Fishing on Santee Cooper: What You Need to Know

Studying Time: 9 minutes

The Santee Cooper lake system consists of not one, however two lakes, together with South Carolina’s “Inland Sea” and the state’s third-largest lake. So it’s no shock that fishing on Santee Cooper is among the many finest within the state.

From the Wateree River, throughout the flats of Lake Marion, to the open waters of Lake Moultrie and past, the fishing is outstanding. That’s why it’s the number-one cease for freshwater anglers within the “Palmetto State.”

Whereas taking within the world-class fishery, you’ll additionally get to take pleasure in beautiful views. Lake Marion is a drowned forest with bushes nonetheless peeking out from the water. This provides an actual sense of thriller when fishing, particularly at daybreak or nightfall. And the added bonus? The roots are stuffed with vitamins that appeal to a spread of thrilling fish.

The lakes’ shores are totally outfitted for tourism, too. Come alongside year-round and there’s loads to maintain the entire household entertained. Discover the Congaree Nationwide Park, Santee State Park, or any particular wildlife areas, and also you’re in for a deal with! 

What can I catch whereas fishing on Santee Cooper?

Whether or not you’re a newbie or a professional, there’s at all times one thing for you in Lakes Marion and Moultrie. In truth, on the identical journey, you may goal that trophy catch and assist the children reel of their first-ever fish. With such enjoyable for the entire household, it’s simple to see why these waters are so famed! 


One fish reigns supreme within the Santee Cooper lakes, and that’s Catfish. Each lakes maintain a year-round inhabitants of Blue, Flathead, White, and Channel Catfish. That’s why catfishing right here is usually ranked among the many finest within the nation. 

Hit up the deep waters of Lake Marion or Moultrie in summer season, and you may count on loads of 20-pounders. When you’re fortunate, you might even write your title into the historical past books and land a 40 lb monster. Does that sound like wishful pondering? Nicely, the world’s largest Channel Catfish was caught right here manner again in 1964. We expect it’s about time somebody broke the document!


The catfishing right here is so good, in truth, that Santee Cooper Bass fishing usually will get missed. However don’t you miss out on the unbelievable fishing on provide!

The native Striper inhabitants fell sufferer to over-fishing within the mid and late twentieth century, however they’re now closely protected with strict seasons. You gained’t be capable of fish for any of those beauties in the summertime months. Nonetheless, that simply means you’ll be itching to go when spawning season kicks in. Are available spring or when the autumn run takes place, and get your arms on these beasts.

One other forgotten gem of those lakes is Largemouth Bass. This is without doubt one of the nation’s favourite freshwater fish, and the lakes have loads of these unhealthy boys on provide. Lake Marion is residence to the state-record Largemouth Bass, so that you’ll have the prospect to go for a trophy-sized catch. In the meantime, you may goal them year-round in Lake Moultrie too. 


We advised you that there was one thing for the entire household when fishing in Santee Cooper, and Crappie simply proves that.

The lakes boast a wholesome variety of Black and White Crappie, and so they’re one other fish that you could goal year-round. Rising to larger-than-usual sizes, you’ll must be sure to’ve received a dish sufficiently big to prepare dinner up this common “Panfish” on the finish of the day.

These small, scrumptious fish are the quintessential first catch for any angler. Familiarize yourself with a rod and reel as you forged for them. And you may take as much as 20 of those beauties residence with you, too. Come and fill your cooler with these scrumptious creatures!

Fish on Santee Cooper

With loads of vacation hotspots providing the prospect so that you can go fishing, it’s very important that you realize all the small print earlier than embarking in your journey. Learn on to learn the way we expect you will get essentially the most out of those waters. 

With a Chartered Information

Whether or not by yourself or in a bunch, a constitution is often considered the easiest way to go fishing. With an expert information, you’ll get to the candy spots with ease, and will even attain some secluded spots that no one else is aware of about. On board, you’ll discover all of the gear you want, together with bait or lures. So in the event you’re coming from out of city, you gained’t must convey something your self.

When fishing on Santee Cooper, you’ll need a boat to get to the best fishing grounds. Because the underwater forest makes for a thriving ecosystem, you don’t wish to miss out on all of the enjoyable. Head to the guts of the lakes and fish the deep waters the place the Stripers go in winter, the Largemouth disguise in summer season, and the Catfish like to feed year-round. 

Aboard Your Personal Boat

When you’re a eager boater, then there’s nothing stopping you from renting a ship or bringing your personal vessel. Benefit from the freedom of exploring the lake at your personal leisure, as you’re taking the day at your personal pace. Spend as lengthy or as little as you’d like on the water, and attempt to fill the boat with some scrumptious fish.

Remember, although, the underwater bushes and stumps could make for hazardous boating situations. First-timers ought to be careful for some sudden bumps alongside the best way. Don’t simply take our phrase for it, hearken to the recommendation of Santee Cooper electrical and water firm earlier than you exit by yourself. 

On Foot or From Shore

(Flickr, Allan Ferguson, CC BY 2.0)

When most individuals consider fishing, they think about sitting by the facet of the lake with somebody shut and stress-free as they forged away. Fishing from shore provides you precisely that chance. Deliver a chair and cooler, alongside together with your finest pal, and chill with a day of fishing.

Nonetheless, as the largest prizes in Santee Cooper are additional out in the course of the lakes, fishing from shore will not be a well-liked alternative round right here. When you do fancy going out on foot, your finest wager is to hit the canal between the 2 lakes. Are available spring for the Striper chunk, or goal Largemouth Bass within the shallows in Spring. 

The place to Go Fishing on Santee Cooper

Whereas there’s probably not a fallacious place to go, these greater than 160,000 acres of water have quite a bit to supply and we wish to be sure to profit from it. The place’s finest to forged your line? The place’s finest for households? Learn on and discover out a number of the lakes’ high secrets and techniques.

Lake Marion

Santee State Park

(Flickr, DaveyBorden, CC BY-ND 2.0)

The synonymous state park that engulfs South Carolina’s “inland sea” is really a factor of magnificence. Base your self out of Santee itself and you may get pleasure from something from a tenting journey to a deluxe vacation. All the pieces right here is constructed for tourism, so make the most of a number of the most interesting hospitality on provide in Santee Cooper.

Get out on the water and hunt the swampy bottoms and backcountry the place monster Catfish and Bass like to feed. Or, keep onshore and hit up the Santee-Cooper Nation Membership for a spherical of golf, or simply take within the wonders of the inexperienced forest towards the distinction of the azure lake. 


Working as a retreat for plantation homeowners in its early days, Summerton continues to be a spot for rest. This sleepy city is a good base for all of your trip wants. In relation to fishing, you’re near a few of Lake Marion’s finest fishing grounds. Discover the flooded cypress forest which is a haven for all types of fish year-round. 

Based mostly simply 8 miles from the northern lake’s shores, Summerton not solely provides you the prospect to get out onto the water, nevertheless it’s additionally far sufficient away so that you can have interaction in different sports activities. Tenting is common for households, with loads opting to go looking or for a spherical of golf. No matter you select, there’s loads so that you can profit from your vacation. 

Lake Moultrie

When you’re searching for a extra conventional lake fishing expertise, then Lake Moultrie’s open waters are simply what you need. The smaller lake nonetheless provides some swampy spots, however the waters get deeper faster. Goal the identical fish with out worrying about bumping into the bushes beneath you.


The tiny village of Cross might appear to be an odd location to incorporate on our record, nevertheless it’s a hotspot for boaters as a result of its public ramp. Anglers trying to discover north Lake Moultrie and the canal might be hard-pressed to discover a higher spot.

Hit the canal that joins the lakes for Stripers in Spring, or discover the quite a few ditches out within the coronary heart of the lake year-round for Bass and Crappie.


The city of Pinopolis is positioned on a peninsula on Lake Moultrie. A well-liked spot for locals employed by the close by Santee-Cooper electrical and water firm, it’s arguably the most effective beginning factors for fishing on Lake Moultrie.

Indulge within the beautiful environment of the towering pine bushes across the lake, or head out onto the guts of the lake and get your fill of Catfish, Bass, and scrumptious Panfish. 

When you occur to be in Charleston, then Pinopolis is your finest wager of getting out on Santee Cooper, too. Simply 36 miles from the town, it’s an ideal place so that you can escape the hustle and bustle and get again to nature.

Santee Cooper Fishing Seasons

With South Carolina’s subtropical local weather, there’s by no means a nasty time to come back fishing on Santee Cooper. Everytime you go to, you’re in for an exciting day of fishing, with loads of fish biting on the finish of your line.

Certainly, whereas not a hub for fishing tournaments, the lake does play host to common touring occasions. These can vary from Striper looking in spring, to catfishing in winter. Control FLW Fishing and Bassmaster’s schedules, and you might be in with a shot of fishing with the professionals. 

The one factor you ought to be conscious of is the closed Striped Bass season. It’s forbidden to focus on these beauties from June 1 by September 30. However don’t fear, there’s loads extra motion all through the summer season, with loads of actions on provide across the lakes, too. Discover all the newest bag limits right here.

Everybody over the age of 16 may even want a South Carolina fishing license earlier than going fishing on Santee Cooper. These differ for residents and non-residents, with reductions for navy personnel, too. Discover out which one you want and seize yours on-line right here. 

Why Santee Cooper?

Nonetheless haven’t made up your thoughts about going fishing on Santee Cooper? Let’s simply recap why Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie are the locations to be in the event you’re searching for a freshwater fishing journey in South Carolina.

  • Monster Catfish: These bottom-dwelling creatures are a delight to focus on wherever you might be, however right here they develop to unbelievable sizes. Don’t neglect that the world-record Channel Catfish got here from Lake Marion.
  • Freshwater Striped Bass: Make the most of the uncommon probability to go after some tough-fighting Stripers which have by no means even tasted saltwater. You merely gained’t discover such a possibility elsewhere!
  • The underwater forest: We’ve talked loads concerning the vitamins of this lake, however the flooded forest provides extra than simply nice fishing. Marvel at the great thing about the bushes protruding of the water on Lake Marion, as you go fishing like by no means earlier than.
  • Enjoyable for the entire household: When you goal monster Catfish or Bass, the children can land their first Panfish. Don’t miss out on the entire host of actions across the lake, with heat climate year-round!

No matter you’re searching for out of your freshwater fishing journey, Santee Cooper has it – and extra! The distant lakes are surrounded by beautiful surroundings, providing you with the right getaway. What extra might you need out of your fishing journey?

Have you ever ever gone fishing on Santee Cooper? Drop us a line within the feedback and tell us the way it went. We’d love to listen to from you! 

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