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South Carolina



Department of Natural Resources Board

State of South Carolina

Henry McMaster, Governor

Department of Natural Resources Board

Chairman – Norman F. Pulliam

Vice Chairman – Michael E. “Mike” Hutchins

Dr. Mark F. Hartley

Jake Rasor, Jr.

James Carlisle Oxner III

Duane Swygert
Jerry A. Lee

Department of Natural Resources

Director, Robert H. Boyles, Jr.

Deputy Directors

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries – Emily Cope

Law Enforcement – Colonel Chisolm Frampton

Marine Resources – Blaik Keppler

Administration – Angie Cassella

Land, Water & Conservation – Ken Rentiers


Published July 2022

Property-specific regulations outlined in this booklet could change due to the need for emergency regulations. Such changes will be publicized in local newspapers and on the SCDNR website as any new emergency legislation is passed. Discrepancies between the book and any statute or regulation shall be governed by the statute or regulation. To research laws, visit The SCDNR News Section will issue news releases to clarify any changes to regulations, errors or omissions in this booklet.

Other information is published only in SCDNR news releases. This includes announcements relative to shrimp baiting, public hearings, SCDNR Board decisions and position statements, new legislation, youth activities, mobility impaired US Dept. of Agriculture cost-share programs, special lottery hunts, schedules for newly acquired areas and many other items of interest. SCDNR news releases are published weekly and distributed free to editors of all regional and local newspapers and are available to the public on the SCDNR website.

Thank You!

Manufacturers of hunting and fishing equipment (arms, ammunition and manufactured fishing tackle) support the programs of SCDNR through the collection of a federal excise tax. These taxes are pro-rated to state fish and wildlife agencies to assist in the management and conservation of natural resources. For over 70 years, wildlife management and conservation efforts have achieved results with these funds and the public-and private-sector partnership with the Fish and Wildlife Service, state fish and wildlife agencies, firearms, fishing tackle and boating industries, hunters, shooters, anglers and boaters. THANKS to the hunting and fishing industries for supporting this important program.

Important Information

Eating Fish Caught in South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) believe that fish are a healthy, low-fat source of protein. To make sure that the fish you catch are safe to eat, DHEC tests fish from lakes, rivers and streams throughout South Carolina.

To protect your health, DHEC issues fish consumption advisories in areas where contaminated fish have been found. For more information on the advisories, call DHEC, toll free, at 1-888-849-7241 or go to DHEC’s web page at

Natural Shorelines are Good for Fishing

By keeping shorelines natural, you can help protect water quality and improve fish habitat. A shoreline without trees and shrubs can get washed away, making the water muddy and unsuitable for fish. If you live near a lake or a river, plant a buffer strip along the water’s edge using trees, shrubs, wildflowers or other native plants. Trees and other vegetation filter pollution and provide shade, shelter, habitat, and food critical for bass, trout, and other fish to thrive and reproduce. Keep your favorite fishing spots well vegetated! For more tips and information, visit

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.

Guidelines for Sea Turtle Protection

If you hook or entangle a sea turtle while fishing, contact South Carolina DNR Hotline: 1-800-922-5431. Sea Turtle Handling Release Guidelines Quick Reference

  • Keep hands away from turtle’s mouth and flippers.
  • Do not lift the turtle by the hook or by pulling on the line.
  • Safely land the turtle using a net or by walking it to shore.
  • Leave the hook in place with three foot of line, as removing it can cause more damage.
  • Keep the turtle out of direct sunlight and cover with damp towel.
  • Use non-stainless, barbless hooks when possible.

If circumstances don’t permit you to hold the animal and contact DNR, cut the line as short as possible and release the turtle.

Operation Game Thief

Game and fish law violators steal your wildlife and rob you of tax, license, and business dollars. They cheat you out of recreation and your children out of part of their future. You’re their victim as surely as if they’d robbed your home.

Operation Game Thief is a program designed to stop game and fish law violators in South Carolina. Citizen involvement is the key to the success of the program. You can help in either of two ways:

  • You can make a contribution to Operation Game Thief. Contributions will be used to make rewards to persons providing information leading to the arrest of game and fish law violators. Contributions are tax deductible.
  • You can report a violator (anonymously if you choose). If your information leads to the conviction of game and fish law violators, you will receive a cash reward of up to $2,500.00 dollars. Rewards are dependent on the amount and type of information.

State Fishing Records

Check out state record catches at

Report potential record breaking catches at your nearest regional SCDNR office.