How Lake Hickory Came to be...

Lake Hickory (Photo by Chad Austin)

In the Foothills, “The Lake” and “The River” are terms that are used interchangeably. Why? Well, we'll explain.

Starting just east of Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Catawba River flows in our area through a series of reservoirs and eventually makes its way to the Wateree River in South Carolina, joining the Santee and reaching the Atlantic Ocean. Lake Hickory was created on the Catawba River in 1927 with the completion of the Oxford Dam, which is 11 miles northeast of Hickory. The dam parallels the NC Highway 16 bridge over the Catawba River between Interstate 40 and Taylorsville. It is 122 feet high, with an overall length of 1,200 feet. The spillway section of the dam is 550 feet long. This dam provides electricity through two generating units that are located on the South Bank.

 Located on the other end of Lake Hickory is the Rhodhiss Hydro Station that was built in 1925. It is 65 feet high and 1,500 feet long. It has three generating units and is responsible for the creation of Lake Rhodhiss, which is a source of water for Granite Falls, Lenoir, Morganton and Valdese. The lake is named for the adjacent town of Rhodhiss, where flags that are on the moon were woven!
Lake Hickory is named after the city of Hickory and runs along its Northern edge. The lake covers almost 4,223 acres with 105 miles of shoreline. Full pond elevation is 935 feet. Lake Hickory is a reliable source of water for the cities of Hickory and Conover and the town of Longview.
Duke Energy owns the hydro stations, and in cooperation with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, provides four boat access areas and one bank fishing area on Lake Rhodhiss and five boat access areas on Lake Hickory.

Fishing is permitted in the lakes with proper licensing ( Species that are present include Largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish, carp and catfish. Numerous parks are located around the banks of the lakes and provide recreation for our locals and visitors.

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