Prime Fly Fishing spots in South Carolina
A freshwater and saltwater fishing destination, South Carolina is home to some surprisingly good trout fishing as well. When anglers come to South Carolina they’re usually drawn to saltwater and its bass fishing. For good reason too.
However, there are some rivers and tailwaters that will satisfy the trout fishing itch in every angler.
Below, we’re going to cover some of these trout hot spots. as well as a great saltwater destination.
Where to Go:
This river is a celebrated wild brown trout stream. Making it a unique spot not just in South Carolina, but in the Southeastern US. The Chattooga is a freestone stream that runs through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
It’s a remote stream and is only crossed by two roads below the North Carolina state line. So, be ready to do your research before heading out so you know exactly where you need to park and hike in or out of.
Famously this river is where the film Deliverance was shot so you’ll see a lot of tourism here, but it’s mostly in the summer. Which you won’t really be fishing for trout in South Carolina in the summer anyway.
If you’re looking for a delayed harvest section, then check out the area that is 2.5 miles upstream of the Highway 28 bridge. The area is much more accessible than many other parts of the river. The state also stocks it regularly between the dates of May 15- October 31.
Spring and Fall will be the best times to get out on the river and chase trout. There are hatches that can happen year-round. Mayflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies are always a solid choice to have in your fly box. BWO’s are also the most consistent hatch on the rivers.
- Parachute Adams (#12 - 22)
- Light Cahill (#10 - 18)
- Elk Hair Caddis (#8 - 16)
- Yellows Stimulator (#8 - 14)
- Chernobyl Ant (#8 - 12)
- Griffith's Gnat (#16 - 24)
- Pheasant Tail (#12 - 20)
- BH Hare's Ear (#12 - 20)
- Rainbow Warrior (#14 - 22)
- Pat's Rubber Legs (#4 - 12)
- Golden Stonefly (#6 - 10)
- Zebra Midge (#16 - 22)
This is a 14.6-mile tributary of Lake Jocassee which is in North Carolina. This river contains both rainbows and brown trout. Some are wild while others are stocked by the state. Public access is available near the Duke Energy’s Bad Creek project land. This is a good spot to hike and wade fish from. Be careful though because it is not far from the North Carolina border. A North Carolina fishing license is required if you fish above the boundary.
The water is not known for being very fertile. Meaning your stealth, drift and presentation will be more important than your fly selection. If you’ve ever fished for brook trout in small mountain streams, then you’re in luck because the fishing here is very similar.
These fish are more opportunistic feeders. So, if something floats past them and it looks like its naturally drifting with the current then there’s a good chance they will come up and take a swipe at it.
Stick to basic patterns. No need to get very selective here.
- Elk Hair Caddis (#8-16)
- Adams Fly (#12-22)
- BWO (#14-24)
- Hopper and Beetle
- Pheasant Tail (#12 - 20)
- Stonefly (#6-10)
- BH Hare's Ear (#12 - 20)
- San Juan worm
- Zebra Midge (#16-22)
Lower Saluda River
Not only is the Lower Saluda a great trout river, but it also is home to some great striped bass fishing as well. In the Spring you have the opportunity to go out and match the hatch for trout or throw big flies to striped bass that are looking to move into the river to spawn.
The lower Saluda is a put and take river with the state stocking both rainbow and brown trout. The good news is that the river is cold enough and deep enough for trout to holdover through the warm summer months. Meaning there can be some big trout that live for years in this river.
Hatches in the spring will include mayflies, blue winged olives, pale morning and evening duns. The only dries you need to fish this river will be
- Parachute Adams (#12-22)
- Stimulator (#8-14)
- Beetle and Hopper
Most of the fish you catch will be on subsurface flies though.
- Hairs Ear (#12-20)
- Pheasant Tail (#12-20)
- Cadis Pupa (#12-20)
If you’re looking to go after striper then flies that imitate shad are going to work best. Use anything that will have white or chartreuse in it. If the water has been muddied by rain, then black or dark blue will be your best bet.
Mixing up topwater and subsurface flies will be key as the stripers will change up what they want to eat through the day.
- Wooly Buggers
- Boogle Bugs
This river is not really wadable. There may be some spots you can get into, but mostly you’ll be fishing from either the shore or a boat. Luckily there is plenty of shoreline and plenty of boat access areas.
There is an abundance of saltwater marshes that surround the low country of South Carolina. The areas around Charleston have a network of waterways that allow for phenomenal red fishing.
Look for any of the many boat access points that surround this area and then launch your skiff from there. During low tide you’ll want to target shallow spots near the shore, oyster beds, feeder creeks, marshes, and mudflats.
Redfish can be finnicky, but a stealthy approach with accurate casting can lead to solid days out on the water. If you like to throw flies to bass, then the good news is that many of those flies work well for reds too.
- Shrimp Pattern
- Crab Pattern
South Carolina is home to some phenomenal fishing. However, you’ll be surprised at just how good the trout fishing is. Head on out to any of the rivers listed above armed with your favorite rod and reel and see how you do!