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Guide To Panfish Fishing In South Carolina

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All about fishing for sunfish in SC lakes and ponds.

Panfish fishing in Colorado

South Carolina offers excellent opportunities for panfish fishing, with sunfish being a popular target for anglers of all ages. Sunfish, a group of species that includes bluegill, redear sunfish (shellcracker), and pumpkinseed, are plentiful in the state's lakes, ponds, and rivers.

Bluegill, one of the most common sunfish species, is a favorite among panfish anglers in South Carolina. These feisty fish are known for their aggressive strikes and can be caught using a variety of baits and lures, such as worms, small jigs, or flies. Bluegill provide excellent fishing action, making them a great species for kids to target.

Another popular sunfish species in South Carolina is the redear sunfish, also known as shellcracker. Renowned for their hard-fighting nature and preference for snails and other aquatic invertebrates, redear sunfish provide an exciting challenge for anglers. They can often be found near submerged vegetation or around structures in lakes and ponds.

Pumpkinseed sunfish, with their vibrant colors and distinct markings, add to the excitement of panfish fishing in South Carolina. These smaller sunfish are known for their willingness to bite and provide a fun and rewarding experience for young anglers. Catching pumpkinseed sunfish can be as simple as using a small hook with a worm or a piece of live bait.

South Carolina encourages youth fishing by providing various opportunities and programs tailored for young anglers. The state offers special youth fishing events and derbies, where children can learn about fishing techniques, safety, and conservation. These events often feature stocked ponds or designated areas where kids can experience the thrill of catching fish in a supportive and fun environment.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, local fishing organizations, and community centers play an active role in promoting youth fishing. They offer resources, education, and mentorship programs to ensure that young anglers have the knowledge and skills needed to enjoy fishing responsibly and sustainably.

In summary, South Carolina provides a fantastic panfish fishing experience, particularly for sunfish species like bluegill, redear sunfish, and pumpkinseed. These fish offer exciting action and can be found in the state's lakes, ponds, and rivers. With a focus on youth fishing and the availability of programs and events designed for young anglers, South Carolina ensures that kids have ample opportunities to develop their fishing skills and create lifelong memories in the great outdoors.

Throughout the state of South Carolina you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, flier sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, redbreast sunfish, redear sunfish, warmouth, white bass, white perch and yellow perch. Panfish waters are everywhere in SC. Lakes, rivers, ponds and parks have one or more species of sunfish.

The major SC lakes, including Clarks Hill Lake, Lake Blalock, Lake Bowen, Lake Greenwood, Lake Hartwell, Lake Jocassee, Lake Keowee, Lake Marion, Lake Monticello, Lake Moultrie, Lake Murray, Lake Wylie, Parr Reservoir, Lake Russell and Wateree Lake all have sunfish.

Fishing Boats For Rent In South Carolina

Top Producing Panfish Lures & Bait

Check out the top producing lures and bait for bluegill, redear sunfish, rock bass and warmouth, as well as other smaller sunfish. Click here for the best lures for white bass, yellow bass, white perch and yellow perch.

In-state panfish, sunfish and perch



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

Click the images and links above for species details.

South Carolina State Record Sunfish

The state record bluegill was caught from a pond in Lancaster County.

The state record flier sunfish came from a pond in Hemingway.

The state record pumpkinseed sunfish came from the North Saluda River.

The state record redbreast sunfish came out of the Lumber River.

The state record redear sunfish came out of the Diversion Canal.

The state record warmouth came out of a pond in Clarendon County.

The state record white bass came from Lake Murray.

Two state record white perch (tie) one caught out of Lake Wylie, the other from Lake Marion.

The state record yellow perch was caught from Lake Keowee.

The term "panfish" comprises many species, each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.


One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout South Carolina, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.

Bluegill Fishing Basics Video

The core principles shown in this video will work for most sunfish, perch and other panfish.

Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.


Sunfish information in other states.

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