Lake Chatuge, Georgia & North Carolina, USA

Also known as:  Chatuge Lake, Chatuge Reservoir

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Chatuge — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

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Looking for Lake Chatuge cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Chatuge

Beautiful Lake Chatuge (pronounced “sha-toog”) spans 7200 acres and two states, stretching 13 miles from Hayesville, North Carolina, to Hiawassee, Georgia. From the Cherokee for “land where the waters meet,” Lake Chatuge offers spectacular views of both the Tusquitee Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its picturesque location has earned it the nickname “Jewel of the Mountains.”

Lake Chatuge was constructed by the Tennessee Valley Authority by damming a portion of the Hiawassee River. The Chatuge Dam was completed in 1942. At the time, it was the highest earthen dam ever built, rising 144 feet in the air and measuring 2,850 feet across. Although its original purpose was to provide flood control and water storage for the area, a hydropower generating unit was added in 1954. Today, the dam generates 10,000 kilowatts of electricity. At its deepest, Chatuge Reservoir measures 144 feet. The average depth of the reservoir is 30 feet, although the water level can fluctuate as much as 9 feet over the course of a year.

Many visitors are drawn to Chatuge Reservoir for its fishing, and thirty-two species of fish can be found in the lake. Tournament fishing is common, and several state-record fish have been pulled from the lake’s waters. Bass is predominant, with varieties including spotted bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, hybrid striped bass, and white bass being found in the lake. In addition, Lake Chatuge is home to crappie, sunfish, and channel catfish. Wade fishing for trout is also popular in the Hiawassee River just below Chatuge Dam. Concrete weirs, installed to increase oxygen levels and water flow, provide the trout with an ideal habitat.

If the fish aren’t biting, try exploring the Chatuge Lake by boat. The meandering shoreline creates hidden coves and islands that beckon boaters. Spend a lazy day canoeing or kayaking the lake, or bring your power boat or jet ski and feel the wind in your hair! The lake is accessible by boat via three public boat ramps on the North Carolina side of the lake. There are also several commercial marinas that provide boat and jet ski rentals.

Camping, hiking, and swimming opportunities abound. Nearby Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area is a hiker’s dream, with breathtaking views of Chatuge Lake and 2.4 miles of easy trail. After a long hike, enjoy a picnic at one of the many shaded picnic tables, or take a dip in the lake at the public swimming beach. Showers and restrooms are conveniently available for visitors. At night, campers can relax under the stars at the lake-side campground, lulled to sleep by the sound of the water lapping the shore. Clay County Recreation Park is another popular family destination. The park boasts a swimming area and beach, fenced-in playground, ballpark, pavilions, and, of course, beautiful lake views.

The area surrounding Chatuge Lake provides even more opportunities for adventure. The Weir, located north of Chatuge Dam, is a launch site for canoes and tube rides down the Hiawassee River. The nearby Ocoee River is also popular with white water rafters. Other popular activities include golfing at the local lake-side course, horseback riding in the neighboring mountain trails, and mountain biking.

Despite the many amenities adjacent to Lake Chatuge, about seventy-five percent of the 132 miles of shoreline surrounding the lake itself is protected from development by virtue of its ownership by the Tennessee Valley Authority, U.S. Forest Service, and local townships. Because of this, the lake’s mainly undisturbed beauty makes it ideal for those seeking serenity and seclusion in a natural setting. It is easy to see why this “Jewel of the Mountains” is truly a hidden gem.

Things to Do at Lake Chatuge

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Lake Chatuge

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • White Bass
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Find Places to Stay at Lake Chatuge

If you’re considering a Lake Chatuge lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Chatuge Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Chatuge lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Chatuge Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Tennessee Valley Authority

Surface Area: 7,200 acres

Shoreline Length: 132 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,926 feet

Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 1,905 feet

Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 1,928 feet

Average Depth: 30 feet

Maximum Depth: 144 feet

Water Volume: 62,619 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1942

Lake Area-Population: 7,474

Drainage Area: 189 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic


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