As winter comes to a close, and springtime reels in mild temperatures, it’s a welcome invitation to go fishing at South Carolina State Parks.
Our parks’ lakes and rivers are stocked with an assortment of fish in a variety of sizes. The atmosphere is a perfect way to get out and enjoy nature while taking pleasure in fishing.
For E.J. Jones, an avid fisherman and manager of Dreher Island State Park on Lake Murray, fishing is a good way for him to clear his mind after work. “I’m in my element on the water and I never get tired of it,” said Jones. “It’s cheap therapy,” he added.
Covering more than 50,000 acres, Lake Murray is best-known for its largemouth and striped bass. Crappie bites well in winter, and bream, yellow perch and catfish can also be found in Lake Murray.
Lake Marion, home to Santee State Park, is South Carolina's largest lake and is known for its large catfish, which are always biting. Park Manager Nathan Maiwald says “There’s thousands of acres of trees to fish around and thousands of acres of open water to fish in.”
With swampy marsh areas and 110,000 acres of large open water, the lake is accessible from several areas of the park. One of the main attractions for anglers is the cypress forest. Santee State Park has ten fully furnished pier cabins, allowing visitors to step right out the door to fish.
At Edisto Beach State Park, Ranger Michael Ray said, “You never know what you’re gonna get when fishing here.” An array of fish including trout, flounder, blues, and even sharks can be caught here. Spotted sea trout, flounder and blues can be caught while surf fishing in late spring through early summer. Off the beach, whiting and smaller sharks are biting.
Anglers are catching plenty of trout at Table Rock State Park, home to Lake Pinnacle and Lake Oolenoy, which has bass, bream, pan fish and trout. Only park boats are allowed in this 67-acre lake, which has been restocked with trout twice this year.
Visitors can fish from the bank or a boat in Pinnacle Lake which also has bass along with pan and catfish. According to Eddie Richburg, Table Rock State Park’s assistant manager, “the hotter the weather, the better catfish seem to be.”
The 36-acre lake offers a very relaxed atmosphere, and Richburg, a fisherman at heart, loves the peace and relaxation of fishing. “I have gone into the swamps and fished with no bait,” he said. For him fishing is an activity that “even if you’re not catching fish, you’re satisfied.”
Take your spring break to a South Carolina State Park. It’s a great catch for any fisherman, even if you come back with an empty bucket. Remember, a South Carolina fishing license is required.
For fishing license information and to renew or purchase your SC Fishing License online, visit the SC Department of Natural Resources website.