Here’s a collection of resources we have compiled to help you find an area to fish. We’re proud to offer this service and hope it helps you find more fish willing to eat your fly!
Catawba River Tailrace below Lake James
Duke Power manages the Bridgewater Hydro Station on Lake James and releases water for power generation into the Catawba River below the dam.
Bridgewater Hydro Station
- Capacity: 20 megawatts
- Location: McDowell and Burke counties, North Carolina
- Commercial Date: 1919
Bridgewater Hydro Station has two generating units. Located on Lake James in Morganton, N.C., it began commercial operation on May 4, 1919. Lake James, named after J. B. “Buck” Duke, spans McDowell and Burke counties, N.C., and is formed by damming three streams: the Catawba River, Paddy Creek, and the Linville River.
Bridgewater Hydro Station was named for the Southern Railway depot to which the materials to build the dam and hydro station were shipped.
A word of wisdom from Duke Energy
Caution: Do not enter the tailrace section directly below hydroelectric stations. These areas are prone to a sudden rise and violent turbulence in the water.
Note: Scheduled flow releases are subject to variability based on natural conditions and/or unexpected changes in hydro project operation. Duke Energy may, at any time, and without prior warning, change operations of our hydro facilities in response to high electricity demand, flooding, electric system emergencies or other conditions. Always exercise caution when boating or fishing on lakes and rivers. Please remember to stay 300 feet away from the upstream and downstream sides of the dam and powerhouse.
WCO Notes about access..
Access is very limited for the wade fisherman, the first 1/4 mile or so below the dam is managed as Hatchery Supported Trout Waters (dam to Muddy Creek), from Muddy Creek to the Morganton Water Intake is managed as Special Regulation Trout Waters. For float fisherman a nice state maintained ramp is located just downstream from the dam and a take out ramp is located 8 miles downstream which is maintained by the city of Glen Alpine. WCO offers shuttle services for angles floating the river. Just give us a call to set up the details.
Duke Energy Information Line 800-829-5253 then select options 1, 1, 2, then 1 for Bridgewater
Update – 11/27/11
The Catawba Tailrace has been stocked with brown trout. From the dam to Watermill bridge access provides good numbers of feisty brown trout willing to eat your fly. Of course access is still an issue. Our oar frame rafts are the perfect platform to access the remote stretches of this river. We are now booking full day float trips, which include a streamside lunch, beverages and snacks.