Species Specific Statutes

American Eel Section 50-13-645

It is unlawful for a recreational fisherman to take more than fifty eels a day. Each eel must be at least six inches long.

Blue Catfish Section 50-13-640

It is unlawful to possess more than two blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) greater than thirty-two inches in length in any one day in Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie, or the upper reach of the Santee River, and the Congaree and Wateree Rivers. The daily possession limit for blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) is not more than twenty-five in Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie, and the upper reach of the Santee River. The department shall make a study of the blue catfish fishery on the Santee and Cooper River systems and make recommendations on any needed modifications of this section on or before January 2020. A person violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than three hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both.

Crappie Section 50-13-220

It is unlawful to possess crappie less than eight inches in total length.

Freshwater Mussels Section 50-13-510

It is unlawful to take freshwater mussels (Bivalvia) without a permit from the department. A person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one hundred nor more than five hundred dollars. Provided, Asian clams (Corbicula spp.) may be taken without permit.

Game Fish Daily Possession Limit Section 50-13-210

Except as otherwise provided, the daily possession limit for game fish is an aggregate of forty of which:

On Lakes Hartwell, Keowee, Russell, (including the Lake Hartwell tail water), Thurmond, Tugaloo, Yonah, the Chattooga and Savannah Rivers and Stevens Creek Reservoir the daily possession limit for black bass is an aggregate of ten.

Herring Section 50-13-2016

Herring fishing is prohibited within one hundred feet of the fish lift exit channel at St. Stephens Powerhouse.

Largemouth Bass Section 50-13-240

Non-native Fish & Grass Carp Section 50-13-1630

A person may not possess, sell, offer for sale, import, bring, or cause to be brought or imported into this State or release anywhere in this State the following species at any stage of its life cycle:

The department may issue special import permits to qualified persons for research and education only.

The department may issue permits for stocking sterile white amur or grass carp hybrids in the waters of this State. The permits must certify that the permittee's white amur or grass carp hybrids have been tested and determined to be sterile. The department may charge a fee of one dollar for each white amur or grass carp hybrid that measures five inches or longer or twenty-five cents for each white amur or grass carp hybrid that measures less than five inches. The fee collected for sterility testing must be retained by the department and used to offset the costs of the testing.

The department may issue permits for the importation, breeding, and possession of nonsterile white amur or grass carp hybrids. The permits must be issued pursuant to the provisions of the Aquaculture Enabling Act in Article 2, Chapter 18 of Title 50. Provided, however, that no white amur or grass carp hybrids imported, bred, or possessed pursuant to this subsection may be stocked in the waters of this State except as provided by those permitted by the department.

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.

The department shall prescribe the qualifications, methods, controls, and restrictions required of a person or his agent to whom a permit is issued. The department shall condition all permits issued under this section to safeguard public safety and welfare and prevent the introduction into the wild or release of nonnative species of fish or other organisms into the waters of this State. The department may promulgate regulations necessary to effectuate this section and specifically to prohibit additional species of fish from being imported, possessed, or sold in this State when the department determines the species of fish are potentially dangerous. A violation of the terms of the permit may result in revocation and a civil penalty of up to five thousand dollars. An appeal is pursuant to the provisions of Article 2, Chapter 23, Title 1 (the Administrative Procedures Act).

A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred nor more than two thousand five hundred dollars or imprisoned for thirty days, or both.

Saltwater Crabs Section 50-13-520

Except as allowed by the department, it is unlawful to take saltwater crabs in the freshwaters of this State.

Smallmouth Bass Section 50-13-250

It is unlawful to possess smallmouth bass less than twelve inches in total length, except on Lakes Hartwell, Russell (including the Lake Hartwell tail water), Thurmond, Tugaloo, Yonah, the Chattooga, and Savannah Rivers, and Steven Creek Reservoir where there is no length limit on smallmouth bass.

Striped Bass Section 50-13-230

In the following freshwater bodies: the Ashepoo River; Ashley River; Back River in Jasper County and the Back River in Berkeley County; Black River; Black Mingo Creek; Bull Creek and Little Bull Creek; Combahee River; Cooper River system; Coosawhatchie River; Cuckholds Creek; Edisto River; Horseshoe Creek; Lumber River; Lynches River; Great Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee Rivers; Pocotaligo River in Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton Counties; Salkehatchie and Little Salkehatchie Rivers; Sampit River; Santee River system except the lower reach of the Saluda River; Tulifinny River; Thoroughfare Creek; and Waccamaw River from June first to September thirtieth, it is unlawful to take, attempt to take, or to possess striped bass. Striped bass taken must be returned immediately to the waters from where it came.

On the lower reach of the Saluda River from June first to September thirtieth, it is unlawful to take or possess striped bass. Striped bass taken must be returned immediately to the waters from where it came.

In the following freshwater bodies: the Ashepoo River; Ashley River; Back River in Jasper County and the Back River in Berkeley County; Black River; Black Mingo Creek; Bull Creek and Little Bull Creek; Combahee River; Cooper River system; Coosawhatchie River; Cuckholds Creek; Edisto River; Horseshoe Creek; Lumber River; Lynches River; Great Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee Rivers; Pocotaligo River in Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton Counties; Salkehatchie and Little Salkehatchie Rivers; Sampit River; Santee River system; Tulifinny River; Thoroughfare Creek; and Waccamaw River from October first through May thirty-first, it is unlawful to take or possess more than three striped bass a day.

In the following freshwater bodies: the Ashepoo River; Ashley River; Back River in Jasper County and the Back River in Berkeley County; Black River; Black Mingo Creek; Bull Creek and Little Bull Creek; Combahee River; Cooper River system; Coosawhatchie River; Cuckholds Creek; Edisto River; Horseshoe Creek; Lumber River; Lynches River; Great Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee Rivers; Pocotaligo River in Beaufort, Jasper, and Hampton Counties; Salkehatchie and Little Salkehatchie Rivers; Sampit River; Santee River system; Tulifinny River; Thoroughfare Creek; and Waccamaw River from October first through May thirty-first, it is unlawful to take or possess a striped bass less than twenty-six inches in total length.

On Lake Murray and the middle reach of the Saluda River it is unlawful to possess more than five striped bass a day. From June 1st through September 30th, it is unlawful to take, attempt to take, or possess more than five striped bass a day. On Lake Murray and the middle reach of the Saluda River from October first through May 31st, it is unlawful to possess a striped bass less than twenty-one inches in total length. From June first to September thirtieth there is no minimum length.

On Lakes Hartwell and Thurmond it is unlawful to possess more than ten striped bass or hybrid bass or a combination of those a day and only three may be over twenty-six inches in total length.

On Lake Richard B. Russell and the Lake Hartwell tailwater it is unlawful to possess more than two striped bass or hybrid bass or a combination of those a day, and only one may be over thirtyfour inches total length.

On the lower reach of the Savannah River it is unlawful to possess more than two striped bass, hybrid bass, white bass, or a combination of these. Any of these fish taken from the lower reach of the Savannah River must be at least twenty-seven inches in total length.

It is unlawful to land striped bass unless the head and tail fin are intact.

The department shall establish the daily possession and size limits for striped bass on all other waters of this State, provided, limits must not be set by emergency regulation.

The department shall make a study of the striped bass fishery on the Santee and Cooper River systems and make recommendations on any needed modifications of this section before January, 2015.

Trout - Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout

It is unlawful to take trout by snagging. Section 50-13-80

In order to establish a 'catch and release' fishery for trout it is unlawful to possess, take, and retain trout from November first of each year through May fourteenth of the following year inclusive on the following waters:

On Lake Jocassee it is unlawful to possess more than three trout. It is unlawful to possess trout less than fifteen inches in total length or possess more than one trout greater than twenty inches in total length. Provided, from June first through September thirtieth, there is no length limit but it is unlawful to take, attempt to take, or possess more than three trout. Section 50-13-271

On the lower reach of the Saluda River, only one trout out of the five possessed may be more than 16 inches in total length. Section 50-13-210

The department may promulgate regulations for the protection and management of the trout fishery. Section 50-13-272