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December 4, 2008

Lake Jocassee trout stocking to close Devils Fork remote ramps

Devils Fork State Park will again temporarily close the two remote day-use boat ramps this winter in conjunction with trout stocking efforts on Lake Jocassee.

In cooperation with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR), these remote boat ramps will be closed to public access once fish stocking efforts begin in November or early December. From the time fish stocking begins in November through Dec. 31, both the Roundhouse Point and Devils Fork boat ramps within Devils Fork State Park will be closed until Jan. 31, 2009.

Rainbow and brown trout survive and grow well in the cold deep waters of Lake Jocassee, but they cannot successfully spawn in the lake. The DNR annually releases trout raised at the Walhalla State Fish Hatchery into Lake Jocassee to maintain the popular fishery. Due to trout requiring colder temperatures for their survival, the best months for the restocking of trout varies from November through early December, when water surface temperatures reach about 65 degrees.

To help ensure greater survival rates for newly released trout, Devils Fork will restrict access to the remote day use boat ramp locations. By not fishing for the new populations of sub-legal size trout that have been released, the trout populations will have more time to become acclimated to the lake environment and disperse. State Parks and DNR hope to reduce the mortality rate of the newly released sub-legal trout by eliminating the stress of being caught and released.

'We hope that everyone will understand and cooperate with our efforts to improve the population of trout found within Lake Jocassee," said Jim Stanton, assistant park manager at Devils Fork State Park. "Your commitment to stewardship will hopefully translate into healthier numbers of trout in Lake Jocassee in coming years."

The boat ramps located at the Devils Fork State Park’s main boat ramp and parking area will remain open during this time for all boat traffic and guests to Lake Jocassee. If you have any questions pertaining to activities and/or access within Devils Fork State Park, contact the Devils Fork State Park office at (864) 944-2639 for more information.

South Carolina’s trout fishery generates more than $9 million annually for the state’s economy in direct retail sales, with a total economic output of more than $18 million, according to a study on the economic benefits of freshwater fishing in South Carolina. The effects of trout fishing can be felt in many segments of Upstate and Midlands communities, from motels and restaurants to gas stations, local bait and tackle shops and sporting goods stores.

The South Carolina DNR stocks more than 400,000 trout into public waters in the state’s Upcountry each year. The trout are stocked in more than 50 cold-water rivers and streams in Greenville, Pickens and Oconee counties, in Lake Jocassee, and in the cool tailwaters below the Lake Hartwell and Lake Murray dams. Anglers can keep up with a weekly trout stocking summary.

DNR protects and manages South Carolina’s natural resources by making wise and balanced decisions for the benefit of the state’s natural resources and its people.


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