Variety is the Spice of South Carolina

We live in a special place, we know that. From our history to our culture, South Carolina gives us many reason to call her home.

To the fly fisher, it offers more diversity than anywhere in the country. We’ll break it down into 3 regions: the upstate, midlands, and the lowcountry.

The first river in the East designated by the US as a “wild and scenic river” was the Chattooga River.

Chattooga River

In the upper sections of the river near Burrells Ford, and down to the delayed harvest section above the HWY 28 bridge trout can be found in good numbers in a stunning surrounding.

Looking for more adventure? Contact the rafting companies and rent an inflatable kayak (known as Duckies) and reach water that seldom gets fished.

There are no roads in the area. Nearby, the Chauga and the middle section of the Saluda offer trout opportunities as well.  The Whitewater river and Lake Jocassee in the upper corner of the state are some of my favorite places. While not easily accessed, they shouldn’t be missed.

The state record rainbow and brown trout came out of Jocassee and both exceeded 20 lbs. In addition, there is great Small mouth and Spotted Bass fishing.

Lake Jocassee gorge

In the midlands of the state we have world class bass and striper fishing lakes. Our state fish, the Striped bass, was first impounded in the early 40’s during the construction of the Santee Cooper Reservoir.

Not only did they survive, they established a viable fishery.  These fighters will test your fly gear to its max.

The bass fishing on the Santee Cooper lakes is legendary

Hard, head shaking runs are the norm. 8-9wt rods are best but a 10 wt with a sinking line also picks up loads of fish.

If they are not feeding visibly just below the surface, they can be found on a depth finder. Establish the depth and count down til you reach the school.

Lake Moultrie – Santee Cooper Lakes

The bass fishing on the Santee Cooper lakes is legendary as well.  Perhaps the most widely publicized water in all of the largemouth kingdom, there is something for everyone: stumpfields, lily pads, structure, docks.

In the lower portion of the midlands, and upper lowcountry areas we have terrific American and Hickory Shad runs in the spring.  Don’t forget the Bowfin’s in the swamps and blackwater rivers!

Perhaps the best part of all this variety, is that it is all drivable in 3-4 hours

Venturing further south towards the coast, we open up dozens of species available for the fly fisherman.

The inshore favorites, redfish, trout, and flounder seem to be at the top of everyone’s mind, but its the unsung species that keep it interesting.

Chasing Redfish on coastal marsh flats.

Seasonally, we have loads of Tarpon, giant Jack Crevalle, Cobia, Triple Tail, and Mackeral that swim in South Carolina waters.

Fishing offshore you can expect chances at Dolphin, Amberjack, Spadefish, and the occasional Billfish or Tuna.

Perhaps the best part of all this variety, is that it is all drivable in 3-4 hours.  I’m not sure where else you can fish a morning flood tide for redfish then be casting sz 18 Caddis flies during an evening hatch.

Take a day or a weekend and explore a South Carolina fishery that’s new to you! Its all here and its all close by.

Scotty Davis | Lowcountry Fly Shop |

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