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Freshwater Fish Size & Possession Limits

Hunting Regulations Icon South Carolina Hunting & Fishing

Nongame Fish Size & Possession Limits

Water Body

Fish

Size Limit

Possession Limit

per person per day

Statewide American Eel 9 inches 25
Lakes Marion & Moultrie and the upper reach of the Santee River Blue Catfish Only 2 fish larger than 32 inches may be taken 25
Congaree & Wateree Rivers Blue Catfish Only 2 fish larger than 32 inches may be taken No limit

Game Fish Size & Possession Limits

bream, redbreast sunfish, crappie, yellow perch, pickerel, walleye & sauger

• A total of 40 game fish may be kept in any one day. This total shall not exceed more than the limits or exceptions listed below. Any game fish or species with a size limit listed must be landed with head and tail fin intact. All freshwater fish species in the state of South Carolina are measured using total length. Special limits and regulations apply to SCDNR managed lakes.

• Check with state parks, city reservoirs or county parks for special limits and regulations that apply to those areas.

Water Body

Fish

Size Limit

Possession Limit

per person per day

Statewide Bream (includes bluegill, flier, warmouth, pumpkinseed, green sunfish, redear (shellcracker) and spotted sunfish) Any length 30
Statewide Redbreast Sunfish Any length 15
Statewide Crappie 8 inches 20
Statewide Walleye & Sauger Any length No more than 8 combined total of walleye or sauger
Statewide Chain Pickerel Any length 30
Statewide Redfin Pickerel Any length 30
Statewide Yellow Perch Any length 30

Game Fish Size & Possession Limits

largemouth, smallmouth, redeye & spotted bass

• A total of 40 game fish may be kept in any one day. This total shall not exceed more than the limits or exceptions listed below. Any game fish or species with a size limit listed must be landed with head and tail fin intact. All freshwater fish species in the state of South Carolina are measured using total length. Special limits and regulations apply to SCDNR managed lakes.

• Check with state parks, city reservoirs or county parks for special limits and regulations that apply to those areas.

Water Body

Fish

Size Limit

Possession Limit

per person per day

Statewide except the water bodies listed below: Smallmouth Bass 12 inches No more than 5 combined total of smallmouth, largemouth, redeye bass or their hybrids
Lakes Hartwell, Russell (including the Lake Hartwell tailwater), Thurmond, Tugaloo, Yonah; Stevens Creek Reservoir; the Chattooga and Savannah Rivers Smallmouth Bass Any length No more than 10 combined total of smallmouth, largemouth, redeye, spotted bass or their hybrids
Lake Keowee Smallmouth Bass 12 inches No more than 10 combined total of smallmouth, largemouth, redeye, spotted bass or their hybrids.
Statewide except the water bodies listed below: Redeye Bass Any length No more than 5 combined total of smallmouth, largemouth, redeye bass or their hybrids.
Lakes Hartwell, Keowee, Russell (including the Lake Hartwell tailwater), Thurmond, Tugaloo, Yonah; Stevens Creek Reservoir; the Chattooga and Savannah Rivers Redeye Bass Any length No more than 10 combined total of smallmouth, largemouth, redeye, spotted bass or their hybrids
Statewide except the water bodies listed below: Largemouth Bass Any length No more than 5 combined total of smallmouth, largemouth, redeye bass or their hybrids
Lakes Blalock, Greenwood, Jocassee, Marion, Monticello, Moultrie, Murray, Secession, Wateree, Wylie and the middle reach of the Saluda River and the upper reach of the Santee River Largemouth Bass 14 inches No more than 5 combined total of smallmouth, largemouth, redeye bass or their hybrids
Lakes Hartwell, Keowee, Russell (including the Lake Hartwell tailwater), Thurmond, Tugaloo, Yonah; Stevens Creek Reservoir; the Chattooga and Savannah Rivers Largemouth Bass 12 inches No more than 10 combined total of smallmouth, largemouth, redeye, spotted bass or their hybrids
Lake Robinson (Greenville County) Largemouth Bass 12 inches No more than 5 combined total of smallmouth, largemouth, redeye bass or their hybrids
Statewide except the water bodies listed below: Spotted Bass Any length 15
Lakes Hartwell, Keowee, Russell (including the Lake Hartwell tailwater), Thurmond, Tugaloo, Yonah; Stevens Creek Reservoir; the Chattooga and Savannah Rivers Spotted Bass Any length No more than 10 combined total of smallmouth, largemouth, redeye, spotted bass or their hybrids
Slade’s Lake Largemouth, Redeye, Smallmouth & Spotted Bass 12 inches No more than 2 bass per person per day

Measuring a Fish

How to Properly Measure a Freshwater Fish

TL=total length measure; Tip of snout with mouth closed to tip of tail. Tail should be pinched. All freshwater fish species in the state of South Carolina are measured using total length. Some saltwater species are measured with fork length.

Game Fish Size & Possession Limits

striped, white & hybrid bass

• A total of 40 game fish may be kept in any one day. This total shall not exceed more than the limits or exceptions listed below. Any game fish or species with a size limit listed must be landed with head and tail fin intact. All freshwater fish species in the state of South Carolina are measured using total length. Special limits and regulations apply to SCDNR managed lakes.

• Check with state parks, city reservoirs or county parks for special limits and regulations that apply to those areas.

Water Body

Fish

Size Limit

Possession Limit

per person per day

Statewide except the Savannah River White Bass Any length 10
Statewide except on the Savannah River and Lakes Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond see below. Hybrid Bass None 10
Statewide except the water bodies list below: Striped Bass Any length 10
Ashepoo River; Ashley River; Back River in Jasper County and the Back River in Berkeley County; Black River; Black Mingo Creek; Bull Creek and Little Bull Creek; Combahee River; Cooper River system; Coosawhatchie River; Cuckholds Creek; Edisto River; Horseshoe Creek; Lumber River; Lynches River; Great Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee Rivers; Pocotaligo in Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton Counties; Salkehatchie and Little Salkehatchie Rivers; Sampit River; Santee River system; Tulifinny River; Thoroughfare Creek; and Waccamaw River Striped Bass Oct. 1 – May 31:
26 inches
3
Jun. 1 – Sept. 30: closed except catch
and release on the Lower Saluda River
Lake Murray Striped Bass Oct. 1 – May 31:
21 inches
5
Jun. 1 – Sept. 30:
any length
Unlawful to take, attempt to take, or possess more than 5
Saluda River (Middle Reach)
All waters of Saluda River from backwaters of Lake Murray at SC Hwy 395 upstream to Lake Greenwood Dam
Striped Bass Oct. 1 – May 31:
21 inches
5
Jun. 1 – Sept. 30:
any length
Unlawful to take, attempt to take, or possess more than 5
Saluda River (Lower Reach)
All waters of Saluda River from confluence with Broad River upstream to Lake Murray Dam
Striped Bass Oct. 1 – May 31:
26 inches
3
Jun. 1 – Sept. 30: any length Catch and Release only
Lake Russell Striped or Hybrid Bass or a combination Only 1 fish larger than 34 inches 2
Lake Hartwell Tailwater Striped or Hybrid Bass or a combination Only 1 fish over 34 inches 2
Savannah River (Lower)
All waters of Savannah River from its confluence with the Atlantic Ocean upstream to the Lake J. Strom Thurmond Dam
Striped, Hybrid or White Bass or a combination 27 inches 2
Lake Hartwell & Lake Thurmond Striped or Hybrid Bass or a combination Only 3 fish over
26 inches
10

Temperate Bass Identification

White Perch

A. Dorsal fins joined by a membrane.

B. No tooth patches on tongue.

C. Body deepest in front of 1st
dorsal fin.

D. No stripes present or only faintly striped on lower body only.

E. 2nd spine almost equal the length of 3rd spine.

White Bass

A. Dorsal fins not jointed.

B. Back of tongue has 1 tooth patch.

C. Body deep, more than 1/3 length.

D. Stripes faint, only 1 extends to tail.

E. 2nd spine 2/3 the length or more of 3rd spine.

Striped Bass

A. Dorsal fins not joined.

B. Back of tongue has 2 distinct tooth patches.

C. Body slender, less than 1/3 length.

D. Stripes distinct, several extend to tail.

E. 2nd spine 1/2 the length of 3rd spine.

Hybrid Bass

A. Dorsal fins not joined.

B. Back of tongue has 2 distinct tooth patches.

C. Body deep, more than 1/3 length.

D. Stripes distinct, usually broken, several extend to tail.

E. 2nd spine 2/3 or more the length of 3rd spine.

Game Fish Size & Possession Limits

brook, brown & rainbow trout

• A total of 40 game fish may be kept in any one day. This total shall not exceed more than the limits or exceptions listed below. Any game fish or species with a size limit listed must be landed with head and tail fin intact. All freshwater fish species in the state of South Carolina are measured using total length. Special limits and regulations apply to SCDNR managed lakes.

• Check with state parks, city reservoirs or county parks for special limits and regulations that apply to those areas.

Water Body

Size Limit

Possession Limit

Bait & Tackle Restrictions

Statewide except the water bodies listed below: Any length 5 None
Waters on Georgia Border Any length 5 None
Chauga River (SC Hwy 290 [Cassidy Bridge Road] upstream to Bone Camp Creek) Any length Nov. 1 – May 14: Catch and Release only Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except single hook artificial lures.
May 15 – Oct. 31: 5 None
Chattooga River (Hwy 28 to Reed Creek) Any length Nov. 1 – May 14: Catch and Release only Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except single hook artificial lures.
May 15 – Oct. 31: 5 None
Cheohee Creek Any length 5 None
Cheohee Creek (portion that runs through the Piedmont Forestry Center) Open Mon, Wed, Sat or as posted Any length Nov. 1 – May 14: Catch and Release only Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except single hook artificial lures
May 15 – Oct. 31: 5 None
Corbin Creek (from confluence with Howard Creek upstream to SC Hwy 130) Any length Nov. 1 – May 14: Catch and Release only Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except single hook artificial lures.
May 15 – Oct. 31: 5 None
Devils Fork Creek Any length Nov. 1 – May 14: Catch and Release only Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except single hook artificial lures.
May 15 – Oct. 31: 5 None
Eastatoe Creek (Keowee to Roy Jones Road) Any length Nov. 1 – May 14: Catch and Release only Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except single hook artificial lures.
May 15 – Oct. 31: 5 None
Eastatoe Creek (portion on Eastatoe River Heritage Preserve) Any length 5 Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except artificial lures.
Howard Creek (from confluence with Corbin Creek upstream to confluence with Limberpole Creek) Any length Nov. 1 – May 14: Catch and Release only Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except single hook artificial lures.
May 15 – Oct. 31: 5 None
Lower Saluda River Only 1 fish may be more than 16 inches 5 None
Matthews Creek (from Asbury Drive Bridge at Asbury Methodist Camp upstream including all tributaries and headwaters) Any length 5 Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except artificial lures.
Matthews Creek (downstream from Asbury Drive Bridge at Asbury Methodist Camp downstream to the confluence with South Saluda River ) Any length 5 None
Middle Saluda (from the foot bridge at Jones Gap State Park Office upstream to US Hwy 276 in Greenville County) Any length 5 Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except artificial lures.
Middle Saluda (from Hugh Smith Road Bridge upstream to the foot-bridge at Jones Gap State Park) Open Mon, Wed, Sat Any length Catch and Release only Lawful to use or possess only artificial lures with single hooks.
Whitewater River (Oconee County) Any length 5 Unlawful to use or possess any lure or bait except artificial lures.
Lake Jocassee Oct. 1 – May 31:
15 inches, but only 1 fish more than 20 inches
3 Unlawful to use or possess corn, cheese, fish eggs or imitations of them.
Jun. 1 – Sept. 30: Any length Unlawful to take, attempt to take, or possess more than 3
Lake Russell Any length 5 None

What is an Artificial Lure?

Artificial lure: means manufactured or handmade flies, spinners, plugs, spoons, and reproductions of live animals, which are made completely of natural or colored wood, cork, feathers, hair, rubber, metal, plastic, tinsel, styrofoam, sponge, or string, or any combination of these materials, in imitation of or as substitute for natural bait. Lures or fish eggs enhanced with scents or salts are not artificial lures. Artificially produced organic baits are not artificial lures.