Fishing with Ranger Richburg

Ranger Eddie Richburg, currently park manager at Barnwell State Park is on-call to answer your fishing questions and provide you with quarterly fishing reports.  Read the report below to see what's biting across the state, and if you've got a question that's been nibbling at you, make sure you drop him a line and he'll get back to you with the answer!Ranger Eddie Richburg

October-December Fishing Report

The weather is cooling down and the fish are biting!  If you are up for some freshwater fishing, this time of the year is a great time to catch crappie. Some of the best catches I had last fall were at Barnwell State Park and Lake Warren State Park.

Try drift fishing jigs or grass shrimp (if you can find them). I also had great luck fishing minnows. Drift over the creek beds or holes for the best results.

If you are headed to Lake Warren make sure to get minnows on your way to the park. Barnwell has bait shops nearby. Remember to take the unused minnows out with you, and please do not dump them in the lakes!

As the water cools, remember to head to your mountain parks such as Table Rock, Keowee-Toxaway, and Devils Fork for trout fishing. Many have been caught using brightly colored spinners and dough baits. Florescent colors and baits with glitter added seem to work the best. Fish the dough bait either under a cork or straight on the bottom. All of these parks have some very large trout.

Good luck, and give it a try a state park near you!

Keep on reelin’,
Ranger Richburg

Got a tip for Ranger Richburg or a subject you'd like him to touch on? Send an email with your ideas and they will be featured here!

Here are some questions our visitors have asked Ranger Richburg:

If I bring my jon boat does it have to be registered?

As long as your jon boat is propelled only by human power, it does not have to be registered. If it propelled by any device such as a motor or sails, it must be registered.
For any other questions regarding registration, check out SCDNR's specific regulations regarding boats.

Do you have to have a fishing license if fishing on the Myrtle Beach pier?
You will not need a fishing license to fish from the pier at Myrtle Beach State Park. The fee to fish from the pier is nominal $4.50 per person, age 11 and over. You can bring your own fishing equipment or use theirs. They do sell bait at the pier along with snacks, drinks, and other items. According to Cheryl, fishermen have been catching whiting, mackerel, pompano, and snapper from the pier, so it sounds like you stand a good chance of catching supper!

Good luck and let me know how you do!

A friend of mine told me that a fishing license is not needed in SC State Parks. Is this true? Are there places in SC that you can fish without a license?
The SC Dept. of Natural Resources regulations state that if you are fishing in a private pond you do not have to have a license, unless it is a commercial pay pond that is not permitted by DNR.

Although many of our parks have ponds or lakes that lie totally within the boundaries of the park, they are still considered public fishing lakes and do require a license. You can find license at many retail outlets or you can go to SCDNR's website and purchase a license online.

We're new to the state and my husband's a fly fisherman. Where are the best state parks to pursue that hobby?

Welcome to the best state in the U.S. (although I may be a little partial!).

Fly fishing can be enjoyed in any of our parks containing creeks, rivers, ponds, or lakes. With the variety of fish species that we have throughout South Carolina, he should be able to catch fish about anywhere. A few examples are Caesars Head or Devils Fork for trout, Dreher Island or Santee for stripers when they are chasing shad in the spring and fall, and Lake Warren or N.R. Goodale for bluegill bream.

Another fun thing he may want to try is flyfishing on the larger lakes day or night when the mayflies are hatching. I've caught them around the old 301 bridge on Santee (Lake Marion) during the mayfly hatch until I was tired of catching them. I've also caught catfish on topwater around the rocks under the bridge. Also try around lighted piers. The bream are feeding all night on the hatchlings. Try not only floating flies but sinking as well. White flies or black flies will work.

What is the peak time for bream and bass at Santee Cooper?
My favorite time to fish Santee for bream is during May and June while the bream and shell cracker are bedding. Late June and July (once they come off the bed) can also be great for shell cracker in the diversion canal fishing on the bottom. Bass can also be good during these same times. Once they come off the bed, they are aggresively looking for food. One of my favorite spots is in the upper lake in the flats across from Stump Hole and Low Falls Landings.