Lake Tillery, North Carolina, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - North Carolina - Piedmont -

Also known as:  Tillery Reservoir

Less than an hour’s drive from Charlotte, Lake Tillery is one of the best-kept secrets of the Piedmont Region of North Carolina. One of the reservoirs created along the Yadkin-PeeDee River for power generation, Lake Tillery lies between Badin Lake and Blewitt Falls Lake in the Uwharrie Lakes Region of North Carolina. The Lake Tillery Dam (also known as the Norwood Dam) was built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1928 for hydropower generation. Owned by Progress Energy, the lakeshore has been carefully managed to assure a healthy balance of residential development and undeveloped shoreline. Although homes and cottages are built around the reservoir, most actual lakefront is leased lots and subject to environmental regulation. This has kept the shoreline natural. A vegetation buffer zone provides run-off protection and sheltered habitat for aquatic plants and waterfowl. Tillery Reservoir currently provides drinking water supplies for Montgomery County and the City of Norwood.

Lake Tillery is a favorite location for summer water sports and swimming. All types of water craft are used here as residents and visitors alike enjoy water skiing, power boating, tubing, pontooning, wind surfing, jet skiing, canoeing and kayaking. Several marinas around the lake provide access for larger craft and rent small watercraft. For those with their own boats, ample free boat ramps are located around the lake.

The Uwharrie River and the Yadkin River enters Lake Tillery to form the PeeDee River. Other named tributaries entering the reservoir include Sugar Loaf Creek, Mountain Creek, Little Mountain Creek, Jacobs Creek, Cedar Creek, Rocky Creek, Big Island Creek, Wood Run Creek, Upper Wood Run Creek, David’s Creek, Bunny Creek, Richmond Creek, Lower Richland Creek, and Dutch John Creek. The many creek mouths provide excellent fishing and canoeing waters. Fish usually sought at Lake Tillery include channel catfish, striped bass, white bass, bluegill, red ear sunfish, and largemouth bass. Lake Tillery is a favorite location for tournament fishing and several tournaments are held here each year. The fishery is carefully monitored by Progress Energy and planting is completed on a scientific schedule to assure an optimum fishing experience for all anglers. A fishing pier is located at Morrow Mountain State Park for shore fishing. Other areas suitable for fishing are located along the shore.

Besides the undeveloped recreational lands set aside by Progress Energy, both Morrow Mountain State Park and Uwharrie National Forest abut the lakeshore. Both provide access and recreation on the water to the general public. Morrow Mountain State Park encompasses part of the Uwharrie Mountains; the steep, rugged hills are in contrast to the rolling land of the Piedmont. The park provides camping facilities, picnicking, swimming, boating, educational exhibits and trails for hiking and biking. The 4,742 acre park contains four of the low, ancient mountains in the Uwharrie Range. The rounded mountains, once many thousands of feet high have been weathered over millennia down to less than a thousand feet. Even at 936 feet, Morrow Mountain is quite a feat of endurance for those following the hiking trail.

Uwharrie National Forest is similar in topography to Morrow Mountain State Park. Campgrounds here include rustic and developed sites and miles upon miles of trails, some of which wind along parts of the Lake Tillery shore and neighboring Badin Lake. Both areas are excellent for bird and wildlife watching. Bald eagles are often seen, along with a variety of song birds and waterfowl. Both parks are favored for mountain biking and some trails are designated for horseback riding or off-road vehicles. Certain areas of the National Forest are available for hunting in season. Check with National Forest personnel for regulations and licenses.

Two of the closest towns to Lake Tillery are the small village of Norwood, a short distance from the western shore. and My Gilead. The tiny town of Norwood is big enough to supply visitors with a few groceries and bait. For a larger selection, Mt Gilead is a somewhat larger town a few miles from the dam. Here the visitor can find grocery stores, shopping and restaurants. For full-sized services and shopping, Charlotte and Greensboro are about sixty miles away, along with Concord, High Point and other metropolitan cities along Interstate 40.

The entire area around Lake Tillery is historic, both in archeological sites and American history. One activity visitors will enjoy is Town Creek Indian Mound – an archeological site open to the public. Here, visitor can see replicas of housing used by the PeeDee Native Americans, shards of pottery and tools, and interpretation of the lifestyle and burial practices of these fascinating ancient people. The North Carolina Historic Site, located east of Mt Gilead, is operated by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

A site with more modern roots is the Reed Gold Mine, between Lake Tillery and Charlotte in Midland. Here, descendants of a Hessian soldier from the Revolutionary War settled to farm. His young son found a huge lump of gold in a nearly dry creek and brought it home to use as a doorstop. When the metal was finally determined to be gold, it started a North Carolina gold rush that lasted until overshadowed by the California gold rush. Children and adults will enjoy a chance to pan for gold at the mine facilities.

Vacation rentals are usually available at Lake Tillery. Many part-time residents lease their properties while they are not there. Other lodgings are available year-round. The Piedmont area is a popular vacation spot and many bed-and-breakfast facilities, small resorts and motels can be found either at Lake Tillery or at other nearby lakes. Local newspapers and internet searches often turn up real estate for sale at bargain prices. The area is popular but not overcrowded due careful management. One visit and you may find yourself dreaming of a retirement home here or a summer cottage. Come explore Lake Tillery. You’ll love it!

Things to do at Lake Tillery

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Jet Skiing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wind Surfing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • National Forest
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Tillery

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Redear Sunfish (Shellcracker)
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Bass

Lake Tillery Photo Gallery

Lake Tillery Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Progress Energy

Surface Area: 5,263 acres

Shoreline Length: 118 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 279 feet

Average Depth: 32 feet

Maximum Depth: 72 feet

Completion Year: 1928

Drainage Area: 4,834 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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