Nongame Device - Trotlines


Trotlines are two or more hooks attached to a line rigged horizontally. A trotline, cable, line or any other device used for support may not extend more than halfway across a stream or body of water. Stainless steel hooks are prohibited statewide. Trotlines must not be placed within 100 feet of the mouth of the tributary stream. No trotlines shall be placed within 200 yards of any permanent man-made structure on Lake Marion and Moultrie nor placed anywhere in the Diversion Canal connecting Lakes Marion and Moultrie, the Tailrace Canal nor the area known at the Borrow Pit (also called the Bar Pit) in Clarendon County. Hooks used in Lakes Marion and Moultrie ONLY must measure 7/16 inch or less between point and shank.

Photograph of Trotline

Where can the device be used:

Only allowed in designated areas.

License Requirements:

Additional tags and permits required:

A trotline tag is required. Nongame Fish Tag & Permit Application (Adobe - PDF)

Hours / Seasons:

Trotlines must be inspected and fish removed at least every 24 hours. From April 1 to October 1, no trotline is permitted in any waters from one hour after official sunrise to one hour before official sunset, unless the trotline is sunk to the bottom or a minimum depth of four feet below the surface. From October 2 to March 31, trotlines may be left in the water 24 hours per day at any depth.

Marking required:

Trotlines must be marked with a white floating marker on both ends with a minimum capacity of one quart and a maximum capacity of one gallon and must be made of solid, buoyant material which does not sink if punctured or cracked. The floating markers must be constructed of plastic, PVC Spongex, plastic foam or cork. No hollow buoys or floats including plastic, metal or glass bottles or jugs may be used except manufactured buoys or floats specifically designed for use with nongame fishing devices; these may be hollow if constructed of heavy duty plastic material and approved by the SCDNR. The owner's name and department customer identification number must be legible on each of the white floating marker. Both commercial and recreational fishermen shall comply with provisions of this title pertaining to the marking and use of a nongame fishing device. A trotline must be marked on both ends. A commercial trotline must be marked at intervals of every fifty hooks. A commercial trotline which uses fifty or fewer hooks must be marked at intervals of twenty-five hooks. A recreational trotline must be marked at intervals of every twenty-five hooks. Each interval float must be 'International Orange' in color.


No game fish (except bream, excluding redbreast, cut into two or more equal parts), live bait or any bait other than bait listed below shall be used with trotlines, set hooks and jugs: soap, doughballs, nongame fish or bream, excluding redbreast, cut into two or more equal parts, shrimp, grapes or meat scraps (which may not include insects, worms and other invertebrates). When using game fish as bait to catch fish recreationally they must be included in the daily creel limit.

Except for bait lost while fishing, it is unlawful to intentionally release any aquatic species, including bait, regardless of the stage of its life cycle, into the waters of this State without a permit from the SCDNR.

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