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Compared to some other lakes

An overview of the area

Smith Mountain Lake is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places
along the East Coast of the country. Real estate taxes are as low as 52 cents on
the hundred, i.e. a $250,000 home would typically have a tax base of about
$1,500. Electric rates are as low as 4.75 cents per kWh., i.e. a typical 3,000
sq. ft. home, total electric, would have a total utility bill, heat/air and
lights, of between $55-60 spring and fall to maybe $110-120 summer and winter.

We are 30 miles from Roanoke, 95,000 people and 40 miles from Lynchburg,
80,000 people. Who cares, well let me tell you that anything over a couple of
hours driving is too far for a “day trip to the lake” and we don’t have any
large populated places that plague places like Lake Anna, and Deep Creek.
Fishing isn’t what it used to be years ago but all lakes cool off after
everything gets settled in. 25 pound stripers don’t usually even make it into
the local papers. Largest stripers are 45 – 55 pounds, muskies go up to maybe 30
pounds and small mouth bass can get up to 5+ pounds. This lake isn’t as good for
large mouth bass as Kerr and Gaston because it isn’t as warm but 8-10 pound bass
are still here.

Over the years I’ve done some searching and continued
some comments started by the folks we bought our home from, about lakes along
the East Coast of the U.S. We don’t have them all in here yet but at least it is
a start.  Anyone desiring to contribute some information, is invited to
contact us.

Sorted here roughly north to south (cooler to warmer)

1.    Deep Creek Lake,

2.    Lake Anna

3.    Smith Mountain Lake

4.    Leesville Lake

5.    Kerr Lake (Buggs Island)

6.    Lake Gaston

7.    Watauga Lake

8.    Dale Hollow Lake

9.    Lake Norman

10.  Lake Rhodhiss

11.   Lake Hickory

12.  Nickajack Lake

13.  Chicamauga Lake

14.  Lake Sidney Lanier

15.  Lake Hartwell

16.  Lake Keowee

 

1.         Deep Creek Lake,
Oakland, MD

Deep Creek is the center of Garrett County’s recreational attractions, an
ideal spot for year round vacationing. The lake is 12 miles in length with a
shoreline of 65 miles covering nearly 3,900 acres sitting in the heart of the
Allegheny Mountains. This little lake gets extremely crowded, especially on
weekends and mostly on the northern half of the lake. During the day in the
summer, fishing is almost impossible. However in the winter there is plenty of
skiing to be had. Wisp Ski Resort offering 23 ski slopes and trails totaling 14
miles on 80 acres. Available activities include boating, water skiing, fishing,
golfing, hiking, picnicking, whitewater rafting, sailing, downhill and cross
country skiing, snowmobiling, horseback riding and mountain biking.

2.         Lake
Anna
, Fredericksburg, VA

This lake is located between Richmond and Fredericksburg and about 15 miles
off I-95. The lake is about 20 miles long, with about 14,000 acres, and is a
Nuclear power facility. One half of the impoundment is used as a cooling pond
for the power plant. The lake becomes extremely crowded, especially on weekends,
because it is a little too close to heavily populated area of Washington D.C.
and Richmond VA. Fishing is extremely good in the wintertime because of the
warming effects of the power plant. Summer time fishing is hard because of all
the water activities and temperature.

3.         Smith Mountain
Lake
, Moneta, VA

Is located half way between Roanoke and Lynchburg Virginia. Smith Mountain
Lake is an impressive and picturesque man-made lake, about 30 minutes east of
Roanoke and 45 minutes west of Lynchburg Virginia, covering some 20,000 acres of
land within its 40 miles of length. The lake was created by the damming of the
Roanoke River at Smith Mountain Gap and was completed in 1966. Smith Mountain
was the first major pumped-storage electric generation facility built in the
United States. Water held in the lower reservoir (Leesville) is pumped back into
the upper reservoir (Smith Mountain) during off-peak hours for use in generating
electricity during peak demand hours. The system can be held in standby and
brought into full production in 15 minutes. Recreational activities include
boating, fishing, restaurants, golfing and a state park with beaches and
camping. Some of the 500 miles of shoreline has been developed with houses, town
homes, and condominiums, while other areas remain undeveloped and pristine
making the lake a premiere resort and retirement area. Because the lake usually
varies less than one foot fishing is more stable than on flood control type
facilities. The lake contains large and small mouth bass, spotted bass,
landlocked striped bass (stripers), walleye, muskellunge, yellow perch (ring
perch), crappie (silver perch), bluegill (bream) and other sunfish, rock bass
(redeye) and catfish.

4.         Leesville
Lake
, Gretna, VA

Leesville Lake is part of the Smith Mountain Lake power system. Operation of
the project makes maximum use of one of our natural resources – water – through
a process called pumped storage. A portion of the water goes through
turbine-generators at Leesville, generating additional electricity. Smith
Mountain is a pumped storage project that utilizes an upper reservoir (Smith
Mountain Lake) and a lower reservoir (Leesville Lake.) The water that is stored
in Smith Mountain Lake first passes through turbine-generators in the powerhouse
to produce electricity and is then discharged into Leesville Lake. Most of this
water is retained in the Leesville Lake and is pumped back into the Smith
Mountain Lake for re-use. A portion of the water goes through the
turbine-generators at the Leesville powerhouse to generate additional
electricity and to meet the minimum discharge requirements of the project’s
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license.

The Smith Mountain development utilizes a two-foot power pool. This means
that when Smith Mountain generates power by passing water through the turbines,
the Smith Mountain lake level can fluctuate up to two feet before the Leesville
Lake becomes full. In other words, a two-foot decrease in Smith Mountain results
in Leesville Lake increasing thirteen (13) feet or from a minimum elevation of
600 feet to maximum elevation of 613 feet. Once Leesville is full, power cannot
be produced at Smith Mountain until some portion of the water is pumped back to
Smith Mountain Lake.

There is no set schedule for operating the project. Generation generally
takes place when the demand for electricity is high and water from the lower
reservoir is pumped back into the upper reservoir when the demand for power is
low. The operation of the project can change on an hourly basis depending on
system demand.

The normal full pond elevation at Smith Mountain is 795 feet but the normal
operating range under full pond conditions is considered to be between 793 feet
and 795 feet because of the two-foot power pool. Normal operating range for
Leesville is between 600 feet and 613 feet. Under low in-flow conditions, the
pond elevation at Smith Mountain can fall below 793 feet.

5.         Kerr Lake (Buggs
Island)
, Clarksville VA

Large lake with approximately 800 miles of shoreline, and it is about 50,000
acres in size. There is little or no rip rapping of shoreline. Corp of Engineers
owns shoreline and up to the 320 contour. You cannot cut any trees down along
the shore, the docks have to be OK’d by the Corp of Engineers, and they are all
floating docks. Full pond is 300 feet, lows are about 295 in normal summer
months and highs are 310-325 in spring. Very muddy in spring, especially in the
upper section, due to farm runoff. Very little residential development and
almost no homes are seen from the water. This is a typical flatland lake depth
about 100 feet at dam.

6.         Lake
Gaston
, Littleton, NC

Is located between South Hill, Virginia and Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.
The lake is about 30 miles long and features 325 miles of shoreline and about
20,000 acres in size. Lake Gaston is well stocked with game fish, including
striped bass or rockfish, large mouth bass, crappie, sunfish and several
varieties of catfish. Since the beginning of the Mosquito Insect Control
program, bugs haven’t been as much of a problem as before. In the late 1980s
Gaston made local news when the controversial $150 million Lake Gaston water
supply project, one of Virginia’s largest and most fought over water utility
projects, has ended the decades-long threat of crippling water shortages in
Southside Hampton Roads by providing a new source of water to meet present and
future needs. In 1985 it was discovered that hydrilla weed infestation was a
problem on this lake. In l994 a survey by VA/NC Power and NCSU showed that
hydrilla had infested about 2,500 acres and in 1995 20,000 grass carp were added
to the lake. The control seems to be working somewhat but it is still too early
to tell. The Aquatic Nuisance Plant Control, Inc. is the contractor hired by the
Council to control the growth of hydrilla in Lake Gaston. The ANPC is a fully
integrated aquatic rescue management operation staffed by experts who have
distinguished themselves over the years of local consulting and practical water
resource management experience.

7.         Watauga
Lake
, Elizabethon, Tenn.

Extremely steep terrain, beautiful small to medium sized cold water lake.
Very little residential development and almost no building codes in Carter
County. Water extremely clean and clear, very deep. This is the first or highest
lake on TVA system. Very remote and water level somewhat seasonal with normal 20
foot draw down during drought and or heavy use in TVA system.

8.         Dale Hollow
Lake
, Celina, Tenn.

Very remote almost no visible homes other than summer cabins. Beautiful but
there is almost nothing there in the way of a normal community. Water level very
low, shoreline shows at least a 6-foot drop. Celina closest town, with a
population of about 1,500 population and about two and one half hours from
Nashville and one hour from Cookeville. Celina is a very old, poor, small town
with no restaurants.

9.         Lake
Norman
, Charlotte, N.C.

Lake has both floating and permanent type docks. Nuclear power and steam
station that burns coal. Homes here are very similar to Lake Lanier homes. No
elevation surrounds lake. This lake looks like any other – could be anywhere,
nothing special about it that we’ve seen. Some well built homes and trailers.
The lake is located about twenty miles outside of Charlotte. Don’t know rise and
fall.

10.        Lake Rhodhiss,
Hickory, NC.   (Courtesy of Debi Hauer NCLakefront.com
Realty)

Lake Rhodhisshas over 90 miles of shoreline, totaling over
3000 acres of surface area. Lake Rhodhiss offers 6 boat launches and one
marinas, and also a new waterfront Restaurant (under construction) you can visit
by boat! The lake is a fully recreational lake for swimming, boating (gas or
electric engines), sailing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boats, jet skiing, water
skiing, tubing, wakeboarding etc. Waterfront lots owners can obtain Boat Docks
Permits from Duke Power. During the summer months you can enter various fishing
tournaments, since the lake abounds with many species of fish. There are several
things that have made Lake Rhodhiss extremely attractive: the constant water
level, water clarity, and the shoreline. Since some communities use Lake
Rhodhiss as their drinking water supply, the water level remains constant, where
other lakes in the Carolinas can vary dramatically. Water clarity is another
reason why people want to be on Lake Rhodhiss. Unlike most other North Carolina
lakes, Lake Rhodhiss offers a crystal blue color, because it has a sandy bottom,
as opposed to clay. The attractive shoreline of Lake Rhodhiss is one of its
greatest assets. Many miles of shoreline has been designated as Nature Areas by
State and Local Governments. The rest of the shoreline displays custom built
homes, ranging in size from 2,000 to 10,000+ square feet, with beautiful docks,
many with second level viewing decks. With boating traffic rated as low to
moderate, you can see why so many people describe the natural beauty of Lake
Rhodhiss as “breathtaking.” And when you see it, you will feel the same.

11.        Lake Hickory,
Hickory, NC   (Courtesy of Debi Hauer NCLakefront.com
Realty)

Lake Hickory has over 105 miles of shoreline, totaling over 4200 acres of
surface area. Lake Hickory offers 16 boat launches and six marinas, and also, a
Great Steak & Seafood Restaurant you can visit by boat! The lake is a fully
recreational lake for swimming, boating (gas or electric engines), sailing,
kayaking, canoeing, paddle boats, jet skiing, water skiing, tubing, wakeboarding
etc. Waterfront lots owners can obtain Boat Docks Permits from Duke Power.
During the summer months you can enter various fishing tournaments, since the
lake abounds with many species of fish. There are several things that have made
Lake Hickory extremely attractive: the constant water level, water clarity, and
the shoreline. Since some communities use Lake Hickory as their drinking water
supply, the water level remains constant, where other lakes in the Carolinas can
vary dramatically. Water clarity is another reason why people want to be on Lake
Hickory. Unlike most other North Carolina lakes, Lake Hickory offers a crystal
blue color, because it has a sandy bottom, as opposed to clay. The attractive
shoreline of Lake Hickory is one of its greatest assets. Duke Power, the owners
of the lake, has kept over 20 miles of shoreline for natural areas. The rest of
the shoreline displays custom built homes, ranging in size from 2,000 to 10,000+
square feet, with beautiful docks, many with second level viewing decks. With
boating traffic rated as low to moderate, you can see why so many people
describe the natural beauty of Lake Hickory as “breathtaking.” And when you see
it, you will feel the same.

12.       Nickajack Lake,
Chattanooga, Tenn.

Water level fluctuates 2 feet, and is semi-clean. No residential development;
however there is a trailer here and there. Body of water very extensive. The
lake is beautiful, with its mountainous scenic beauty. No apparent year-round
people live there, i.e. only tourists and a few locals. Part of navigable-waters
of Tenn. Hoodlums gangs around lake who strip and steal everything when you try
to build, according to local deputy.

13.       Chicamauga Lake,
Chattanooga, Tenn.

TVA owns all waterfront land/property. An expensive lot runs $50,000 -
$60,000 but you don’t own to the water. This lake is an industrial lake with
huge plants and factories and various types, (DuPont, etc.). Nuclear power plant
very close to city. Rise and fall of water 5 to 10 ft. is common. There is a
gorgeous country club on the water with big, beautiful old mansions around it.
This lake has no feel for what we want to do much too much industry, water not
very clean, docks allowed in only a very few areas.

14.       Lake Sidney Lanier,
Gainesville, Ga. (some updated info. provided by Andrea Roche on 8/27/2008)

Water level (full) pool, 1071 size 38,000 acres and very populated with homes
etc. Lanier is over 50 years old and has been almost totally developed. Water
not as clear as Smith Mountain Lake (SML). Housing is as nice and as good as at
SML. Prices of homes and lots about the same as SML but here closer to a big
city and civilization. Rip rap is allowed with Corp of Engineers pre-approval
since it owns the shoreline. You cannot cut any trees down along the shore, the
docks have to be OK’d by the Corp of Engineers, and they are mostly all floating
types. City water and sewer, metro phone system.

15.       Lake Hartwell,
Anderson, S.C.

Full pool is 660; low point this summer was 644, a drop of 16-ft. This is a
very large lake with about 950 miles of shoreline and some 59,000 acres of
water. Lake is more rural and backward than Smith Mountain Lake, however this
may be what some people are looking for. All docks are of the floating type and
the Corp of Engineers owns the shoreline. It is about forty minutes to
Greenville, two hours to Atlanta and four hours to Charleston. The atmosphere
here, around the lake, is very country; however the top land value is about
$400,000.

16.       Lake Keowee,
Greenville, S.C.

Seneca & Clemson are the nearby towns. The population seems to be about
65% retirement 35% active and the average age of 52 is coming down as time goes
on. Has a nuclear plant and 316 miles of shoreline, only 1/3 of which ever will
be development. Located in “Golden Corner” of South Carolina Keowee full pool is
804, low pool, 790 with a fluctuation average of about two feet. George Cobb
designed gold course in Keowee Key. This pristine lake area has 18,500 acres and
1,800 homes with absolutely gorgeous water views, probably equal if not better
than views at Smith Mountain Lake. There seem to be more people from the
northern portion of the area. Quite steep terrain and lots in developments are
generally small in size, typical for prime waterfront areas.

Disclosure:

All content was prepared by Karlen Tinti and
Cathy Hummon

 

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