• River: Keowee River
• Length: 75 Miles
• Surface Area: 7,565 Acres
• Volume: 1,185,000 Acre Feet
• Average Depth: 158 Feet
• Maximum Depth: 350 feet
Lake Jocassee is a 7,500-acre, 300-foot deep reservoir located in northwest South Carolina created by the state in partnership with Duke Power in 1973. The lake is commonly known for the clean and cold Appalachian mountain rivers that feed the lake to keep its waters cool and clear year-round. The Jocassee Dam, which forms the lake, is 385 feet high and 1,750 feet 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 cemetery was one of the scenes used in the filming of the 1972 thriller, Deliverance, starring Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight.
A confluence of four rivers supplies Lake Jocassee's water. The farthest west of the rivers, the Whitewater River, flows southeast until it meets the northwest corner of Lake Jocassee. The Thompson River flows due south until it too 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 most of the land,but not all, adjacent to Lake Jocassee is owned by Duke Power and the State of South Carolina.
A rare wildflower, the Oconee Bell (Shortia galacifolia), native to only a few counties in the Blue Ridge area, was discovered in the area in 1788 by French botanist André Michaux. The creation of Lake Jocassee is said to have caused the destruction of the heart of the species' range. More recently, biologists have documented the occurrence of a number of rare, threatened and endangered species. The Eastatoee Gorge Heritage Preserve was transferred from Duke Power Company to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in 1979 due to the extremely diverse flora occurring there.
Wildlife management efforts in the Jocassee Gorges area began as early as the 1930s when the Chief Game Warden managed the stocking of trout from the Cleveland State Fish Hatchery, Table Rock State Hatchery, and the Walhalla National Fish Hatchery. This led to the investigation and improvement of fish populations in the area. People hiking, hunting, fishing, or nature watching benefit from the fish stocking and law enforcement of the Game Management Program (now WMA).