Packing your tackle box along with your luggage on your next South Carolina vacation? No matter where you’re visiting in the state, spectacular fishing awaits. With scenic locales along the ocean shore, in freshwater lakes and backcountry rivers, you’re sure to have a fun time no matter where you drop your line.
Here are 11 Great Fishing Spots in South Carolina:
1. Lake Murray. Known as one of the most productive lakes in the Southeast for largemouth bass and striped bass, the Midlands reservoir also holds the state record for white bass, white perch, white crappie and white catfish. Look for buoys marking the location of fish attractors. For stripers, head to the back of the big creeks and try freelining with live bait.
2. The Old Pitt Street Bridge in Mount Pleasant. Along with its stunning views of the Intracoastal Waterway and Charleston Harbor, it’s a shallow-water favorite for flounder, whiting, bluefish, redfish, sea trout—and crabs and shrimp if you have a cast net. The best time to fish is at high tide or when the tide is just starting to creep up into the flats and grass. If you go at low tide, try the creek on the left side of the road adjacent to the kayak launch.
3. Beaufort Marshes. With abundant habitats for young sea life, the list of hunter species coming after them includes everything from the famous cobia to sheephead, along with bottom fish like drum, snapper, flounder and porgy. While most natural baits will work, shrimp, cut mullet and squid are among the top options. If you’re after spot tail bass, the best time to fish is with an incoming or outgoing tide.
4. Cherry Grove Pier in North Myrtle Beach. The marine life that attaches itself to the pilings of this 985-foot pier attract a wide variety of fish, including bluefish, red drum, pompano and sea trout. Use live bait, like shrimp or sand fleas, and cast and let your bait drift with the tide. If you’re bottom fishing, be sure to use enough weight for the current and tide conditions.
5. Lake Greenwood. Located on the Saluda and Reedy Rivers in South Carolina’s western Piedmont region, this 11,400-acre reservoir has an excellent bass and crappie fishery, along with a nice population of striped bass. A prime place to catch them is below Buzzard Roost Dam. Boat ramps are located on both sides of the river. If you don’t have a boat, try fishing from the pier or the banks of Lake Greenwood State Park.
6. Lake Wateree. It’s not unusual to pull in a two-pound black crappie any time of year from this 13,025-acre reservoir—the southernmost lake on the Catawba River chain. In the spring, you can find them gathered around docks, logs and stumps in shallow water. When it heats up, they move into areas of the lake between 12 and 22 feet deep.
7. Pee Dee River. This South Carolina wild and scenic waterway is catfish nirvana. With the river water moving at a good pace, you’ll need to find a spot behind a structure—most likely along a bank—that will break the current. That’s where catfish gather to ambush food. Fresh bait from the river, like bream and mullet, will have your reeling in the fish.
8. Lake Jocassee. Fed by Appalachian Mountain streams, this beautiful Upstate reservoir is the only lake in South Carolina offering both trophy trout and smallmouth bass. The deep, clear water is also excellent habitat for brown trout, rainbow trout, white bass and bluegill. Late winter and spring are good times of year to fish here, especially for smallmouths and redeyes. The state-record spotted bass was caught using a float-and-fly rig.
9. Spiers Landing on Lake Marion. The sandy depressions in the shallow, eelgrass-covered flat in front of the pier is a favorite habitat for shellcrackers, crappie and bass. Local anglers have success catching crappie by setting up along the edge of a depression and casting into it with minnows under floats. If you’re going for shellcrackers, try fishing on the bottom with worms.
10. Boyd Pond in Aiken. A hidden jewel, the picturesque Boyd Pond Park features a 30-acre pond, fishing pier, 300-foot boardwalk and ramp for non-motorized boats or those using trolling motors. You’re not going to fill your cooler with fish, but it’s a great spot for those who enjoy fishing in solitude and serenity.
11. Whitewater River. It might be best known for its dramatic waterfalls, but in fly fishing circles it’s the wild rainbow and brown trout that’s the big draw. A short spur trail that begins at Duke Energy’s Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station will take you to a small footbridge where you can access the water for fishing upstream or downstream. The modest grade in this section of the mountain river makes it fairly east to wade at most water levels.