The 10 Best Trout Fishing Spots in South Carolina (With Map)

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South Carolina is well known for its remarkable natural beauty, but it also offers anglers an exceptional trout fishing experience. With a variety of fishing spots that range from tranquil mountain streams to expansive reservoirs, the state’s waters are home to a thriving population of these amazing fish.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice seeking to learn the art of trout fishing, South Carolina’s diverse landscapes and pristine waters provide the ideal backdrop for a memorable angling adventure.

In this article, we will explore the best trout fishing spots in the state, taking a closer look at their unique qualities, recommended techniques, and the different types of trout awaiting eager anglers of all skill levels.

Best Trout Fishing Spots in South Carolina: List & Map

  1. Chattooga River
  2. Whitewater River
  3. Watauga River
  4. Lake Jocassee
  5. Rocky Bottom Creek
  6. Lake Hartwell
  7. Saluda River
  8. Lake Murray
  9. Chauga River
  10. Eastatoe Creek

Best Trout Fishing Rivers and Lakes in South Carolina Reviewed

1. Chattooga River

chattooga river Trout Fishing South Carolina

Known for its pristine beauty, the 57-mile-long Chattooga River offers exceptional trout fishing opportunities along its entire length, particularly in its upper sections. You can enjoy both wild and stocked trout, with rainbow, brown, and brook trout being extremely common catches.

For a successful outing, consider using lightweight spinning gear with a finesse approach or opt for the art of fly fishing. Tie on some dry flies or nymphs that mimic the local insect life, and be prepared for an exciting battle with these wily trout.

The east fork of the River is an outstanding spot for catch and release of the wild and stocked rainbows since it’s also a delayed harvest section that also has annual stockings and a range of general regulations to protect the natural resources of the area, including the fish.

2. Whitewater River

whitewater river Trout Fishing South Carolina

Flowing through the Jocassee Gorges of Oconee County, the Whitewater River or stream is very well known for its wild trout population. This amazing river offers a challenging fishing experience, with both wild rainbow trout and brown trout attracting anglers looking to target these wild fish.

To conquer this untamed beauty and haul in a trophy-sized trout, pack your lightweight spinning gear and arm yourself with spinners, small crankbaits, or your favorite live bait to float downstream. Cast your line into the deep pools and eddies, and hold on tight when these feisty trout strike.

3. Watauga River

Watauga River Trout Fishing South Carolina

Located in the Upstate region, the Watauga River is a favorite among fly fishermen. It holds an abundant population of various trout species for anglers of all skill levels to target. This wild and scenic river has diverse stretches that offer various fishing opportunities, including wading and drift boat fishing.

This scenic river is home to rainbow, brown, and brook trout, making it a dream destination for anglers seeking variety in their catch and release outing. Whether you prefer wading through the slightly more shallow areas or floating along in a drift boat, this river offers something for everyone.

Bring along your favorite fly rod and equip yourself with an array of nymphs, dry flies, and streamers to get the best results with the game fish here. Study the river’s currents and observe the insect activity of the season so you can match the hatch and tempt these beautiful trout into biting.

4. Lake Jocassee

Lake Jocassee Trout Fishing South Carolina

This stunning reservoir not only provides breathtaking views but also offers excellent trout fishing. Known for its trophy-sized trout, Lake Jocassee is a popular destination for both boat and bank fishing. Trolling and casting are also effective techniques here, and the stocked fish are very willing to strike.

For the best results, consider trolling the deeper areas with downriggers, using spoons or minnow-imitating artificial lures to entice the trout. You can also find a cozy spot along the shoreline and cast spinners or live bait, such as worms or fish eggs, to tempt these behemoth trout.

Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning scenery as you await the thrill of a big catch too, since this wild and scenic river offers good fishing and great photo opportunities.

5. Rocky Bottom Creek

Rocky Bottom Trout Fishing Creek South Carolina

Rocky Bottom Creek is a very relaxing trout fishing destination located within Table Rock State Park of the Palmetto State. This pristine creek flows through the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, offering you not only an opportunity to catch trout but also a chance to immerse themselves in breathtaking natural surroundings.

The creek is primarily stocked with rainbow trout, although there are some wild trout populations as well. You can try your luck with fly fishing, spin fishing, or using various bait and lure techniques downstream since they all do exceptionally well here.

Access to Rocky Bottom Creek can be found within Table Rock State Park, which provides ample parking and well-maintained trails that lead to prime fishing spots. The creek features a mix of gentle stretches and small cascades, providing a diverse range of fishing conditions for anglers to explore.

6. Lake Hartwell

Lake Hartwell Trout Fishing South Carolina

Lake Hartwell is a sprawling 56,000-acre reservoir located on the border of South Carolina and Georgia. It is formed by the Hartwell Dam, which spans the Savannah River and is one of the Southeast’s largest and most popular fishing lakes.

While this lake is primarily known for its excellent bass fishing, it also provides you with plenty of chances to catch trout. Rainbow trout are stocked in specific areas of the lake to enhance the fishing experience, although brown trout can also be found in smaller numbers and more restricted areas.

Trolling with downriggers or using planer boards downstream is a popular method for covering a larger area of this lake and quickly locating active fish. Casting and retrieving spoons, spinners, or soft plastic baits can also be effective, particularly around points, drop-offs, and submerged structures where trout may be hiding.

7. Saluda River

Saluda River Trout Fishing South Carolina

Flowing through the scenic Piedmont region, the Saluda River or stream offers a mix of stocked and wild trout along its length. You can enjoy fishing from the riverbanks or by boat, targeting rainbow and brown trout from each spot. Fly fishing and spinning techniques both yield good results and are my preferred method on the middle Saluda and lower Saluda access points.

Fly anglers can get some excellent results by presenting nymphs, a decent dry fly, or streamers to entice the trout along the middle Saluda, lower Saluda, or south bank area, while spin fishermen in the upper section can often achieve success by casting small spinners or spoons.

Take note of the river’s flow and structure, as trout and many other fish species tend to hold near submerged structures, fallen trees, and deep pools. The most fish that live in fast-moving rivers will seek out these more calm water areas for resting, sleeping, and spawning.

8. Lake Murray

Lake MUrray Trout Fishing South Carolina

While mostly known for its excellent bass fishing, Lake Murray also provides a chance to catch trout fish. This expansive 50,000-acre reservoir offers a unique angling experience, with trout providing exciting catching opportunities for boat and bank fishing.

Although stocked rainbow trout are the primary target, you can find various bass, crappie, catfish, and many other species here. Trolling with downriggers is an effective method to locate rainbows in deeper waters, while casting from the shoreline with small spoons or spinners can entice bites from cruising trout and most other species. 

Pay attention to areas with cooler temperatures, such as deep channels or inflows, since trout often congregate there in search of food. Take in the breathtaking views of the lake and relish the unexpected trout fishing adventures it has to offer.

9. Chauga River

Chauga River Trout Fishing South Carolina

Located in the northwestern part of the state, the Chauga River is an eye-catching destination for trout fishing. With its cold, clear waters, this river supports a healthy population of wild rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout, making it a favorite spot among anglers.

Fly fishing reigns supreme on the Chauga River, and you’ll find success by presenting a variety of nymphs, dry flies, and streamers to mimic the local insect life. But if fly angling isn’t your thing, artificial lures can land fish too. Explore the river’s pools, riffles, and pocket water, as each section holds a large number of fish in the slower-moving water pockets.

10. Eastatoe Creek

Eastatoe Creek Trout Fishing South Carolina

Nestled in the scenic Jocassee Gorges of South Carolina, the Eastatoe River or creek provides a serene setting for trout fishing. This clear mountain stream is home to rainbow and brown trout, and fly fishing is one of my absolute favorite methods to use in these public waters.

This mountain stream is perfect for wading into and has plenty of spots where you can practice your delicate presentation skills with a selection of nymphs and dry flies, or try float fishing and let it drift downstream as you look for a low-flow area to target.

Keep an eye out for areas on the Eastatoe River where trout and other fish species tend to congregate, such as side riffles and pools, and don’t be afraid to try new methods or bait options if fly fishing isn’t working for you. This public access area is a perfect spot for anglers to haul in some quality fish.

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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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