Hyco Lake, North Carolina, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - North Carolina - Piedmont -

Hyco Lake is a man-made reservoir located in northern North Carolina near the Virginia state line in the Roanoke River Basin. In the early 1960s, the lake was constructed by damming three local creeks: Cobb, North Hyco and South Hyco. The lake is located about 10 miles from the town of Roxboro, North Carolina. The reservoir was deemed complete in 1965 when the desired water level was attained by Hurricane Hilda blowing through the area.

The two dams that control the water level are named the North Hyco Dam and the South Hyco Dam. The South Dam is a simple concrete spillway. When the water level surpasses the normal lake level of 410.5 feet above sea level, the water spills over the dam. The North Dam is more complex, and is maintained by the local power company, Progress Energy. The main purpose of the reservoir is to supply water for Progress Energy’s cooling process. Initially, there was a canal system used to cool the water, but they now have cooling towers, and the canals are no longer used. Water levels decline during the summer due to reduced stream flow into the lake and increased evaporation from the plant cooling towers.

The power plant is fueled by coal mined from West Virginia, and there are coal ash ponds and ash piles around the plant. Progress Energy is conscious of the impact coal ash runoff has on the lake and surrounding environment. Due to strict North Carolina Department of Natural Resources rules, Progress Energy has improved its corrective measures to prevent runoff, thereby decreasing selenium levels in the lake.

Before the reservoir was created, the river area was called Hicotomony by the native Indians, which translates to Turkey Buzzard River. According to local websites, the Turkey Buzzards are still plentiful, and there is no doubt that they enjoy perching in the trees around the reservoir. Hicotomony was shortened to the modern Hyco, and is the name for the dam, the reservoir, and the river that flows out of the lake.

Though the primary purpose of the reservoir is for use by Progress Energy, it is a popular recreational destination. A 65 acre recreational park offers a public swimming beach, campsites, picnic area, playground, tennis courts, bath house, several public boat launches, docks, and a small store. There is a minimal fee to enter the park, and if you wish to rent the new community building for a function, there is a fee involved. The park holds numerous community events throughout the year, including fishing tournaments, concerts, and markets. The nearby marina offers wine tasting twice a month.

The lake area is home to many types of wildlife. Boaters and hikers have reported seeing beaver, deer, and of course geese and ducks. Bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, sauger and walleye are plentiful in the lake, and though there was a restriction on eating fish caught in the lake, it was lifted in 2004. At that time, selenium levels were deemed acceptable for human consumption.

The large area that Hyco Lake covers makes it ideal for water skiing, kneeboarding, and all types of watersports. Due to insufficient wind speed, sailboats are rare. The lake covers ten miles of the landscape, and though there isn’t really a main bay, there is one area that is wider than the rest. That bay stretches off into smaller fingers of the lake in nearly all directions.

Well over 1200 homes dot the shorelines, and make a leisurely float trip more interesting. There are still undeveloped areas around the Hyco Lake, and room for many more to move in. Currently over 2800 people live in a five mile area around the lake.

Beautiful Hyco Reservoir near the Virginia-North Carolina state line is more than just a lake. It’s a destination with some of the best that North Carolina has to offer: tons of activities for all ages, a location that can’t be beat, and the charm of the local folks.

Things to do at Hyco Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Water Skiing
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Playground

Fish species found at Hyco Lake

  • Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Perch
  • Sauger
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye

Hyco Lake Photo Gallery

    Hyco Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources

    Surface Area: 3,750 acres

    Shoreline Length: 160 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 411 feet

    Average Depth: 20 feet

    Maximum Depth: 30 feet

    Water Volume: 75,000 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1965

    Lake Area-Population: 2,843

    Drainage Area: 189 sq. miles

    Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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