Lake Rhodhiss, North Carolina, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - North Carolina - Mountains -

Also known as:  Rhodhiss Lake

Lake Rhodhiss spans 3,060 acres in Burke and Caldwell Counties of west central North Carolina, lying between Lake James and Lake Hickory. A view of surrounding mountain peaks and wildlife, coupled with Rhodhiss’ sprawling quiet, makes the lake a beauty. It is a narrow river-like reservoir within the large Catawba River Basin. About three fourths of the lake’s watershed is forested and only three percent developed, making the area a good choice for those who simply desire some rejuvenation in nature’s lap.

Rhodhiss Lake was filled after Duke Energy constructed a dam and hydro station in 1925. The dam is 65 feet high and 1,500 feet long. Duke Energy continues to control water uses, which include hydroelectric power, industrial and residential water supply, and waste assimilation. Visitors take full advantage of the lake’s recreational opportunities and enjoy nearly every water sport in waters that remain constant throughout the year: water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, jet skiing, swimming, and boating. Duke, in collaboration with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, provides four boat access areas and one bank fishing area for visitors’ convenience. A marina offers a boat ramp, fuel, boat storage, restaurant, and grocery items.

Several major tributaries feed the waters of Rhodhiss Lake, including Johns River, Muddy Creek, and Silver Creek. Much of the lake’s headwaters are classified as trout waters with exceptional quality. And in fact, Rhodhiss Lake is considered the densest resource of fish among Catawba lakes. Largemouth bass, striped bass, muskie, catfish, sunfish, and crappie are among the most attractive species. Largemouth bass in particular are exceptionally plenty and large weighing in up to 10 pounds. Though it is a productive lake, anglers report that Lake Rhodhiss does not receive a lot of fishing pressure, making it a quiet place of discovery for the contemplative fisherman.

Lake Rhodhiss residential development, including gated communities, offers lakefront properties and lake-access properties with mountain and wildlife views. Rhodhiss Lake is surrounded by North Carolina towns that are quaint, warm, friendly, and full of rich history. The city of Lenoir has an annual Harambee Arts Festival in August that includes a block party, dance, pageant and yard sale among other fun family events. In Lenoir’s downtown square filled with antique and novelty shops, you can watch outdoor family summer movies free of charge or enjoy blues, bluegrass, folk and classic rock at “Friday After Five, On the Square!”

You will find an unexpected experience exploring the heritage of the town of Valdese, originally founded by Waldensian religious settlers who migrated from the Cottian Alps in Italy. The Trail of Faith, Waldensian Heritage Museum with gift shop, and Waldensian Heritage Winery are among numerous points of interest. The winery preserves Waldensian traditions of Italian wine-making. In the summer, take in a dramatic recounting of the Waldenses’ beginnings at the Old Colony Amphitheater or visit the Old Rock School, an establishment of local and regional art and well-known for its bluegrass concerts.

North Carolina’s largest state park, the South Mountains State Park about 30 miles south of Lake Rhodhiss, offers trout fishing, equestrian facilities, mountain biking, hiking and picnicking opportunities. About an hour away are Sugar Mountain and Grandfather Mountain. Sugar Mountain provides downhill skiing facilities, and Grandfather Mountain is the highest in the Blue Ridge Mountain chain at near 6,000 feet. Also visit the famed “Mile High Swinging Bridge” or one of the enclosed wildlife habitats of the cougar, black bear or eagle. Chimney Rock State Park offers a few mountain attractions, one of which is a 315-foot rock with an elevator inside. The 26-story elevator carries visitors to the top of the mountain at a 2,280-foot elevation for a stunning view of the edges of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The metropolitan hub of Hickory is just a quick drive to the east of Rhodhiss Lake. The city offers one of the best furniture shopping opportunities in the world, plus a series of thriving culture and arts opportunities. Hickory alone has more than ten public golf courses. Lake Rhodhiss is a great lake for fishermen, water sports enthusiasts, and those who seek a lake-living lifestyle. It offers the convenience of serene seclusion and accessibility to a wide variety of outdoor adventure and urban enjoyment.

Things to do at Lake Rhodhiss

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Rhodhiss

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Pike
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Lake Rhodhiss Photo Gallery

Lake Rhodhiss Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Duke Energy

Surface Area: 3,060 acres

Shoreline Length: 90 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 995 feet

Average Depth: 20 feet

Maximum Depth: 52 feet

Water Volume: 70,300 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1925

Water Residence Time: 21 days

Drainage Area: 1,088 sq. miles

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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