Watauga Lake was formed when the Watauga Dam was constructed starting in 1942 and completed in 1948 and is surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest. Both the Watauga River and the Elk River feed the lake. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) uses the reservoir to generate hydroelectric power. At 1,959 feet above sea level, Lake Watauga is the highest reservoir in the series of 7 dams under the TVA system. The city of Butler, which now sits underwater, was relocated to what is now known as Butler. If you want to know more about the history of Butler, be sure to check out the Butler Museum. Watauga Lake is just over 16 miles long and has almost 105 miles of shoreline. At summer pool levels, the lake covers 6,430 acres and is about 265 feet deep at the dam, with an average depth of 52.5 feet.