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Lake Jocassee, SC

Lake Size: 7500 acres
Shoreline Length (Miles): 75 miles
Deepest Depth: 350 feet
Latitude: 35
Longitude: -82.933333
Lake Level Above Sea Level: 1100 ft
Counties: Oconee
Cities: Oconee

Information: Lake Jocassee is a 7,500-acre (30 km2), 300-foot (91 m) deep reservoir located in northwest South Carolina created by the state in partnership with Duke Power in 1973. The clean and cold Appalachian mountain rivers that feed the lake keep its waters cool year-round. The hydroelectric dam that formed the lake is 385 feet (117 m) high and 1,750 feet (530 m) long. The lake is home to Devils Fork State Park. Although most manmade structures were demolished prior to the creation of the lake, divers recently discovered the remains of a lodge which was left intact until the lake rose and now sits below 300 feet of water; a hilltop graveyard with headstones also remains more than 130 feet under the water. The name Jocassee comes from the legend of a Cherokee maiden. An Oconee tribe, the "Brown Vipers" led by Chief Attakulla, inhabited the west side of the Whitewater river, while a rival tribe, "The Green Birds", lived on the east. Legend says that a young Green Bird warrior, Lake Jocassee from the Bad Creek entrance to the lake. Nagoochee, was not afraid to enter Brown Viper hunting grounds. On one occasion, he fell and broke his leg and was convinced he was going to die. Then he heard Jocassee, Attakulla's daughter, who brought him back to her father's lodge and nursed him back to health. Jocassee eventually fell in love with him, but in a later battle, Cheochee, Jocassee's brother, killed and brought Nagoochee's head back on his belt. Legend has it that Jocassee went into the water and did not sink but walked across the water to meet the ghost of Nagoochee. The name Jocassee means "Place of the Lost One." The Jocassee Gorges area was once home to the part of the Cherokee Nation; it now lies 300 feet (91 m) beneath the surface of the lake, near the Toxaway River. Nearby Keowee Town was a major hub in the Cherokee Path that connected Cherokee towns and villages throughout the area. Early 18th century traders delivered as many as 200,000 deerskins annually to Charleston, South Carolina and local Indians became well supplied with European firearms, ammunition, tools and clothing as a result. However, mounting discord between Europeans and Cherokees led to war in 1759. In 1785, General Andrew Pickens hosted a large gathering of Indian chiefs leading to a treaty that gave all of the Jocassee gorges area, with the exception of northern Oconee County, to the United States; the Oconee mountains were not ceded until 1815. European settlers, mostly of Scottish and Irish descent, came from Virginia and Pennsylvania as well as from Charleston. Land grants in the Jocassee area go back to 1791.
  • Fishing
  • Business
  • Recreation
  • Miscellaneous Info
Lake Jocassee holds state records for 5 species of fish, including three in the sunfish family (Centrarchidae). In 2001 a 5 lb 2.5 oz (2.34 kg) Redeye bass and a 9 lb 7 oz (4.3 kg) Smallmouth bass were caught. A 8 lb 2 oz (3.7 kg) Spotted bass was caught in 1996. The last two came from the salmon family (Salmonidae). A 17 lb 9.5 oz (7.98 kg) Brown trout was caught in 1987 and a 11 lb 5 oz (5.1 kg) Rainbow trout was caught in 1993.
The waters of Lake Jocassee are supplied by a confluence of four rivers. The Whitewater River, is the furthest west of the rivers, flows southeast until it meets the northwest corner of Lake Jocassee. The Thompson River, flows due south until it also reaches the lake in the northwest corner. The Horsepasture River feeds the lake from the northeast corner, along with the Toxaway River, which is directly east of the Horsepasture River. The Jocassee Hydro Station, located in the southeast corner of Lake Jocassee, separates it from the beginning of Lake Keowee, also known as the Keowee River. Lake Keowee's furthest extent to the south brings it close to the city of Seneca, with the old mill town of Newry actually on it. Unlike Lake Jocassee, Keowee is heavily settled, primarily because the land adjacent to Lake Jocassee is owned by Duke Power and the State of South Carolina.

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