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Lake Nottely is one of the best kept secrets in Georgia. The small mountain lake with deep clear water is just two hours from Atlanta, yet most water enthusiasts have not discovered it. About 70 percent of the shoreline is United States Forest Service lands, making boating the 4,180 acre lake a scenic treat.
Nottely Reservoir, as it is also known, was created by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Construction of the Nottely Dam started in 1941. The 184 foot high dam was completed a year later. It stretches 2,300 feet across the Nottely River. The reservoir itself meanders 20 miles through Union County, Georgia, to the town of Blairsville.
Lake Nottely rests in between the mountains of the Chattahoochee National Forest on the southeastern edge of the Tennessee River watershed. Full pond is 1,779 above mean sea level. The water level of the reservoir varies on average 17 feet over the course of a year, with ranges from 14 to 32 feet. Nottely Reservoir was created for flood control and power generation, though it only creates 15,000 kilowatts of power which is not enough to meet local needs.
Lake Nottely is located entirely in Union County, one of the fastest growing areas in the state of Georgia. According to the 2000 census the population grew more than 44%. The area has a higher than average number of second homes and retirees. Its location roughly two hours from Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Asheville and Greenville as well as the availability of quality healthcare are selling points to retirees.
Nottely Reservoir has a beach and camping areas. The lake is a great place to observe the native wildlife of Georgia, and has become a popular hunting spot. Cabin rentals are available for vacationers. Personal watercrafts and boats can be rented at area marinas as well, allowing visitors to take in the beautiful mountain views from the porches of their vacation rentals or from the water.
Lake Nottely is also known for its diverse population of fish. The most common types are largemouth bass, spotted bass and crappie. There are also black and striped bass, walleye and rainbow trout. The state stocks the water to give anglers more opportunities. The average striper weighs in between six to 15 pounds. The number of fish over 20 pounds is low, but some anglers have reeled in trophy-size catches of more than 40 pounds in weight. For the novice angler, area guides are on stand by to show you some of the lake's fishing hot spots.
Union County has four distinct seasons. Winters are mild averaging three inches of snowfall annually. The County's lush vegetation is nourished by the area's 65 inches of rain a year. The topography is distinctive offering elevations of 1,600 feet to nearly 4,800 feet above sea level. Regardless of the season, the mountain range is a backdrop for beautiful views. The mountains burn with brilliant reds, yellows and oranges when the foliage changes in autumn. Lake Nottely attracts visitors from several states.
Near Lake Nottely is Vogel State Park, one of Georgia's oldest parks. It is 10 miles south of Blairsville. Its centerpiece is Lake Trahlyta, named after a Cherokee Princess. The 20-acre lake is used for swimming, paddle boating and fishing. Vogel State Park also has cabins, camping and hiking.
The Appalachian Trial crosses Union County just four miles south of Vogel State Park. The Walasi-Yi Center at Neel's Gap is a popular stop with hikers traversing the 2175 mile trail.
You may also want to take in the view from Brasstown Bald. It is 20 miles southeast of Blairsville. At 4,784 feet above sea level it is Georgia's highest mountain. From there you can take in panoramic views of four states. Bring your walking shoes. It is a mile and a half hike from the parking lot to the peak.
Georgia Department of Natural Resources 770-535-5498
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