Lake Hickory was named after the nearby city of Hickory which borders the lake to the south side. The lake covers almost 4,223 acres with 105 miles of shoreline. Full pond elevation is 935 feet. There are five public access areas on the lake in cooperation with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.
Lake Hickory was created in 1927 with the completion of the Oxford Dam which borders NC highway 16. The Oxford Dam bordering the eastern side of the lake is 122 feet high, with an overall length of 1,200 feet. The dam generates hydroelectricity to the nearby county’s of Catawba, Alexander, and Iredell helping keep electricity costs fairly low.
Lake Hickory is bordered on the west side by NC hwy 321 and on the east side by NC Hwy 16. Hwy 16 is small 2 lane highway but is very convenient as it runs directly north from Charlotte all the way to Virginia. Thus making Lake Hickory 1 turn away (and about 60 miles) from the city of Charlotte and the mountains of northwest North Carolina. If you don’t like small highways and prefer fast paced interstates Lake Hickory is only 8 miles away from I-40 which runs directly through Hickory and can put you in the heart of the North Carolina mountains and the city of Asheville or East to Winston Salem in about 1 hour.
Fishing in Lake Hickory
Locals will tell you one lake’s fishing is better than others and to an extent that is true but it really depends on what type of species you are after. Lake Hickory according to many area residents has the best “Striper” fishing on the Catawba river.
One of the reasons for this is that the lake has 4 different dams on it. Two at each extremity and two others holding back tributaries. These dams create the faster moving waters and increased food sources which attract their presence. Although Striper fishing may be the best you can find a wide array of fish with just a typical cast including small and large mouth bass, catfish, crappie (panfish), carp, brim, and many other lessor known species.
The Social Scene
For those looking for a party scene Lake Hickory features the “Sandbar Cove” where anyday during the summer you will see between 10-100 boats tied together or anchored just off the sandbar. It is the social scene of the lake and since it is such a big cove its also the place to show off your skiing or wakeboarding skills in front of the large audience.
As the day progresses and the party moves on you may want to check out the “Tiki Bar” or Georges on the Lake the lone establishments on the lake that serve alchohol in a bar setting. Both establishments are located on the far west side of the lake near the Hwy 321 bridge and at times offer live entertainment. Click the link for more info on George’s.