New Freshwater Fishing Regulations

New Freshwater Fishing Regulations

Scheduled for July 1, 2012

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Freshwater Fisheries Section announces a series of changes to South Carolina state statutes (Chapter 13) regulating freshwater fishing. The goals of these changes are to promote consistency and modernize the laws to ensure proper freshwater fisheries management.

“DNR utilizes scientific data through various research and monitoring programs and stakeholder input in developing creel and size statutes among other regulations,” said Ross Self, head of DNR Freshwater Fisheries. “It’s an effort to be as consistent in regulations as possible throughout the state.”

Some of the changes include:

* Definitions of water bodies and gear types.

* Types of nongame devices allowable by location.

* An angler may possess a total of no more than five combined total per person per day of largemouth, redeye, smallmouth or their hybrids.

* Largemouth bass size limits.

* A 12 inch size limit on smallmouth bass statewide.

* An angler may possess no more than five coldwater trout per person per day statewide except on Lake Jocassee where the limit is three.

* Statewide crappie eight inch size limit and a maximum of 20 fish per person per day.

* An angler can possess 30 bream per person per day, of which not more than 15 can be redbreast sunfish. Bream includes bluegill, flier, redbreast, warmouth, pumpkinseed, green sunfish, redear and spotted sunfish.

* No more than 50 eels per recreational fishermen per day and eels must be six inches long.

* It is unlawful to take freshwater mussels without a permit except for Asian clams (Corbicula spp.).     * A commercial fisherman may fish up to 50 crayfish traps. A recreational fisherman may fish up to five crayfish traps.

* All minnow traps must be identified with the name and department customer identification number of the user. A minnow trap may be fished with a recreational license only with a limit of five for each person and must not be fished for commercial purposes.

* Except bait lost incidental to fishing or fish released into the waters from which they were taken, it is unlawful to intentionally release any aquatic species, including bait, regardless of the stage of its life cycle, into the waters of this State without a permit from the department. It is unlawful to use any nonindigenous fish as bait that is not already established in the water body being fished except the following minnows: fathead minnows, golden shiners and goldfish, including ‘black salties’

For a complete list of changes, please visit