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Popular Fishing Lakes In South Carolina

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Guide to fishing in the Palmetto State

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

  • Clarks Hill Lake, SC
  • Fishing Creek Lake, SC
  • Lake Bowen, SC
  • Lake Greenwood, SC
  • Lake Hartwell, SC
  • Lake Jocassee, SC
  • Lake Keowee, SC
  • Lake Marion, SC
  • Lake Monticello, SC
  • Lake Moultrie, SC
  • Lake Murray, SC
  • Lake Wylie, SC
  • Parr Reservoir, SC
  • Richard B Russell Lake, SC
  • Wateree Lake, SC

Fishing Boats For Rent In South Carolina

South Carolina is a fishing paradise, offering a wide variety of fish species across its warm water fisheries, cold water fisheries, ponds, lakes, and rivers. Anglers in the state can enjoy a diverse range of fishing opportunities throughout the year. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about the best fishing lakes in the state, plus the species found in each lake.

In the warm water fisheries of South Carolina, anglers can target popular species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, crappie, catfish, and bream. Lakes like Lake Murray, Lake Marion, and Lake Hartwell are renowned for their warm water fisheries and provide ample opportunities for anglers to hook into trophy-sized bass, aggressive stripers, and tasty panfish. From casting topwater lures for bass to bottom fishing with live bait for catfish, warm water fisheries in South Carolina offer excitement and variety.

South Carolina's cold water fisheries are popular among trout enthusiasts. Lakes such as Lake Jocassee and Lake Hartwell receive regular stockings of rainbow trout and brown trout, providing excellent opportunities for anglers to test their skills. Fly fishing, spin casting, and trolling are common techniques used to target these elusive cold water species. The scenic beauty of the mountain lakes adds to the allure, creating a serene and picturesque fishing experience.

In addition to the larger lakes, South Carolina's ponds offer hidden gems for anglers. Many privately owned and public ponds throughout the state are stocked with a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, bluegill, and crappie. These smaller bodies of water can provide a more intimate fishing experience, where anglers can focus on specific species and refine their fishing techniques.

South Carolina's rivers are also home to a wealth of fish species. From the expansive Santee River system to the pristine Chattooga River, anglers can target species such as bass, catfish, trout, and various panfish. River fishing offers a dynamic and ever-changing environment, with anglers using a range of techniques such as casting, drifting, and wading to access prime fishing spots.

Overall, South Carolina's fishing opportunities are vast and diverse. Whether you prefer warm water or cold water fishing, lakes or rivers, there is a fishing experience for every angler's preference and skill level. With its variety of fish species and picturesque fishing locations, South Carolina truly offers something special for fishing enthusiasts.

The state of South Carolina offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities. Here, you can fish for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, redeye bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, white catfish, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, bluegill, flier sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, redbreast sunfish, redear sunfish, warmouth, white bass, white perch, yellow perch, stripers, bowfin, chain pickerel, muskie and sauger in local lakes, rivers, ponds and/or streams. Many of these lakes have marinas offering a wide variety of supplies, services and fishing boat rentals.

Major South Carolina Lakes & Species

South Carolina major lakes and fish chart

Lake & Fish Chart

This chart shows the major angling destinations, cross referencing these waters with the major types of fishing found in each lake or impoundment.

For a detailed list of primary fish species in SC, plus state fish records, see the list below.

Fishing lake sizes and locations in the state.

Clarks Hill Lake, aka Lake J. Strom Thurmond is a 71,000-acre reservoir on the eastern border of SC, at Clarks Hill.

Fishing Creek Lake is a 3,100-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, 5 miles west of Springdale.

Lake Blalock is a 1,100-acre lake in northwest South Carolina, 10 miles north of Spartanburg. (45 mi Shore)

Lake Bowen is a 1,500-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, at Woodfin.

Lake Greenwood is an 11,000-acre lake in the west-central part of the state, at Greenwood.

Lake Hartwell is a 56,000-acre lake on the western border of the state, at Anderson.

Lake Jocassee is a 7,500-acre lake in the northwest corner of the state, at Jocassee.

Lake Keowee is an 18,000-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, at Seneca.

Lake Marion is a 110,000-acre lake in the central part of the state, at Santee.

Lake Monticello, aka Monticello Reservoir is a 7,000-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Monticello.

Lake Moultrie is a 60,000-acre lake in the southeast part of the state, at Moncks Corner.

Lake Murray is a 50,000-acre lake in the central part of the state, at Columbia.

Lake Robinson is an 800-acre lake in the northwest part of the state, 12 miles northeast of Greenville.

Lake Tugalo is a 600-acre lake in the northwest corner of the state, 15 miles northwest of Westminster.

Lake Wylie is a 12,000-acre lake on the northern border of the state, at Tega Cay SC.

Parr Reservoir or Parr Shoals Reservoir is a 4,400-acre lake in the north-central part of SC, at Jenkinsville.

Richard B Russell Lake, aka Lake Russell is a 26,650-acre reservoir located on the western border at Clarks Hill.

Wateree Lake is a 13,000-acre lake in the north-central part of the state, at Great Falls.

Fish Species & State Records in South Carolina


Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 16 lbs 2 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 9 lbs 7 oz

Spotted Bass

Spotted bass

World record: 9 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 8 lbs 5 oz

Redeye Bass

Redeye bass

World record: 8 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 2.5 oz


Channel Catfish

Channel catfish

World record: 58 lbs 0 oz*

State Record: 58 lbs 0 oz*

Flathead Catfish

Flathead catfish

World record: 123 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 84 lbs 9.6 oz

Blue Catfish

Blue catfish

World record: 143 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 113 lbs 8 oz

White Catfish

White catfish

World record: 22 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 12 lbs 2.9 oz


Black Crappie

Black crappie

World record: 6 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 0 oz

White Crappie

White crappie

World record: 5 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 5 lbs 1 oz




World record: 25 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 10 lbs 0 oz



World record: 17 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 7 oz


Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout

World record: 42 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 11 lbs 5 oz

Brook Trout

Brook trout

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 4 lbs 10 oz

Brown Trout

Brown trout

World record: 40 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 17 lbs 9.5 oz




World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 4 oz

Flier Sunfish

Flier sunfish

World record: 1 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 1 lbs 4 oz

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Pumpkinseed sunfish

World record: 2 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 2 lbs 4 oz

Redbreast Sunfish

Redbreast sunfish

World record: 2 lbs 0 oz*

State Record: 2 lbs 0 oz*

Redear Sunfish

Shellcracker sunfish

World record: 5.4 lbs

State Record: 5 lbs 7 oz



World record: 2.4 lbs

State Record: 2 lbs 2.5 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

State Record: 5 lbs 4.8 oz

White Perch

White perch

World record: 4.6 lbs

State Record: 1 lbs 15 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

State Record: 3 lbs 4 oz

Striped bass

Striped Bass


Inland world record: 64 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 63 lbs 0 oz

Hybrid Striped Bass

Hybrid Striper (Wiper)

World record: 27 lbs 5 oz

State Record: 20 lbs 6 oz

Other species



World record: 21 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 21 lbs 8 oz

Chain Pickerel

Chain pickerel

World record: 9 lbs 6 oz

State Record: 6 lbs 4 oz


Muskie (Muskellunge)

World record: 69 lbs 9 oz

State Record: 22 lbs 8 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

A nice largremouth bass

State of SC Fishing Information

South Carolina fishing information is also available at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website.

Apply for a South Carolina Fishing License.

Fishing Guides In South Carolina
You can find a listing of SC fishing guides here. If you are a fishing guide in South Carolina or know of a good resource, please send us information for consideration.

Bass fishing book

Fish for big bass

Excellent largemouth bass, smallmouth, spotted and redeye bass fishing opportunities are available to anglers throughout the state.


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