With ample coastline and numerous inland paradises South Carolina is a fisherman’s haven. Many consider South Carolina’s saltwater fishing to be incomparable! With plenty of state parks providing wilderness, lots of lakes, and plenty of streams, inland fishing is also great in South Carolina.
Fly fishing can be a relaxing experience and South Carolina has miles of streams and rivers suited to it. Fishing for trout on the Chattooga is some of the best trout fly fishing in the country. Lake Jocassee is also good for fly fishing, along with its tributary Whitewater River, which has beautiful waterfalls to make it a more scenic fly fishing destination.
Trout are not widespread, but that does not make them any smaller catches! The Chattooga River offers not just variety, but quality trout fishing for big ones. Lake Tugalo is one of the more remote lakes regularly stocked with trout, as well as walleye. Whitewater River is perfect for trout, too, and most are wild, or were stocked as fingerlings.
Many amazing bass waters can be found in South Carolina. Lake Jocassee has trophy sized smallmouth, along with its trout. If you want striped bass try Lake Russell, where a sixty-three pound state record striper was caught. The Santee Cooper Reservoirs have some of the best bass and catfish fishing in the southeast. Spottail bass are South Carolina’s most prized inland saltwater fish. Spottail bass can also be found by surf fishing, normally in the autumn season. Often you can find spotted seatrout where spotted bass are found.
Catfish are vigorous fish in South Carolina, where channel, flathead, white and blue catfish dart through the waterways. Although they are found throughout the state the Savannah River and where its waters drain are noteworthy waters for catfish. The state record catfish, a hundred and nine pound blue, was caught in Tailrace Canal. Try Wateree River for trophy sized catfish, too.
South Carolina has more saltwater marshes than any other state on the east coast. Some have bass and trout species within their waters, depending on the salinity of the water. The aptly named Salt Marsh is a perfect spottail bass ground in the fall. Salt marshes can be great fishing at certain times of day, as some fish, like the southern flounder, enter marshes to feed.
Saltwater fishing is popular, especially, pier, surf, and deep water fishing. Grand Pier is a nice spot to sit down with a rod and enjoy the tourists around you. You can also do the same at Myrtle Beach, which has piers for fishermen to catch drum, flounder and others. Head a little deeper out from Myrtle Beach to fish the sea for flounder, mackerel, tarpon, trout, tuna and wahoo.
South Carolina’s coastline offers over forty artificial reefs. These provide habitats to form new hotspots for species such as bluefish, amberjack, mackerel, flounder, cobia, and in the winter months black sea bass and drum. Some artificial reef areas include off the coast of Charleston, around Seabrook Island, Hunting Island State Park, just to name a few.
Anyone sixteen years or older must buy a license either online, by phone, or by mailing an application to a state license office. Fourteen day, annual, and three year licenses are offered for both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Both residents and non-residents are eligible for the same lengths of licensure (but costs are three to ten times more expensive for non-residents). Social security numbers are required to purchase fishing licenses. South Carolina also has free fishing days, in case you wish to test the waters before investing in a license but it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed!
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.