Lakes, Rivers and Streams in Jackson County NC
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River and Lakes in Jackson County North Carolina

Jackson County has one of those rare watersheds that flows to both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The majority of Jackson County's waterways flow toward the Gulf; a small portion of the county's waterways in the southern Cashiers flow to the Atlantic Ocean. With all that water, Jackson County becomes a county filled with lots and lots of lakes, both big and small, along with enough rivers, creeks, and streams to wear out a truckload of waders.

The waterways and lakes of Jackson County are renowned by anglers who enjoy fly-fishing the rushing, cascading waterways and by boaters who enjoy quietly cruising the still water channels of the county's many lakes, looking to drop a line into the water, maybe to catch a bass or two.

Tuckasegee River

Though lakes are abundant in Jackson County, the main body of water is the Tuckasegee River, spanning nearly the length of the county. This river is legendary, with its headwaters originating from an ancient source within the Blue Ridge Mountains. The lands along this river also flow with history, beginning with the Native Americans, who built their towns along its banks, gathering waters for personal use and constructing fishing traps to gather the river's bounty. Early white settlers built their settlements here also, using the wide river waterway and old primitive road for transportation and trade. Today Hwy 107 follows alongside the old river course, nearly paralleling the entire length of the Tuckasegee River's journey across Jackson County.

From earliest times, the Tuckasegee River has delivered its bounty of fresh water and fish to quench both thirst and hunger, as well as nourish the adjoining fields and their crops. The length of Tuckasegee River travels some 40-miles across the county from north to south, cutting through the mountains and winding across the valley floors, displaying the uncompromising beauty of a mountain river.

It's the cascading water of the Tuckasegee River that attracts both professional and amateur anglers. A handy fly-fishing trail map is available at the Jackson County Welcome Center in Sylva. This map is an excellent way for licensed anglers to find public access to the river and streams; the fly-fishing trail map includes a total of 15 choice fly-fishing spots with information and directions to locations along the river, creeks, and streams throughout the Jackson County area. The brochure map has a trail pledge for all anglers that states, "As a true sportsman, I pledge to never litter and to avoid trespassing on private lands. I will respect the rights of property owners, and always leave the streams in better condition than I found them." This is a good pledge for all of us to honor.

In addition to the 15 prime fishing spots, the map identifies 5 public access points along the Tuckasegee River. One of these access points is on the West Fork of the Tuckasegee River, across from the Power Plant, in the upper southern regions of the county along Hwy 107. Another access point listed on the map is at the East LaPort Park along the edge of the Tuckasegee River. This park is located in the center of the county and is an easy spot to access for that nearly effortless "pull off the road and drop in a line" way of enjoying the sport. Additional fishing spots are located near the town of Cullowhee; one is near the town of Webster, one just south of Dillsboro near the old dam, and another one just north of Dillsboro, near Hwy 74.

The Tuckasegee River has gentle water runs and numerous cascading white water stretches, ideal for river craft adventures, including several convenient launches located along the riverbanks. The Tuckasegee is considered a mom-approved rafting river.

Lake Glenville

Lake Glenville, in the southern half of Jackson County along Hwy 107, is the largest of Jackson County's lakes, with 26-miles of shoreline. Lake Glenville is located in the upper southern end of the county in the township of Glenville. It is the highest man-made lake east of the Mississippi River, at an elevation of 3,492 feet above sea level. Lake Glenville is renowned for its bass fishing, prompting an annual fishing tournament. In addition, the lake is home to smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, lake trout, crappie, perch breeds, and bream.

Not only is Lake Glenville an ideal fishing destination, it's a great recreation lake for boating, water skiing, jet skiing, and pontoon lake cruising. The shoreline is dotted with vacation and year-round residential homes, as are the rising mountain slopes surrounding the lake. There's a marina and several small businesses conveniently located along Hwy 107.

Jackson County Land of Many Lakes

Located mostly in the central and southern reaches of Jackson County is a hidden paradise for anglers who know how to keep a secret about that magical fishin' hole they found.

Scattered throughout this area are numerous small lakes created by a watercourse that crisscrosses the landscape. These lakes are both public and private with names like Fairfield Lake, Lupton Lake, Sapphire Lake, Cashiers Lake, Hampton Lake, Grassy Lake, Holly Berry Mountain Lake, Baumrucker Lake, Whiteside Lake, Hurricane Lake, Webb Lake, Trout Lake, and Balsam Lake.

The only lake in Jackson County's northern reaches is Balsam Lake.

In the more remote mid-eastern wilderness regions of Jackson County there's a group of lakes strung out along Hwy 281. The Nantahala Power Company constructed four stair-step, rock-filled, earthen-faced dams on the East Fork of the Tuckasegee River. The waters of these lakes are captured within deep narrow valleys, surrounded by heavily forested mountain terrain.

The first in the string of lakes (when approaching from the community of Tuckasegee along Hwy 281) is Cedar Lake; following is the much longer and broader Bear Lake. Wolf Creek Lake is next in line before reaching the modest sized Tanasee Creek Lake. Located between Bear and Wolf Lakes is the Roy Taylor Forest.

Casual boating, canoeing, and kayaking are favorite pastimes along these smooth lake waters, where visitors will find hidden waterfalls, creeks, and streams merging with the lake's waters. Bear Lake, the larger lake, is more fitting to watercraft recreation than the more modest Cedar Cliff, Wolf Creek, or Tanasee Lakes. These smaller lakes are perfect for electric or small motor watercraft.

Most of the lakes scattered across the county are publicly accessible, while several are on private property. Many are easy to reach, while others are located in remote reaches along Forestry Roads. The regional Ranger Office along with the Jackson County Chamber - Welcome Center can help you identify the lakes that are available to the public on a local map.




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