During World War II, ALCOA (Aluminum Company of America) needed more electricity to make aluminum for the war effort. In June 1940, Nantahala Power and Light, then owned by ALCOA, began constructing a dam to generate hydroelectric power on the west fork of the Tuckasegee River at Onion Falls. They completed it in late 1941, filling a new lake called Thorpe Reservoir or (present-day) Lake Glenville behind the dam. It encompassed the entire valley north of Cashiers. The town of Glenville was evacuated and flooded, covering schools, homes, businesses, and farmlands with water to a depth of 300 feet. Water from the dam goes through a pipe 12 miles north to Thorpe power house producing the highest head pressure in the northern hemisphere.
Lake Glenville is six miles long, has 26 miles of shoreline, and is about 1,470 acres. It's over 100’ deep, and has three major waterfalls flowing into it that can only be seen from the lake. At 3,494’ in elevation, it’s the highest major lake east of the Mississippi. It is also the only lake in North Carolina that qualifies for the highest clean water designation.
Lake Glenville has two public access areas and one public recreation area. The access ares have a boat ramp, launching dock, and bathrooms for your convenience. The recreation area has picnic tables, a fishing pier, a swimming area with beach access and bathrooms. All three areas are located on the north end of the lake. For more information you can find our Lake Glenville map available for download below.
We carry everything you'll need to try your hand at catching one of the several species of fish in the lake. We have live bait, tackle, fishing rods, and more. We are an Agent with the NC Wildlife commision so you can get your fishing licenses with us as well. Species in the lake include large and smallmouth bass, rainbow and brown trout, yellow perch, walleye, crappie, bluegill, brem and catfish. Below you will find our Fishing Report that you can download so you can get information on what could be biting when you visit!
We respectfully ask that you always follow the rules of Leave No Trace when visiting our beautiful lake. To ensure it's clean waters for future visitors we encourage everyone to pack out what you bring with you. Never leave trash on islands, shores, or throw it into the water. Thank you!