SCDNR, Duke Energy partner to enhance fish habitat on Lake Wateree
July 24, 2023
Media contact: Stephen Fastenau, Office of Media and Outreach, 803-240-4385 or FastenauS@dnr.sc.gov.
A major project by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and Duke Energy will improve fish habitat and help anglers catch more prized game species on Lake Wateree.
As Duke Energy works to upgrade a section of the Wateree Hydroelectric Facility Spillway, 5,200 tons of concrete and other construction materials removed from the spillway will be used to create four new artificial fish attractor sites throughout the lake at the direction of SCDNR fisheries biologists. Two existing fish attractor sites will also be upgraded.
“As South Carolina's inland reservoirs have aged, their fish habitat has degraded with the break-down of much of the woody materials left in place as they filled with water,” said Ross Self, chief of freshwater fisheries for SCDNR. “The work going on in Lake Wateree is an example of reservoir fish habitat enhancement underway all across the state, working to improve conditions for fish populations. SCDNR staff is very pleased to be engaged with these efforts.”
Using a floating barge and backhoe, the concrete will be placed at the various sites as the spillway section is dismantled. The fish habitat enhancement project is expected to continue through August.
The fish attractors are being placed at depths from 30 to 70 feet. The artificial habitats will help provide cover for black crappie and catfish and concentrate those fish populations for anglers’ enjoyment.
In addition to black crappie and catfish, largemouth bass and striped bass are other sport fish with populations in the lake that will benefit from the additional fish attractors.
Lake Wateree is a 13,025-acre reservoir in Fairfield, Kershaw and Lancaster counties. SCDNR manages the lake for recreational fishing and maintains a total of 17 fish attractor sites in the lake.