Lake Keowee Fishing, Size, Depth, And More

Lake Keowee
© iStock.com/Patrick Jennings

Written by Jennifer Gaeng

Published: August 26, 2023

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Deep within South Carolina, Lake Keowee stands as a haven for both anglers and nature lovers. With its sprawling waters, abundant fish populations, and captivating beauty, this reservoir has become a sought-after destination for those seeking thrilling adventures and memorable moments.

In this article, we delve into the depths of Lake Keowee, uncovering its vast size and providing you with invaluable insights to enhance your fishing experience. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice eager to cast your first line, join us as we dive into the wonders of Lake Keowee. Let’s unlock the secrets of its bountiful fishing opportunities!

Location, Size, And Depth

Beautiful scenery on lake Keowee during the fall season.

Lake Keowee in South Carolina is a stunning reservoir formed by the impoundment of two rivers.

©Daniel.Nally/Shutterstock.com

Lake Keowee spans approximately 26 miles in length and three miles in width, this picturesque lake offers ample space for water-based activities and exploration.

With an average depth of 54 feet and a maximum depth of 155 feet, Lake Keowee boasts a diverse underwater landscape that attracts both anglers and nature enthusiasts. Its deep, clear waters provide a thriving habitat for various fish species, making it a prime location for fishing adventures.

Its shoreline measures 300 miles, offering countless opportunities for lakeside recreation, including swimming, boating, and picnicking. The lake’s vast size, encompassing 18,372 acres, ensures that there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy their favorite activities.

History And Purpose of Keowee Lake

Lake Keowee, located in Pickens and Oconee counties in South Carolina, is a stunning reservoir formed by the impoundment of the Little and Keowee Rivers. This man-made lake has an intriguing history and serves multiple purposes.

Historical Background: Lake Keowee was created in 1971 as part of the Keowee-Toxaway Project, which aimed to generate hydroelectric power and assist with cooling the reactors at the nearby Oconee Nuclear Station. However, the area holds a rich historical significance as well. The lake’s location was once the site of Keowee Town, a bustling center of trade for the Cherokee Nation in the 18th century.

Power Generation: One of the primary purposes of Lake Keowee is to supply power utility Duke Energy with hydroelectric energy. The construction of dams across the Keowee River and Little River formed the reservoir, allowing for the generation of electricity. This power generation plays a vital role in meeting the energy needs of the region.

Recreational Opportunities: Alongside its power-generating function, Lake Keowee has become a popular destination for recreational activities. The lake spans an impressive 18,372 acres, providing ample space for boating, swimming, fishing, and other water-based activities. With 387 miles of shoreline, visitors can explore the beauty of the lake and its surroundings.

Environmental Impact: The creation of Lake Keowee had an impact on the local environment. The reservoir’s construction involved the flooding of valleys and the displacement of communities. However, efforts have been made to mitigate these effects and preserve the natural beauty of the area.

Today, Lake Keowee stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of human development and natural splendor. Whether you’re interested in its historical significance, power generation capabilities, or recreational opportunities, Lake Keowee offers a fascinating blend of past, present, and future.

Fishing At Keowee Lake

Beautiful scenery on lake Keowee during the fall season.

Lake Keowee is a hot spot for boats and fishing.

©Daniel.Nally/Shutterstock.com

With its scenic beauty and abundant fish species, Lake Keowee promises an unforgettable fishing experience for all who cast their lines. Let’s explore the types of fish and tips for fishing success in Keowee Lake!

Types of Fish in Keowee Lake

Lake Keowee offers excellent fishing opportunities for anglers of all skill levels. The lake is known for its diverse fish populations, including:

Tips for Successful Fishing at Keowee Lake

Fishing Techniques and Baits: Anglers at Lake Keowee employ various techniques to target different species. Some popular fishing techniques include topwater fishing, jigging, drop-shotting, and using live bait or artificial lures. The choice of bait depends on the target species, but common choices include jigs, soft plastic worms, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and live minnows.

Seasonal Patterns: Fishing patterns at Lake Keowee can vary throughout the year. In the spring, many anglers find success targeting bass as they move into shallower waters for spawning. Summer fishing often involves targeting deeper structures and drop-offs where the fish seek cooler water. Fall can be an exciting time for fishing as the fish become more active before the winter season.

Regulations: It’s important to familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations for Lake Keowee. These regulations may include catch limits, size restrictions, and specific rules for certain species. For example, trout fishing on the Eastatoe Creek section of the lake is catch-and-release only from November 1st through May 14th.

If you’re new to fishing at Lake Keowee or want to enhance your experience, consider hiring a local fishing guide. They can provide valuable insights, help you navigate the lake, and increase your chances of a successful fishing outing.

Remember to obtain the necessary fishing licenses and adhere to all fishing regulations to ensure the sustainability of the lake’s fish populations.

The Best Launch Spots And Marinas At Keowee Lake

Here are some of the best launch spots and marinas at Lake Keowee:

Lake Keowee Marina: Located in Seneca, South Carolina, Lake Keowee Marina is a full-service marina that offers boat rentals, fuel, and a boat ramp for launching.

Sunset Marina: Sunset Marina is another marina on Lake Keowee that offers boat rentals and a dual-capacity boat ramp. It is known for its convenient location and safe facilities.

Mile Creek Park: Mile Creek Park is a recreational area on Lake Keowee that features three paved boat ramps and two courtesy docks. It provides excellent access to the lake.

Big Water Marina & Campground: While located in Gumlog, Georgia, Big Water Marina & Campground is near Lake Keowee and offers boat launch services.

It’s always a good idea to check with local authorities or do further research to find the best launch spots and marinas that suit your specific needs.

Recreational Activities At Keowee Lake

Apart from fishing, Lake Keowee offers a variety of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy:

Boating: Lake Keowee is known for its boating opportunities, and many visitors enjoy cruising, water skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing on the lake’s clear waters. There are marinas where you can rent boats if you don’t have your own.

Swimming: The lake’s clean and clear waters make it a great spot for swimming. There are designated swimming areas at some parks and recreational areas around the lake. However, it is important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks. It has been reported as one of the deadliest bodies of water in Oconee County, South Carolina. There have been instances of drownings and accidents in the lake.

Hiking and Nature Trails: Keowee Lake offers scenic hiking and nature trails where visitors can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The Keowee-Toxaway State Park and the Lake Keowee Interpretive Center are popular spots for hiking enthusiasts.

Water Sports: In addition to boating, Keowee Lake is also popular for other water sports such as kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. The calm waters and scenic views make it an ideal location for these activities.

Picnicking and Camping: Many parks and recreational areas around the lake offer picnic areas and campgrounds where visitors can relax, have a meal, and enjoy the great outdoors. Some campsites even offer lakefront views.

Wildlife Viewing: Keowee Lake is home to a variety of wildlife, including birds, deer, and other animals. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy birdwatching and wildlife viewing along the lake’s shores and in the surrounding forests.

Camping: Camping at Lake Keowee is a popular activity for outdoor enthusiasts. There are several campgrounds and camping options available near the lake, which we will explore further below.

Camping Spots Near Keowee Lake

Camping at Lake Keowee provides a great opportunity to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings and recreational activities available in the area. Here are some options for camping at Lake Keowee:

Keowee-Toxaway State Park: Keowee-Toxaway State Park offers camping options near the banks of Lake Keowee. There are 24 campsites available, suitable for both tents and RVs. The campground provides amenities such as water and electricity hookups, restrooms, and showers. Reservations can be made online.

Mile Creek Park: Located in Pickens, SC, Mile Creek Park offers waterfront camping on Lake Keowee. The campground provides both RV and tent camping sites with amenities like water and electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. Reservations can be made online.

South Cove County Park: South Cove County Park is situated on a peninsula on the shores of Lake Keowee. It offers 86 campsites with water and electric hookups. The park features amenities such as restrooms, showers, a playground, and a boat ramp. Reservations can be made online.

Other Campgrounds: There are additional campgrounds near Lake Keowee, such as Crooked Creek RV Park and High Falls County Park. These campgrounds offer various amenities and camping options, including RV sites, tent sites, and cabin rentals.

When planning your camping trip at Lake Keowee, it is advisable to make reservations in advance, especially during peak seasons. Also, be sure to check the specific campground’s rules and regulations regarding camping requirements, including check-in and check-out times, quiet hours, and pet policies.

Safety Tips While Enjoying Keowee Lake: 

When enjoying Lake Keowee, it’s important to prioritize safety. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

Learn to swim: Taking swimming lessons is essential for everyone, regardless of age or experience. Knowing how to swim can greatly reduce the risk of accidents and drowning.

Avoid swimming alone or at night: It’s always safer to swim with a buddy or in designated swimming areas during daylight hours. Avoid swimming in unfamiliar or remote areas where help might not be readily available.

Be aware of the lake bottom: The lake bottom is not always visible, and the depth can vary. Pay attention to signs or markers indicating shallow or dangerous areas to prevent injuries.

Wear a life jacket: Always wear a properly fitted and Coast Guard-approved life jacket while boating, fishing, or participating in water sports. Life jackets can save lives, especially in emergency situations.

Follow boating regulations: If you’re boating on Lake Keowee, familiarize yourself with the boating regulations and guidelines. This includes having the necessary safety equipment on board, obeying speed limits, and practicing responsible boating.

Stay hydrated and protected: Drink plenty of water and apply sunscreen regularly to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Heatstroke and sunburn can be serious risks when spending time outdoors.

Be cautious of underwater hazards: Lake Keowee may have submerged structures, vegetation, or other potential hazards. Stay vigilant and avoid areas where these hazards are present to prevent accidents or injuries.

Swimming Safety:

Since swimming in Keowee Lake is known to be dangerous, here are some additional tips to stay safe while swimming in Lake Keowee:

Swim with caution: Be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution while swimming. Pay attention to changing water conditions, currents, and any posted warnings.

Avoid swimming alone: It is generally recommended to swim with a buddy or in the presence of others for safety.

Know your swimming abilities: Assess your swimming skills and only swim in areas that are appropriate for your abilities. If you are not a strong swimmer, it is advisable to stay in shallow water or wear a life jacket.

Be mindful of jumping off rocks: Jumping off rocks into the lake is a popular activity, but it can be dangerous. Ensure that the water is deep enough and free of any obstacles before attempting any jumps.

Follow safety guidelines: Observe any posted safety guidelines, rules, and regulations at the lake and adhere to them.

Supervise children: Keep a close watch on children while they are swimming and ensure that they stay within designated areas.

It’s important to note that lifeguards may not be present at Lake Keowee, so it’s crucial to take personal responsibility for your safety while swimming.

How to Preserve Keowee Lake’s Ecology When Visiting

Preserving Lake Keowee’s ecology when visiting is important to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of the lake and its surrounding ecosystem. Here are some tips on how to preserve Lake Keowee’s ecology when visiting:

Practice Leave No Trace: Follow the principles of Leave No Trace, which include packing out your trash, staying on designated trails, and leaving natural objects and wildlife undisturbed.

Dispose of waste properly: Use designated trash receptacles or pack out your garbage to prevent littering. If camping, follow campground rules for waste disposal and recycling.

Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance and avoid feeding or approaching them. Keep pets on leashes and away from sensitive habitats to prevent disturbance.

Protect water quality: Avoid using soaps, detergents, or other pollutants in or near the lake. Dispose of wastewater in designated areas and ensure that boating activities do not contribute to water pollution.

Follow fishing regulations: If fishing, adhere to local fishing regulations, including catch limits and size restrictions. Practice catch-and-release to help preserve fish populations.

Stay on designated trails: Stick to designated trails and paths to avoid trampling on sensitive vegetation and causing erosion.

Be mindful of invasive species: Clean your boats, equipment, and gear to prevent the spread of invasive species. Remove any plants or animals from your boat or gear before entering or leaving the lake.

Educate yourself: Learn about the local ecology of Lake Keowee and the surrounding area. Understanding the ecosystem can help you make informed decisions to minimize your impact.

Support conservation efforts: Consider supporting local organizations and initiatives that work towards preserving Lake Keowee’s ecology. Volunteer or participate in community clean-up events to contribute to conservation efforts.

By following these tips, you can help preserve Lake Keowee’s ecology and ensure that future generations can enjoy its beauty and biodiversity.

In Conclusion

Lake Keowee is a remarkable fishing destination that offers a fantastic experience for anglers of all skill levels. With its abundant fish species, expansive size, and impressive depth, the lake provides ample space and diverse angling opportunities.

Lake Keowee offers an idyllic setting to immerse yourself in the wonders of the outdoors, whether you’re seeking the thrill of catching fish, the tranquility of boating, or simply the beauty of nature. So, pack your fishing gear, gather your loved ones, and embark on a memorable journey to Lake Keowee, where adventure and serenity await.


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About the Author

Jennifer Gaeng is a writer at A-Z-Animals focused on animals, lakes, and fishing. With over 15 years of collective experience in writing and researching, Jennifer has honed her skills in various niches, including nature, animals, family care, and self-care. Hailing from Missouri, Jennifer finds inspiration in spending quality time with her loved ones. Her creative spirit extends beyond her writing endeavors, as she finds joy in the art of drawing and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.

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