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** Archived Article - please check for current information. **

November 20, 2012

DNR stocks 16,000 redear sunfish in Savannah River

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) utilized a specially equipped fish hauling truck to stock nearly 16,000 redear sunfish advanced fingerlings at Fury's Landing on the Savannah River near the Edgefield/McCormick county line on Nov. 20. All of the fingerlings were produced at the Cheraw Fish Hatchery.

DNR has already stocked 88,000 fish in nearby locations on the Savannah and the final stocking will bring the total to around 104,000.

"This is what I live for," said Rep. Bill Hixon (R-D. 83) who was on hand for the stocking. "I love being outdoors and stocking fish like this is a great way for anglers to see a direct benefit from license sales."

The DNR Freshwater Fisheries Section annually stocks from seven to 10 million fish in state waters, including striped and hybrid bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass, channel and blue catfish, bluegill, redbreast, redear sunfish (shellcracker), and rainbow, brook, and brown trout. Anglers in South Carolina spend almost $742 million to fish each year, making the sport, with economic multipliers factored in, a billion dollar business in the Palmetto State.

Anglers nicknamed the redear sunfish "shellcracker" because they have teeth located in the throat area of the fish that are used to crush the shells of some of the redear’s favorite prey items—mussels and snails. Redear are often stocked in small farm ponds in combination with bluegill and largemouth bass. Shellcracker can be found in a variety of habitat types including ponds, lakes, reservoirs, swamps, streams and small rivers. They prefer slow moving, sluggish or non-flowing waters and are often found in or near areas of vegetation and over a mud or sand bottom.

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