Fly Fishing On The Middle Saluda River, South Carolina

South Carolina’s Middle Saluda River became the first stream in the state to be designated in the Scenic River program. The Middle Saluda River and its tributary, stream, Coldspring Branch, are both included. This portion of the stream lies in the Jones Gap State Park. It is a beautiful stream and one of South Carolina’s best wild trout streams. Fly fishing the Middle Saluda River can be both fun and rewarding.

The Middle Saluda River begins in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. From there it flows through two state parks, Jones Gap and Ceasars Head. The stream has both stocked and wild rainbows, browns and brook trout. There is a catch-and-release section that starts at the footbridge at the Jones Gap State park line and continues downstream to Hugh Smith Road.

The upper part of the Middle Saluda River drops on a good decline and has lots of fast pocket water with some runs and a few riffles. It is mostly completely covered with a canopy of tree limbs that helps keep the water cool. The wild trout are on the small side, probably averaging only about 5 or 6 inches but they can go up to 12 inches. Access is fairly easy in the upper section of the stream but you will have to do some hiking. Jones Gap Trail follows along the stream for over five miles.

The state and the Mountain Bridge Chapter of TU arranged for the trout to be feed in the catch-and-release section of the stream, so the trout do grow large. It is managed as catch-and-release on a year round basis.

Below the special section, the lower Saluda River flows to its confluence with the South Saluda River. Most of the property along the lower section is private. You can access the lower section in the town of Cleveland at the U. S. Highway 76 Bridge. This area of the stream is stocked and does get warmer in the summer.