LAKE JOCASSEE: An Undeveloped Gem for the Upstate Region of SC
Created to generate power to the region through its hydro-electric dam – Lake Jocassee is an undeveloped gem of a lake that is popular with residents of the Upstate region of South Carolina. Boaters, campers, hikers, and fisherman all enjoy the pristine lake year round. Lake Jocassee is located along the boundry line between Oconee and Pickens Counties.
Unlike neighboring Lake Keowee – Lake Jocassee is mainly an undeveloped gem among the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Upstate region of South Carolina. The lake was created by Duke Energy and the state of South Carolina in 1973 when they built the hydro-electric dam – the Jocassee Hydro Station – that the lake now supports and powers. There are four main rivers that feed into the lake – the Whitewater River, the Thompson River, Horsepasture River, and the Toxaway River – all of whom are fed by the mountain rivers of the Appalachians.
The shores of this 7,500 acre lake are mostly undeveloped because they are owned by Duke Energy and the state of South Carolina. There is one area with public access to the lake – that is through Devils Fork State Park.
Devils Fork State Park is a popular destination for families of the region because of its pristine views and uncrowded settings. There are campgrounds available as well as plenty of hiking trails with views of the numerous waterfalls that cascade directly into the lake.
Lake Jocassee is also popular with fisherman and scuba divers. A number of popular species of fish live in the lake including a number of species of bass – Redeye, Smallmouth, and Spotted – along with Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. Several South Carolina state fishing records have been caught in Lake Jocassee.
• Redeye Bass – by Randy Dickson in 2001 was 5 lbs. 2.5 oz.
• Spotted Bass – by James Couch in 1996 was 8 lbs. 2 oz.
• Smallmouth Bass – by Terry Dodson in 2001 was 9 lbs. 7 oz.
• Brown Trout – by Larry Edwards in 1987 was 17 lbs. 9.5 oz.
• Rainbow Trout – by Scott Coggins in 1993 was 11 lbs. 5 oz.
Scuba divers enjoy the 300 foot deep lake because of the many structures and things of interest that were covered when the lake was formed. These include some buildings and even a hilltop cemetery that now sits almost one hundred feet below the surface of the water.
During the fall months, Lake Jocassee is a popular destination for people watching the changing of the leaves. Numerous hiking trails provide spectacular views of the fall leaf change. Bird watchers also enjoy the areas native birds. Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons are often seen fishing on the lake.
A rare wildflower blooms along the shores of Lake Jocassee – the Oconee Bell. It’s native to only a few counties in the Upstate region of South Carolina and can often be seen near the shores of the lake. The creation of the lake is thought to have destroyed much of the natural range of this wildflower. There are a number of rare or endangered species of plants and animals in the region that are monitored by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Lake Jocassee is a popular and undeveloped lake in the Upstate region. It offers a number of different recreational opportunities for residents of the area including boating and hiking. It also serves the region for the reason it was originally created – by bringing power through the hydro-electric dam that created the lake.
Updated: Dec., 2012