Lake Moultrie, South Carolina, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - South Carolina - Santee Cooper Country -

Lake Moultrie is located 31 miles north of Charleston in the low country of South Carolina. The lake is renowned for both its fishing and its natural beauty. Lake Moultrie gives its visitors a chance to experience unspoiled waterways and woodlands, all within minutes of historic Charleston.

Lake Moultrie, along with its companion lake, Lake Marion, was created in the 1940s by the South Carolina Public Service Authority. The project was named the Santee Cooper Project, as it impounded a portion of the Santee River to form Lake Marion, and a portion of the Cooper River to form Lake Moultrie. The impoundment helped harness the rivers for hydroelectric power and created a means of navigation from Columbia to Charleston by boat. As a bonus, the lakes now provide a haven for wildlife and allow visitors to view undisturbed swamp and forest habitats. Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion together have about 450 miles of shoreline. Development around the lakes is planned carefully to protect the neighboring wildlife. Santee Cooper, the company that manages the lakes, has pledged to preserve seventy percent of the lakes’ shorelines from development.

Lake Moultrie offers the opportunity for world-class fishing. Anglers can enjoy a variety of fishing habitats at the lake, from shallow swamps and cypress-shaded ponds to open water. The lake’s oval shape and its width, 14 miles at the widest point, often create windy conditions similar to what one would find out at sea. The lake is known for its catfish, and it still holds the world record for channel catfish, at 58 pounds. A world-record Arkansas blue catfish was also pulled from the lake’s waters. State-record largemouth bass, shellcracker bream, warmouth, flathead, and white perch have been found at Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion. Fishing is a year-round pastime at the lakes, since the mild South Carolina winters prevent them from freezing. Anglers can access Lake Moultrie at several boat ramps and commercial marinas, or fish from the shore, where catfish often congregate in the shallow waters near sunset.

A unique aspect of Lake Moultrie is its accessibility to both its companion lake and the Cooper River. Boaters can travel not only from Lake Moultrie to Lake Marion via the 6.5 mile Diversion Canal, but they also can access the Cooper River by way of the Pinopolis Lock and Tailrace Canal. The river is an entry point to nearby Charleston. Even without leaving Lake Moultrie, boating enthusiasts can find plenty to do: swimming, water skiing, canoeing, and kayaking are just a few of the ways to commune with nature on the lake. The 175 miles of paddling trails of the Berkeley County Blueways, which connect with Lake Moultrie, offer a way for nature lovers to experience the low country as its earliest settlers might have–by boat.

Hiking enthusiasts should be sure not to miss the Lake Moultrie Passage, a 33 mile section of South Carolina’s Palmetto Trail. The trail hugs the lake shore and most parts of the trail offer views of the lake. Because the trail passes through wildlife management areas, deer, wild turkeys, doves, hawks, and even the occasional alligator have been spotted by hikers. Rudimentary campsites are available all along the trail. The Francis Marion National Forest is another haven for hikers. This 250,000 acre park is bordered by the Intercoastal Waterway on the east and Lake Moultrie on the west. Trails are open not only to hiking, but also to mountain biking, motorcyling, and horseback riding. The park is a bird watcher’s paradise, with more than 280 species of birds waiting to be discovered. After a busy day of exploring the forest, there is no shortage of places to bed down for the night; Lake Moultrie boasts accommodations ranging from full-service RV hook-ups to lakeside cabins and everything in between.

The area surrounding Lake Moultrie offers even more for its visitors to enjoy. Hunting is plentiful in the forested land surrounding the lake. The Santee area is famous for its golfing; there are sixteen 18-hole golf courses within a forty-five minute drive of Lake Moultrie. The lake’s proximity to Charleston, minutes away by either car or boat, make it an ideal home base for exploring this gracious Southern city and its many historical attractions.

From fishing and hunting to golfing and hiking, there are a multitude of ways to enjoy the rugged beauty of Lake Moultrie. Don’t pass up a visit to this low country wonder that is steeped in history and rich in natural splendor.

Things to do at Lake Moultrie

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Lake Moultrie

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Blue Catfish
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Sunfish
  • Warmouth
  • White Perch

Lake Moultrie Photo Gallery

Lake Moultrie Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Santee Cooper Public Service Authority

Surface Area: 60,400 acres

Shoreline Length: 135 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 75 feet

Average Depth: 20 feet

Maximum Depth: 50 feet

Water Volume: 1,211,000 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1942

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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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