SC DNR announces trout
stockings Statewide

February 17, 2003
Written by SC DNR.
Image by Bill Byrd.
Edited by Bill Byrd.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources began stocking coldwater trout, including brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout, in the state's upcountry waters in March.

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will begin stocking coldwater trout in at least 14 mountain streams, four mountain lakes, two tailwaters and one large reservoir in March. According to DNR district fisheries biologist Dan Rankin at DNR's Clemson office, the trout species to be stocked include brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. All of the fish are reared at the DNR's Walhalla State Fish Hatchery in Oconee County.

The DNR will release an estimated 350,000 to 400,000 trout to provide anglers with expanded fishing opportunities during 2003. Trout stocking in mountain streams will begin in March and continue through early summer. Stream stocking days are randomly selected and unannounced. Streams are stocked on an average of about every seven to 10 days during spring months. Trout stocking summaries are provided weekly to local Upstate newspapers to keep anglers informed.

Fishing for stocked trout is popular in South Carolina. A recent statewide angler survey estimated that more than 40,000 anglers fish for trout, and the fishery contributes about $17 million annually to the state's economy. The effects of trout fishing can be felt in many segments of Upstate and Midlands communities, from motels and restaurants to gas stations and sporting goods stores. Trout fishing in mountain streams is also popular. Biologists estimate more than 100,000 angler trips are made each year fishing for trout in mountain streams.

Delayed-harvest trout streams are available to South Carolina anglers on two streams: two miles of the Chattooga River from the SC 28 bridge upstream to the confluence of Reed Creek and a one-mile section of Cheohee Creek within the boundaries of the Piedmont Forestry Center. Both are in Oconee County. Delayed-harvest streams are strictly catch and release between Nov. 1 and May 14. During that period, only artificial lures with a single hook can be used. Fishing on the Cheohee is on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays only, while the delayed-harvest section of the Chattooga is available all week.

Water levels, stream temperatures, and hatchery inventories will dictate trout stocking locations and frequency during the summer months. Fall stocking will occur on the same streams at an average rate of two to three stockings per month. The statewide daily creel limit on mountain trout streams is 10 fish, except for Chattooga River, which has a daily limit of eight fish.

Mountain trout streams are located in the northern-most portion of Oconee, Pickens, and Greenville counties. Streams regularly stocked include: Brasstown Creek, Chauga River, Chattooga River, East Fork Chattooga, Little Eastatoee Creek, Eastatoee River, Little Canebrake, Oolenoy River, Rocky Bottom Creek, Laurel Fork Creek, Middle Saluda River, North Saluda River and South Saluda River.

Many stocked areas are on private land, where the landowner is generous enough to allow public access. Officials with DNR urge the public to treat these areas with respect and refrain from littering. Park and national forest lakes and tailwater fisheries are stocked during winter and early spring months. Creel limits on park lakes vary. Anglers are encouraged to check with each park to ascertain limit information prior to fishing.

Park lakes routinely stocked are located at Oconee State Park in Oconee County, Oolenoy State Park in Pickens County, Paris Mountain State Park and Pleasant Ridge County Park in Greenville County. Less frequently stocked lakes include Burson Tract Lake, Walhalla Watershed WMA Reservoir, and Lake Tugaloo (Bull Sluice) in Oconee County and Pinnacle Lake in Greenville County. Tailwaters stocked include the Lake Hartwell Tailwater below Hartwell Dam in Anderson County, and the Lower Saluda River below Lake Murray in Lexington County. Lake Jocassee in Oconee County is stocked during winter and early spring months. Lake Jocassee is managed as a trophy trout fishery. The minimum size limit on Jocassee trout is 15 inches with a five-fish creel limit.

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