High lake level hampers boating

Aug. 19, 2013 @ 02:35 PM

This year, the water tale at High Rock Lake is one of plenty, or perhaps too much.After the severe drought year of 2002, when the waterline retreated hundreds of yards, it’s hard for people to say that too much water could be a problem. Heavy rains have kept the 15,000-acre reservoir nearly full, and rain has been more of a business issue than the high lake level. “Rain keeps some people from coming out here,” said Joe Fink of the Tamarac Marina off Bringle Ferry Road on the Rowan County side of the lake. “Business has been good and fishing has been good, but it could be better if it had not rained so much this summer.”

The lake is typically 3 to 4 feet below full pond level during the summer months. That’s low enough for almost all boats to pass under the bridges near the marinas. Recently, the level has been about a foot below full pond. Water runs through the dam spillways.
“Now people can’t launch a boat from here if they want to go across the lake because you can’t get under the bridges,” Fink said. “They have to pull their boats here and stay on this side of the lake. You can’t get under the bridges to go to the Top of the Rock (nightclub). We are lucky because we have the biggest part of the lake you can get to.”
At the High Rock Lake Campground and Marina at Wafford Circle on the Lexington side of the lake, it’s good news when Donna Maupin answers the telephone for a campsite booking. Last week, the telephone rang even during rain showers.
For residents and visitors, the lake area also offers swimming and hiking. There are several public access ramps and private ramps that can be used for a small fee. During summers, the shoreline hosts a community of campers and visitors.
As the water rose this summer, it moved debris up the shorelines, and it is encroaching on favored fishing spots.
“We have seen some ugly stuff come this way,” Fink said, “but not too much.”
Homeowners along the lake have complained that debris is becoming a hazard to boaters, especially in the Buddle Creek area.
During the drought years, lake businesses struggled to stay open because the waterline was so far away, Fink said. It was a chore to launch boats.


High Rock Lake

Level:  Just 1 foot below full pond at 654 feet. The average for August is between 650 and 652 feet.
Major bridges: Two bridges at the northern end of the lake: the I-85/US 52 bridge and the older US 29/US 70/NC 150 bridge. The N.C. 8 causeway crosses the Abbotts Creek tributary of the lake, as does a bridge at Holloway Church Road farther north of Abbotts Creek.