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Lake Information
  Overlooking Lake Jocassee

Lake Jocassee and Lake Keowee are both located in the Piedmont mountains of northwest South Carolina in Oconee County. Both lakes were developed by Duke Energy in the early 1970's as a source of power generation. The two lakes are separated by the Jocassee Dam with Jocassee on the north end and Keowee on the south. These are two of the most pristine and scenic lakes in the country! Please read below for more specific information about each of the lakes.

Lake Jocassee

  • Date completed: 1973
  • Size: 7500 Acres with 75 miles of shoreline
  • Elevation: 1100 feet (at full pond)
  • Depth: 380 feet at its deepest; average depth over 150 feet
  • Fish Species: *Brown Trout, *Rainbow Trout, Large Mouth Bass, *Small Mouth Bass, *Spotted Bass, **Red Eye Bass, White Bass, Bream, Catfish, Carp
    * SC State Records
    ** World Record

"Jocassee" is a Cherokee word that means "land of the lost one".  The area was once inhabited by one of the largest Cherokee nations in the country and as legend would have it, there were two distinct tribes that lived on opposite sides of the Toxaway River and they were not fond of each other. The tribe on the north side crossed the river and a battle ensued during which time the Prince, son of the chief from the north side, was injured and taken captive. The Princess, daughter of the chief from the south side, took care of him and as you probably guessed, they fell in love. The Princess' brother was angry about the relationship, killed the Prince and brought his head back to camp. When the Princess saw this, she took the head, ran towards Jumping Off Rock and jumped over 30 feet into the river. Obviously, she was never seen again, but their spirit lives on in the land of the lost one.

  Jocassee Waterfall
Jocassee Yakkers  

Lake Jocassee is predominantly surrounded by the Sumter National Forest. There are only 21 houses on the lake while the balance of the shoreline remains in its natural state. The entire shore is surrounded by the Blue Ridge mountains. The lakes water source comes from numerous rivers and streams. It is well known for the many spectacular waterfalls that empty into the lake. The result of the mountainous shoreline and waterfalls leaves many of its visitors in disbelief that they are actually in South Carolina as it is often compared to Lake Tahoe and other scenic lakes in Europe.

The fishing is world class. The lake holds 5 state records and one world record for Bass and Trout. Experienced anglers consider it an extremely difficult lake to fish in because of its clear, deep and cold water. However, once you learn the secrets to fishing in a lake like this, you will be well rewarded with trophy catches that are unprecedented anywhere else in the state. Your best bet is to hire a seasoned professional guide to teach you the tricks of both Bass and Trout angling. Fishing guides are available at the Jocassee Outdoor Center.

  Sunrise at Lake Jocassee

The Foothills Trail is a 78 mile trail system that starts in Oconee State Park and ends at Table Rock State Park and in between in winds around Lake Jocassee. For an incredible day hike, you can get the Jocassee Outdoor Center to shuttle you across the lake to a trail access point where you can take a four hour hike to another access point and have them pick you up. During your hike, you cross several streams and have the opportunity to walk under a few cool and refreshing waterfalls. Take the hike during Spring to see large clusters of Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel or in the Fall for incredible Fall foliage mountain views.

Due to the clarity of its blue waters, Lake Jocassee is home to just about all of the scuba diving schools within a 150 mile radius who bring their students out for the weekend for open water certification. The more experienced divers have built an under water play ground including and obstacle course.

There are no commercial businesses located on Lake Jocassee so make sure you have plenty of food, drinks and a full tank of gas before you launch your boat, all of which can be found at the Jocassee Outdoor Center which is located just prior to the lake entrance.

Devils Fork State Park is located on Lake Jocassee. The park offers camping, RV sites, cabin rentals and a couple of short and easy walking trails. The full staff of park rangers keep this park looking spectacular year round. During the summer months, the Pavilion is open which offers a sandy beach, swimming, kayak rentals and consessions.



  Lake Keowee

Lake Keowee

  • Date completed: 1971
  • Size: 18,500 Acres with 300 miles of shoreline
  • Elevation: 800 feet (at full pond)
  • Fish Species: Large Mouth Bass, Spotted Bass, Red Eye Bass, White Bass, Crappie, Bream, Catfish, Carp

"Keowee" is also a Cherokee word meaning "the place of the Mulberry". Most of the area was home to the Cherokee Indians spread out over numerous villages. If you cover the shores and look hard, you can still find remnants including arrowheads, bowls and other collectables.

Unlike Lake Jocassee, housing and commercial operations are allowed on Lake Keowee. There are several high end, gated golf communities spotted throughout the lake which has drawn attention to  golfers and lake lovers world wide.

The south end of the lake is conveniently located in Seneca, SC and is within a short drive from Clemson and Greenville, SC. Also on the south end is the Lake Keowee Marina where you will find the only public restaurant on the lake, the Tiki Hut. While the north end of the lake is also a short drive from town, its proximity in the Blue Ridge Mountains gives you the feeling that you are far removed from civilization.

Keowee Reserve  

Fishing is extremely productive on Lake Keowee with its abundance of Spotted Bass and Crappie. Just about any time of year, you can fill thelive well with a nice "mess" of fish and as any born and bread southern boy will tell you, "there just ain't no better eatin' than a mess of Crappie"!

There are numerous public landings and parks on Lake Keowee. For a complete listing, contact the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

  Keowee from Hwy 11 Bridge


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