The S.C. Department of Natural Resources Freshwater Fisheries Section is stocking 2.5 million Striped Bass in the Santee Cooper lakes of South Carolina. Approximately 73,000 fingerlings were stocked as of May 10th. This striped bass stocking of the Santee Cooper lakes should be completed by the first of June, 2006.
All of the striper fingerlings stocked in the Santee Cooper lakes were produced at the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau in Berkeley County. The Cheraw Fish Hatchery near Cheraw and the Campbell Cohen Fish Hatchery in West Columbia were utilized to raise the striped bass fry to fingerling size. These fish are stocked when they reach a size of 1-3 inches. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Orangeburg National Fish Hatchery and the Welaka National Fish Hatchery in Florida also produced fish for the system.
For information about the DNR's freshwater fish stocking program, call (803) 734-3886 in Columbia.
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.
Stripers are fast growing and long-lived and have reached weights of over 40 pounds. Maturity occurs at about two years of age for male stripers and at four years of age for females. They can reach a size of 10 to 12 inches the first year. There is no disputing the striper is a superstar among freshwater fishes. Live shad and eels are excellent baits for catching big stripers. Other popular baits include white or yellow bucktail jigs, spoons, deep running crankbaits and a spinner with plastic worm rig. Popping plugs are best when stripers are schooling at the surface.
Check the DNR Website for South Carolina freshwater fish regulations at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/regs/pdf/freshfishing.pdf