Fish at Santee State Park

By:Marie McAden


Got a hankerin’ for fried catfish? Pack up the ol’ fishing pole and head to Sante​e State Park on Lake Mar​ion, home to some mighty fine catfish.

The lake also is a popular fishing destination for largemouth bass, striped bass, bream and crappie. In fact, the lake holds the record for the largest largemouth bass ever caught in South Carolina. The whopper weighed in at more than 16 pounds!

Perched on a peninsula overlooking Lake Marion, the state park features two boat ramps that offer access to the water. In my next blog, I’ll tell you about kayaking to the very cool cypress forest located in the middle of the lake.

During my recent visit, I also hiked two of the park’s three nature trails. The Sinkhole Pond Nature Trail leads to the namesake pond, created when the limestone underneath the surface eroded away opening a large hole in the ground.

Throughout the 2,500-acre park, you’ll find a number of these limestone sinkholes in various stages of development from small, hidden underground caverns to large open depressions. A spur trail off the main one-mile loop will take you to two smaller holes.

The one-mile Limestone Nature Trail runs through a heavily wooded area of the park near the Lakeshore Campground. If it weren’t for the flat terrain, you’d think you were in the mountains. The trail runs along a scenic pond that offers anglers another opportunity to drop a line.

For a longer hike — or ride — try the fun, but unimaginatively named Biking/Hiking Trail. It’s a 7.5-mile route through a mixed hardwood and pine forest with some nice views of the lake.

The park also is known for one other unique feature — its “rodette” cabins. Don’t bother looking it up. You won’t find it in Webster’s. A rodette apparently is a roundish-shaped structure. It could be an octagon. I didn’t count the sides so I can’t tell you for sure.

Ten of the two-bedroom cabins sit on a pier over Lake Marion, making it easy to roll out of bed and cast your line first thing in the morning. The other 20 are on the lakeshore. The park also offers 158 campsites for RV and tent camping.

To find out more about Santee State Park, click h​ere or call (803) 854-2408.

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