sight during May and early June is the sight of the world’s largest population of Rocky Shoals spider lilies blooming among the rapids. These beautiful flowers belie the rough conditions under which they thrive.

Vacation rentals in the area of Fishing Creek Reservoir range from small cabins to luxurious homes, guest cottages and other types of lodgings. The visitor need not fear boredom here. If the fish aren’t biting, there are plentiful activities going on in the neighborhood. Nearby Lancaster holds Andrew Jackson State Park with restored buildings and sculpture honoring the memory of the United States’ seventh President. Also in Lancaster is the L & C Railroad Museum, featuring a children’s miniature train ride that was in use until the 1960s.

Fishing Creek Lake is about 50 miles from Columbia, South Carolina and the same distance from Charlotte, North Carolina. The short distance makes the reservoir a quick getaway for a weekend or longer. At the border of South and North Carolina, the country’s only two-state amusement park beckons the kids and the young at heart. Any visitor with children in tow will have to plan to spend at least one day at Carowinds.

With all of these benefits within an hour’s drive, the visitor may decide to check out the many real estate opportunities in the area. There are homes available with waterfront and private docks close to grocery stores and shopping. Now might be the time to take that fishing or canoe trip you’ve been dreaming of. Come visit Fishing Creek Reservoir and experience the best of both worlds.

Things to do at Fishing Creek Reservoir

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Ruins
  • Amusement Park
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Fishing Creek Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Shad
  • Sunfish

Fishing Creek Reservoir Photo Gallery

Fishing Creek Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Duke Energy

Surface Area: 3,112 acres

Shoreline Length: 78 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 417 feet

Average Depth: 24 feet

Maximum Depth: 90 feet

Water Volume: 59,992 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1916

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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