2015 - 2016 Freshwater Game Fishing Regulations

Freshwater game fish are: Bream: bluegill, flier, green sunfish, pumpkinseed, redbreast, redear (shellcracker), spotted sunfish, warmouth; Black Bass: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, redeye bass (coosae bass); striped bass or rockfish; white bass; hybrid striped bass; white crappie; black crappie; Trout: rainbow, brown and brook; chain pickerel (jackfish); redfin pickerel; sauger, walleye and yellow perch.

Methods & Devices


No closed freshwater game fish season except in the following areas:

Selling and Importing

No freshwater game fish may be sold in this state except by a SCDNR permitted aquaculturist, a SCDNR wholesale aquaculture licensee, a SCDNR aquaculture game fish retail licensee or a private pond owner selling less than $2500 in product annually.

It is illegal to possess, import or sell any fish species that is not native to SC waters without a SCDNR permit.

Sterile grass carp may only be sold, purchased or possessed under a SCDNR permit.

Prohibited Practices

Game or nongame fish may not be taken by explosives, electrical devices, poison or similar means.

Except for bait lost while fishing and fish released back to waters where they were caught, 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 SCDNR.

Native freshwater mussels cannot be taken without a permit from SCDNR, except for Asian clams also known as Corbicula. Contact the Freshwater Fisheries Section at 803-734-3891 for a permit.

It is unlawful to take, harm, or kill grass carp from public waters. Any grass carp taken must be returned immediately to the water from which it was taken.

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'.