Lakes of the Catawba

The eleven major lakes of the Catawba and Wateree rivers are born in the highlands of North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains and stretch out for almost 200 miles into the coastal plain of South Carolina. In between they are an unparalleled source of life, growth, energy and recreation. The common thread that ties them together is the Catawba River. This page provides information on the Lakes of the Catawba and contains links to the Covekeeper and other volunteer programs associated with some of the lakes.


 Headwaters of Catawba


Lake James - Seated in the foothills Lake James and Mountainsof the Blue Ridge Mountains and the first lake in the system, Lake James gathers surface water from its west by way of the infant Catawba River....

Learn more about Lake James

Go to Lake James Covekeeper page


Lake Rhodhiss at sunsetLake Rhodhiss After leaving Lake James, the Catawba River arrives at Lake Rhodhiss to the east by meandering through... 

     Learn more about Lake Rhodhiss





Lake Hickory - Just a few miles downstream from the Rhodhiss dam the Catawba River expands its banks once more to form...


Learn more about Lake Hickory

Go to the Lake Hickory Covekeepers page


LookoutShoalsDam_aerial Lookout Shoals Lake - Less than 10 miles from the dam at Lake Hickory, Lookout Shoals Lake is formed by.... 



         Learn more about Lookout Shoals Lake


Lake Norman aerial

Lake Norman - When the Catawba River finally makes a marked turn to due south some 15 miles downstream from Lookout Shoals Dam.... 


     Learn more about Lake Norman

  Go to the Lake Norman Covekeepers page




Mountain Island Lake - A few winding early morning Mountain Island Lake river miles from the Cowan's Ford Dam....


Learn more about Mountain Island Lake

    Visit the MIL Covekeepers page




   School of garLake Wylie - Bridging the Catawba River's transition into the Palmetto Sate, Lake Wylie's 25+ mile course here is....


Go to the Lake Wylie Covekeepers page


The longest remaining "free-flowing" section of the Catawba River can be found below Lake Wylie before reaching Fishing Creek Lake. In this 30-mile section of the South Carolina Scenic Catawba River, one can find the magnificent Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies blooming from mid-May to mid-June. These flowers can viewed from water or foot via access from Landsford Canal State Park in Catawba, SC.  Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation leads an annual Eco-tour through the lilies every spring. Learn more about the Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies and see photos from this year's Eco-tour here.

 Fishing Creek Lake - Slightly smaller than Spider Lillies 2 Mountain Island Lake, the next lake....


     Learn More about Fishing Creek Lake

Great Falls Lake & Rocky Crk Lake mapGreat Falls Lake - The oldest of the Catawba lakes in South Carolina, Great Falls is....       

Rocky Creek Lake - The second smallest lake in the system, Rocky Creek's 847 surface acres....


                Learn more about these lakes


Lake Wateree - As the Catawba River enters the last of the lakes in the system it gives up its identity since, from this lake on it will be known as....

Lake Wateree Dam

 Learn more about Lake Wateree

Click here for the Lake Wateree Covekeepers page


 For News about specific areas of the Catawba River Basin visit a page below:

 Information and a map about water withdrawals and discharges in the Catawba River Basin is here --> The Water of the Catawba


Covekeeper Programs - click this link for more information about the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation's Covekeeper Programs at each lake.

Statistical information and links to Duke Energy information about the lakes along the Catawba River can be found here -->  Catawba Lakes


Document Actions
Help Catawba Riverkeeper

Your River needs you as much as you need the River

Support Our River

Help in other ways

Jan 25, 2017 NC Riverkeeper Report
From the perspectives of 12 NC Riverkeepers, this report discusses how multiple environmental issues pose challenges in the pursuit of clean, plentiful water. Whether you are in North Carolina or downstream in South Carolina, read this report about the state of environmental enforcement.
Dec 13, 2016 Community Foundation of Gaston County grants $5,000 to CRF for Riverkeeper Program
The Community Foundation will fund Catawba Riverkeeper's work in Gaston County.
Dec 12, 2016 A Successful Launch of our Water Education Program at Great Falls Elementary
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation in partnership with 4-H Clemson Cooperative Extension successfully completed our pilot Education Outreach Program with 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from Great Falls Elementary.
Sep 27, 2016 Lake Wateree Fall Cleanup a Sweeping Success
86 volunteers collected 5,490 pounds of trash from Lake Wateree
Jun 13, 2016 Dozens of Youth Reached in Water Education Outreach Program Pilot Lessons
More news…
Report Pollution in the Catawba River

Help protect your River! 

Tell your Riverkeeper if you see:

  • Sewage Overflows
  • Failure to control sediment from construction sites
  • Illegal clearing of buffer areas
  • Fish kills 
  • Unpermitted discharges
  • Other issues that concern you

Click here to fill out a pollution report or to report water pollution to Catawba Riverkeeper by phone, call 1-888-679-9494 or 704-679-9494.  In addition, to informing your Riverkeeper, you should also report spills or contamination to federal, state and local environmental officials.

To report South Carolina water pollution call 1-888-481-0125.

To report North Carolina spills or fish kills, call your local regional Department of Environment & Natural Resources office during normal business hours (704-663-1699 for most Catawba basin areas or (828) 296-4500 for Burke, Caldwell, McDowell and other mountain counties) or 800-858-0368 after hours.  (For more information on NC spill reporting, click here)


The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is a proud member of EarthShare North Carolina, the North Carolina Conservation Network, River Network and the Waterkeeper Alliance.  It also in in an alliance with Clean Air Carolina to address issues, such as sprawl, that cause air and water problems.

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715 N. Church St., Suite 120 . Charlotte, NC 28202 . Phone: 704.679.9494 . Fax: 704.679.9559