South Carolina Fishing Law

Welcome to the essential guide to South Carolina fishing law. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, understanding the fishing regulations, seasons, limits, and license requirements in South Carolina is crucial for a successful and responsible fishing experience. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to navigate the state’s fishing laws and ensure you have an enjoyable time on the water.

 South Carolina fishing - a man with a child fishing in a boat

Key Takeaways:

  • South Carolina has specific fishing regulations that anglers must adhere to.
  • Fishing seasons vary depending on the species and location.
  • There are limits on the number and size of fish you can catch.
  • Fishing licenses are required in South Carolina for both residents and non-residents.
  • It is important to familiarize yourself with the fishing laws to avoid penalties and contribute to the conservation of South Carolina’s fishery resources.

Fishing Regulations and Seasons in South Carolina

Anglers in South Carolina should be aware of the specific rules and guidelines established by the state’s fishing regulations. Compliance with South Carolina fishing law is crucial for the responsible and sustainable management of fish populations, contributing to the overall health of the state’s aquatic ecosystems.

Fish Species and Conservation

South Carolina is home to a diverse range of fish species that attract anglers from all over. However, it is crucial to know the specific regulations concerning each species to prevent overfishing and maintain healthy populations. Whether you’re targeting striped bass, trout, or blue catfish, it is important to stay informed about any size and bag limits, as well as any closures or protected areas.

Catch and Release

Practicing catch and release is an important part of responsible fishing in South Carolina. This practice helps to conserve fish populations and ensures that future generations can enjoy the thrill of reeling in a catch. While it is essential to handle fish properly for their safe release, familiarizing yourself with specific guidelines for different species can further promote successful catch and release efforts.

Fishing Restrictions in Designated Areas

South Carolina has designated areas where specific fishing restrictions may apply. These areas can include marine protected areas, fish spawning grounds, or habitat restoration zones. Anglers must be aware of and comply with any regulations set for these areas to preserve the delicate ecosystem and protect the fish populations that inhabit them.

State Waters vs. Federal Waters

In addition to state regulations, anglers should be aware of federal fishing laws when fishing in South Carolina. State waters typically extend three miles from the shoreline, while federal waters encompass areas beyond that boundary into the open ocean. Familiarizing yourself with the specific rules and restrictions for both state and federal waters is essential to ensure compliance with South Carolina fishing law and avoid unintentional violations.

Now that we have explored the fishing regulations and seasons in South Carolina, the next section will delve into the fishing license requirements for anglers in the state.

South Carolina Fishing - fish under water

Fishing License Requirements in South Carolina

When it comes to fishing in South Carolina, understanding the license requirements is essential. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) oversees fishing regulations in the state, ensuring the sustainability and conservation of fish populations across the region. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, obtaining the appropriate fishing license is crucial to enjoy the state’s abundant freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities.

Types of Licenses

South Carolina offers various fishing licenses to cater to different needs. These licenses include:

  • Freshwater Fishing License: This license allows anglers to fish in freshwater lakes, rivers, and ponds throughout the state.
  • Saltwater Fishing License: Anglers who wish to fish in South Carolina’s coastal waters and saltwater estuaries need to obtain a saltwater fishing license.
  • Coastal Recreational Fishing License: If you prefer fishing in the ocean or along the coast, a coastal recreational fishing license is required. This license covers both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
  • Hunting License Add-On: South Carolina residents who already possess a valid hunting license can add a fishing option for a discounted rate.

Requirements for South Carolina Residents

South Carolina residents have certain advantages when it comes to fishing license requirements. They can choose between purchasing an annual license, which is valid for one year from the date of purchase, or a 14-day license for shorter fishing trips. Additionally, residents have the option to obtain a combination license that covers both freshwater and saltwater fishing, providing more flexibility and access to a wider range of fishing opportunities.

License Considerations for Non-Residents

Non-residents visiting South Carolina for fishing purposes can purchase a temporary fishing license. These licenses are available for either freshwater or saltwater fishing and are valid for a specified duration, ranging from one day to a full year. It’s important to note that non-residents may have different license fees compared to South Carolina residents. Familiarizing yourself with the details of the temporary license and its associated regulations is essential to comply with South Carolina fishing law.

Popular Fishing Locations

South Carolina offers a wealth of fantastic fishing destinations, each with its own unique charm. Whether you’re heading to the coast or exploring inland waters, it’s essential to understand the fishing license requirements for your chosen location. Here are a few popular fishing spots in South Carolina:

LocationType of Fishing
Myrtle BeachSaltwater fishing
Lake HartwellFreshwater fishing
Horry CountyCoastal and freshwater fishing

Comparisons with Neighboring States

If you’re planning to fish in both South Carolina and neighboring North Carolina, it’s important to be aware of the license requirements in each state. While South Carolina’s fishing licenses are issued by the SCDNR, North Carolina’s fishing licenses are managed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Make sure to obtain the appropriate license for each state to ensure compliance with their respective regulations.


In conclusion, this article has provided a comprehensive guide to South Carolina fishing law. Anglers in the state need to be aware of the regulations, seasons, and license requirements to ensure a responsible and enjoyable fishing experience. By understanding and following the fishing laws, fishermen can contribute to the conservation and sustainability of South Carolina’s fish populations and their habitats.

Throughout the guide, we have discussed important factors such as fish species, state parks, and the role of agencies like the marine fisheries and wildlife service in managing South Carolina’s fishing resources. From the majestic striped bass to the elusive trout and the formidable blue catfish, there is a diverse range of fish to catch in South Carolina’s waters.

Whether you are planning to fish in one of the state parks or venture into the marine waters, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the South Carolina fishing law. By doing so, you can protect the natural beauty of the state’s waterways and contribute to the preservation of its fish populations for future generations to enjoy.


What are the fishing regulations in South Carolina?

Fishing in South Carolina is regulated by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. These regulations govern the size and quantity limits of certain fish species, as well as the designated seasons for fishing. It is important for anglers to be aware of these regulations and comply with them to protect the state’s fish populations.

What are the fishing seasons in South Carolina?

The fishing seasons in South Carolina vary depending on the species of fish and the water bodies. Some fish have specific open and closed seasons to protect their populations during spawning. It is essential for anglers to consult the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources or other reliable sources to stay updated on the fishing seasons for their desired fish species.

Are there any fishing limits in South Carolina?

Yes, South Carolina has fishing limits in place to protect fish populations and ensure sustainability. These limits specify the number and size of fish that anglers are allowed to keep. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific fishing limits for the species you are targeting before heading out to fish.

What are the fishing license requirements in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, both residents and non-residents are required to obtain a fishing license. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources issues different types of licenses, including freshwater fishing licenses, saltwater fishing licenses, and coastal recreational fishing licenses. Anglers may also need additional licenses, such as a hunting license, depending on their activities. It is important to check the specific license requirements and fees before fishing in South Carolina.

Do I need a fishing license if I am a resident of South Carolina?

Yes, even if you are a resident of South Carolina, you still need a valid fishing license to fish in the state’s waters. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources requires all anglers to have a fishing license, regardless of their residency status. Make sure to obtain the appropriate license before engaging in any fishing activities.

What are the fishing license requirements for non-residents in South Carolina?

Non-residents of South Carolina are also required to obtain a fishing license to fish in the state’s waters. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources offers different types of non-resident licenses to accommodate various fishing preferences, including freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses. Non-resident anglers should review the license options and fees available to them before fishing in South Carolina.

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