Fly Fishing the Eastatoe River South Carolina

By James Marsh

The Eastatoe River, spelled Eastatoee by some, and also called Eastatoe Creek in its upper section, is one of South Carolina’s best trout streams. Fly fishing the Eastatoe River in its uppermost section can be a wonderful experience for any fly angler.

The Eastatoe River flows through a rugged gorge and prevents all but the serious fly angler more problems to access than the causal roadside angler cares for. The stream flows through the Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve. The upper section can be accessed from the Eastatoe Heritage Preserve Trail. It takes a good hike to reach the bottom of the gorge.

The uppermost section consists of beautiful water that flows through the gorge with the largest population of wild trout. It consists mostly of fast pocket water with fast runs, riffles, plunges and a few small pools. The wild trout are relatively small, but plentiful and usually eager to take a dry fly. It has special regulations, which include using only artificial lures and flies. Abner, Rocky Bottom and Dogwood Creeks are small tributary streams that also have populations of wild trout.

The middle section flows mostly through private property in the Eastatoe Valley. It contains both wild and stocked trout but with a good number of holdovers. Big Laurel Creek is a tributary stream that flows into this section of the river. The water is slower moving with some long, deep pools separated by sections of riffles.

The lower section has easy access, is regularly stocked and has some large holdover trout. The water in this section can become too warm during the summer but it still maintains a good population of holdovers in some areas. The stream is stocked with both rainbows and brown trout during the spring and summer. From the confluence of Laurel Creek downstream to Lake Keowee, the Eastatoe River is hatchery supported.

Seasons: The trout season follows the general South Carolina regulations.

Spring: Spring is the best season to fish the upper river.

Summer: The water can get a little warm during the hot summer in the middle and lower sections but it stays well oxygenated and cool in the remote upper area.

Fall: Autumn is a good time to fish the river for large holdover brown trout.

Winter: Fishing during the winter can be good on warm days

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies for the Eastatoe River

Fly Line: You would probably want a 4 or 5 weight fly line for your dry fly fishing on Eastatoe River. You could get by using a 5 weight floating fly line for everything. Many anglers that fish heavy nymphs and streamers would want a 6 weight fly line.

Leaders: Leaders should range in sizes from a 0X for streamers up to a 6X for midges and small dry flies. Lengths ranging from seven and one-half feet, up to 12 feet in length are suggested.

Tippets: Extra tippet material ranging from 0X to 6X should be available for the leaders we list above.

Fly Rods: I recommend a fast action fly rod, nine feet in length for all three weights of fly lines.

Fly Reels: The fly reels you use for the 4, 5 or 6 weight lines, if you choose to use them all, should be light and have good drags.

Waders: I recommend waders. There are few places you could fish without them. We prefer the breathable type but you could use neoprene waders during the winter if you preferred.

Wading Boots: We recommend felt soles for your wading boots. You may want to consider the new rubber sole boots that help prevent the spread of Didymo but we have not tested them on this stream.

Landing Net: A landing net is purely an optional item.

Trout Flies: We recommend “Perfect Flies”. We think they are the best trout flies you can purchase.

They have been tested in the Eastatoe River by some of our South Carolina customers and have proven very effective there. The wild trout and the holdovers can be selective and it’s best to use streamers, nymphs and dry flies that best match the naturals. If you haven’t already tried them, we certainly hope you will. You won’t be disappointed. If you prefer them, we also have a full line of generic and attractor flies at very low prices for very high quality flies.

James Marsh is the Owner of The Perfect Fly online and catalog mail-order store.