Lake Wylie, North Carolina & South Carolina, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - South - North Carolina - Piedmont - South Carolina - Olde English District -

Also known as:  Lake Wylie Reservoir

Spanning the North Carolina-South Carolina border, Lake Wylie is the oldest reservoir on the Catawba River. First dammed in 1904, the dam was rebuilt in 1924, vastly increasing the amount of surface acreage. Managed by Duke Energy, the reservoir and dam serve several power generation systems including hydroelectric, cooling water for nuclear power and even water to generate steam at the coal-fired Allen Steam Station. As with all true Southern belles, Lake Wylie has aged into a genteel yet vibrant asset to the cross-border community. Always ready to contribute, Lady Wylie provides water supply to the cities of Rock Hill and Belmont. And like the perfect hostess, Lake Wylie offers up excellent fishing, water sports and laid-back living to her many admirers.

With over 13,000 surface acres and 325 miles of shoreline, Lake Wylie can be all things to a variety of lakelubbers. Duke Energy has supplied a number of boat launch facilities on the various arms of the lake. Parks and campgrounds have grown up with facilities for swimming, boating, sun bathing and shoreline fishing. Local municipalities manage a number of these sites and often use the park settings to host musical events, fishing derbies and children’s entertainment. Entire communities have developed around the large lake where homeowners entertain on lakefront docks and decks, barbecue on the back patio, and enjoy evenings with guests on screened porches overlooking the water.

A number of marinas provide fuel, maintenance and necessities to a variety of boaters. One boating club even provides boats to their members who wish to avoid the maintenance and expense of a privately-owned craft. There are a few businesses that rent watercraft to occasional visitors, including pontoons, personal watercraft, fishing boats and power boats. The large expanse of water makes it ideal for water-skiing, wake-boarding and tubing, while the irregular shoreline and many coves attract kayakers, canoeists and house boaters. The lake communities have existed long enough that yacht and sailing clubs hold regattas on the lake on a regular basis. Parades of colorfully decorated pontoons and boats are a cheerful tradition in annual events and 4th of July parades.

Fishing is good at Lake Wylie. So good in fact that tournament fishing is regularly scheduled here. Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass lead to some impressive catches, but crappie, bream, catfish, stripped bass, sunfish, white bass and white perch are also caught and are favorites with the youngsters. Fishing guide service is available to the novice fisherman or those wanting to be assured of locating the best hot spots. Since the lake lies in both North and South Carolina, the fisherman that intends to do much trolling or to fish the entire lake is advised to obtain the proper fishing licenses for both states.

Since the lake is only a few miles south of the Charlotte, North Carolina metropolitan area, Lake Wylie is a popular weekend camping and vacation destination. At least three of the designated parks include public campgrounds with most amenities. Reservations may be necessary on busy weekends. The lake is also a popular spot to rent a cottage for a week or month while still within commuting distance of Charlotte and Rock Hill, if work responsibilities intrude mid-week.

A number of activities occur at the lake which residents and visitors alike enjoy. The Lake Wylie Music Fest is a free, volunteer concert on a private dock during the summer months where the audience arrives and listens from their boats (the audience is encouraged to bring drums to ‘play along’). Somewhat more formal is the Tega Cay Summer Concert Series in the community of Tega Cay; this outdoor concert series is held at Runde Park. Regular concert-goers can purchase a Luxury Lawn 10 x10 box seat with four chairs on the shady side of the field, while others take whatever space they can find. Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens fill the northern reaches of Lake Wylie with the flowers and trees of carefully-planned horticulture. An Orchid Conservatory places the crowning touch of landscaped lawns with spectacular specimen plantings. The site includes a series of nature trails that meander through five acres of meadow and woodland areas to Lake Wylie.

If visitors use Lake Wylie as base camp for other local activities, there are a number of attractions very near the lake. The Carowinds Amusement Park is only a couple of miles away, as is a large shopping mall. Charlotte itself has a number of museums and art galleries, with plenty of restaurants and specialty shopping. Near Charlotte, the U.S. National Whitewater Center is a non-profit organization that allows visitors to practice kayaking, canoeing, and white water rafting in a fun and safe environment. There are also trails for hiking and a giant climbing wall. Olympic-caliber athletes train here regularly, and interested parties can sign up for survival school and a number of Guide Schools. And there are always concerts and sports events going on at the Charlotte Coliseum.

History buffs will be in heaven visiting the area around Fort Mill, South Carolina just east of the lake. A Confederate Memorial Park commemorates various participants in Civil War history, with markers dedicated to a great many actions, and to both the Confederate Women and Faithful Slaves who defended families and property while the head of the household was off to war. The Faithful Slaves monument is thought to be the only monument to the slaves who aided the South’s war efforts. Several famous battle sites are not far away, including Nations Ford and Sumter’s Camp at Clems Branch. The Chicago White Sox minor league team, the Charlotte Knights, plays here each spring. Northeast of Charlotte, the Rural Hill Farm was the home of Revolutionary War patriot and signer of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, Major John Davidson. Rural Hill is the largest and oldest public historic site in Mecklenburg County dating 1760. A preserved Scottish farm, the site contains farm buildings, rare livestock including Scottish highland cows and walking trails.

Vacation lodgings are plentiful in the area around Lake Wylie, with some private homes and cottages available for rent by the week or month. Bed-and-breakfasts, rustic cabins, hotels and motels can be found around the lake and in the adjacent towns. Real estate for sale exists in several developments, and the occasional private lakefront home can be found at just the right price and with the perfect view. Lake Wylie is the perfect place to spend a North or South Carolina vacation, with Charlotte only minutes away, and Columbia, South Carolina less than two hours to the south. So, come visit Lake Wylie, the Carolinas’ favorite southern belle. She graciously awaits your visit.

Things to do at Lake Wylie

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Museum
  • Amusement Park
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Lake Wylie

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Bass
  • White Perch

Lake Wylie Photo Gallery

Lake Wylie Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Duke Power Company

Surface Area: 13,443 acres

Shoreline Length: 325 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 569 feet

Maximum Depth: 240 feet

Completion Year: 1924

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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