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

July 11, 2014

New barrier-free fishing pier completed at Lake Edwin Johnson near Spartanburg

A ribbon-cutting was held Friday, July 11 for a new barrier-free fishing pier built at Lake Edwin Johnson, which is part of Camp Croft State Park.

"A lot of people in the Upstate like to fish, and that's quality family time," said Dan Rankin, S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regional fisheries biologist. "Lake Edwin Johnson is a great bank-fishing area, and now there is this wonderful new fishing pier that is accessible to everyone, including mobility-impaired folks and people in wheelchairs. A good place to fish is especially important for folks who don't have a boat or don't have access to one of the big reservoirs like Hartwell or Murray."

Lake Edwin Johnson was the first S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) State Lake in the state lakes system, which currently includes 18 lakes in South Carolina. DNR leases the property from the S.C. Parks and Recreation Department (PRT) to manage the lake intensively as a high quality fishing lake, according to Rankin. The lake is located at the end of State Road 359 off of SC 295 between Spartanburg and Pacolet.
"This is a great partnership between sister state agencies DNR and PRT," Rankin said. Camp Croft Park also provides Lake Craig as another good fishing lake within the Croft Park boundaries, and DNR works with PRT to monitor the fish population in that lake.

Lake Edwin Johnson was recently renovated and restocked to restore the population balance, according to Rankin. DNR staff also installed gravel fish spawning beds and fish feeders to enhance the fishery. DNR continues to stock advanced size bream (redear sunfish and bluegill) to support the high fishing demand at Lake Johnson. Lake Johnson is limed and fertilized routinely throughout the summer months to enhance and boost the fish population.

Funding for the new fishing pier was provided by the Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation using the Spartanburg County Water Recreation Fund, which is derived from an excise tax on motorboat fuels and can only be used to enhance recreation on the state's waters. The cost of the pier was $27,500, and it was built by Henley's Construction Co. of Cheraw.

About 6,000 bream were stocked at Lake Edwin Johnson in October 2013. DNR used a specially equipped fish hauling truck to stock 4,500 bluegill and 1,500 redear sunfish (shellcracker). These larger-size fish, produced at Cheraw State Fish Hatchery, should have grown to a catchable size by now, according to Rankin, helped along by the new fish feeders placed in the lake last year. The new barrier-free fishing pier was built near the fish feeders, making for a perfect fishing spot.

Lake Edwin Johnson is a 40-acre fertilized lake providing largemouth bass, bluegill, shellcracker and catfish fishing opportunities.

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.

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