Lake Rhodhiss, North Carolina, USA

Also known as:  Rhodhiss Lake

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Lake Rhodhiss.

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Lake Rhodhiss visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - South - North Carolina - Mountains -

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.

Custom Lake Rhodhiss house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

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

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Lake Rhodhiss

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Lake Rhodhiss photo gallery

New photos coming soon!

Lake Rhodhiss statistics & helpful links


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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