Lake Nottely, Georgia, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - Georgia - Northeast Georgia Mountains -

Also known as:  Nottely Reservoir

Lake Nottely is one of the best kept secrets in Georgia. The small mountain lake with deep clear water is just two hours from Atlanta, yet most water enthusiasts have not discovered it. About 70 percent of the shoreline is United States Forest Service lands, making boating the 4,180 acre lake a scenic treat.

Nottely Reservoir, as it is also known, was created by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Construction of the Nottely Dam started in 1941. The 184 foot high dam was completed a year later. It stretches 2,300 feet across the Nottely River. The reservoir itself meanders 20 miles through Union County, Georgia, to the town of Blairsville.

Lake Nottely rests in between the mountains of the Chattahoochee National Forest on the southeastern edge of the Tennessee River watershed. Full pond is 1,779 above mean sea level. The water level of the reservoir varies on average 17 feet over the course of a year, with ranges from 14 to 32 feet. Nottely Reservoir was created for flood control and power generation, though it only creates 15,000 kilowatts of power which is not enough to meet local needs.

Lake Nottely is located entirely in Union County, one of the fastest growing areas in the state of Georgia. According to the 2000 census the population grew more than 44%. The area has a higher than average number of second homes and retirees. Its location roughly two hours from Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Asheville and Greenville as well as the availability of quality healthcare are selling points to retirees.

Nottely Reservoir has a beach and camping areas. The lake is a great place to observe the native wildlife of Georgia, and has become a popular hunting spot. Cabin rentals are available for vacationers. Personal watercrafts and boats can be rented at area marinas as well, allowing visitors to take in the beautiful mountain views from the porches of their vacation rentals or from the water.

Lake Nottely is also known for its diverse population of fish. The most common types are largemouth bass, spotted bass and crappie. There are also black and striped bass, walleye and rainbow trout. The state stocks the water to give anglers more opportunities. The average striper weighs in between six to 15 pounds. The number of fish over 20 pounds is low, but some anglers have reeled in trophy-size catches of more than 40 pounds in weight. For the novice angler, area guides are on stand by to show you some of the lake’s fishing hot spots.

Union County has four distinct seasons. Winters are mild averaging three inches of snowfall annually. The County’s lush vegetation is nourished by the area’s 65 inches of rain a year. The topography is distinctive offering elevations of 1,600 feet to nearly 4,800 feet above sea level. Regardless of the season, the mountain range is a backdrop for beautiful views. The mountains burn with brilliant reds, yellows and oranges when the foliage changes in autumn. Lake Nottely attracts visitors from several states.

Near Lake Nottely is Vogel State Park, one of Georgia’s oldest parks. It is 10 miles south of Blairsville. Its centerpiece is Lake Trahlyta, named after a Cherokee Princess. The 20-acre lake is used for swimming, paddle boating and fishing. Vogel State Park also has cabins, camping and hiking.

The Appalachian Trial crosses Union County just four miles south of Vogel State Park. The Walasi-Yi Center at Neel’s Gap is a popular stop with hikers traversing the 2175 mile trail.

You may also want to take in the view from Brasstown Bald. It is 20 miles southeast of Blairsville. At 4,784 feet above sea level it is Georgia’s highest mountain. From there you can take in panoramic views of four states. Bring your walking shoes. It is a mile and a half hike from the parking lot to the peak.

Additional Resource:
Georgia Department of Natural Resources 770-535-5498

Things to do at Lake Nottely

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Camping
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • State Park
  • National Forest

Fish species found at Lake Nottely

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Spotted Bass
  • Striped Bass
  • Trout
  • Walleye

Lake Nottely Photo Gallery

    Lake Nottely Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Tennessee Valley Authority

    Surface Area: 4,180 acres

    Shoreline Length: 106 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,776 feet

    Water Volume: 61,588 acre-feet

    Completion Year: 1942

    Lake Area-Population: 21,300

    Drainage Area: 214 sq. miles

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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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