Lake Wylie in the Autumn
|Location||York County, South Carolina / Gaston / Mecklenburg counties, North Carolina, US|
|Primary inflows||Catawba River|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Surface area||21 sq mi (54 km2)|
|Max. depth||73 m (240 ft)|
|Shore length1||325 mi (523 km)|
|Settlements||Charlotte, North Carolina
Lake Wylie, South Carolina
Steele Creek, North Carolina
Tega Cay, South Carolina
India Hook, South Carolina
|1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.|
Lake Wylie is a reservoir, or man-made lake in the U.S. states of both South Carolina and North Carolina. The lake has a surface area of 13,400 acres (54 km2) (21sq mi) and features 325 miles (523 km) of shore line.
The man-made lake was first formed when the Catawba Power Company built the Catawba Dam and Power Plant near India Hook, South Carolina in 1904. This dam impounded the Catawba River and created Lake Catawba, which was utilized to create hydro-electric power. In 1905 the Catawba Power Company became part of the Southern Power Company.
In 1924 the Southern Power Company raised the level of the dam and built the new Catawba Hydroelectric Station to replace the original. This new facility opened in August 1925, increasing the surface area of Lake Catawba from 668 acres (2.7 km2) to 13,400 acres (54 km2). The Southern Power Company was merged with Duke Power Company in 1927.
In October 1960 the power station was renamed the Wylie Hydroelectric Station and the lake was renamed Lake Wylie, both in honor of Dr. Jake Stephen Wylie, one of the founders of the original Catawba Power Company that had created the lake and become Duke Power.
Lake Wylie's location on both the South Carolina and North Carolina borders makes it a common recreational destination for residents of nearby cities including Charlotte, Fort Mill, and Rock Hill. Duke Power manages six public boat access areas on the lake. There are also two towns that are located on Lake Wylie including, Tega Cay and Lake Wylie
Lake Wylie is one of eleven lakes on the Catawba River and is the second oldest lake in the Catawba River Chain, with water being moved around each lake on the chain system through Duke Power. The lake has a surface area of approximately 13,443 acres (54 km2) with 325 miles (523 km) of shoreline, and stretches from the Mountain Island Dam, south of Mountain Island Lake in North Carolina to the Wylie Dam on the south end of the lake. The average depth of the lake is just over twenty feet.
The Catawba Nuclear Generating Station is located on the south-western part of the lake, and draws its cooling water from the lake. Allen Steam Station located on the northern part of the lake (west of Charlotte) also draws its cooling water from the lake.
Foreign Animal Sightings
Although they are not native to the area, alligators are sighted in Lake Wylie every few years. In 1999 Catawba Nuclear Station employees spotted a 5–7 foot alligator in a nearby lagoon and South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officers captured an eight-foot alligator in August 2002. More recently, three small three-foot gators were spotted around the Elks Park Campground in 2009 and many have been spotted since . Wildlife experts generally agree that the likeliest cause of alligators in Lake Wylie is illegal dumping.
In August 2009, a Snakehead (fish) was caught in the Paw Creek arm of Lake Wylie. South Carolina DNR officials say they are not worried about the catch, and have their plan to exterminate the fish if it becomes a problem. Many more have been reported since the 2009 sighting.
- "Wylie Hydroelectric Station Celebrates 75 Years Of Service: A Little History Gets A Chance To Shine" (Press release). Duke Power. 2000-08-09. Retrieved 2007-08-13.
- "Lake Wylie". The Official Tourism Site of South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
- "History of York County". Excerpted from "Historical Properties of York County, South Carolina". York County Historical Commission. Retrieved 2007-08-16.
- "Three Alligators in Lake Wylie". The Steele Creek Blog. May 14, 2009. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
- Marks, John (May 14, 2009). "3 alligators spotted in Lake Wylie". Lake Wylie Pilot. Retrieved 2010-06-18.