Thurmond Lake History

J. Strom Thurmond Reservoir (also known as Lake Thurmond or Clarks Hill Reservoir) was originally built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 1946-1954 for flood prevention, hydroelectric power and downstream navigation. Their mission now includes water supply, water quality, recreation, and fisheries & wildlife management.  This lake dwarfs most other lakes in South Carolina with the exception of the Santee Cooper Lakes. Lake Thurmond is the third lake in a chain of lakes built by the U.S. Corps of Engineers (USACE) on the Savannah River near North Augusta, SC and Augusta Georgia. All three of these lakes, Thurmond (71,000 acres), Hartwell (56,000 acres), and Russell (26,450 acres) all sit on the western South Carolina border between Georgia & comprise the Upper Savannah River Basin

Just like the other Savannah River lakes, Lake Thurmond has more than enough public access areas to accommodate all those who want to visit. Consequently, there are three state parks located on the South Carolina side and several on the Georgia side.  USACE & GA & SC DNR websites list numerous recreational sites & local boating & fishing regulations.

Most of the shoreline is undeveloped with a view of wilderness in any direction you look.  Sometimes you can see deer, hawks, beavers, and once in a while a bald eagle.  The surrounding pine forest and red clay banks are only broken by the occasional boat ramp area or campsites.  

  • Major Highway Access  221 * 28 * 81
  • Size 71,000 Acres, approximately 40 miles between Thurmond and Russell dams
  • Full Pool Elevation 330′ msl, Flood Pool 346′ msl.
  • Shoreline  1,200 Miles
  • Dam Height  200
  • Dam Length  5,680 Feet
  • Turbine Generators  7
  • Dam Completion  1954
  • Project Management  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Maximum Depth  141.9 (SCDHEC)
  • Mean Depth  37 Feet (SCDHEC)