The SC Lakes are well stocked with everything from striped bass and largemouths to bream and crappies that attract anglers from all over South Carolina and North America. The huge blue catfish are justifiably famous. Many state and world records belong to the SC Lakes, including the title of the world's largest channel catfish.
It's quite possible to haul a boat out to the lakes and camp out at one of the more than 1,000 campsites along the lakeshores. Anglers coming to the SC Lakes during summer can choose to fish by day and/or night. Day-time fishing is always going to be more rewarding in terms of sheer numbers, but anglers who prefer to fish after dark tend to get the biggest catches. The down side is that it's hot and tiring by day while the night brings out the bugs in force.
The catfish bite all year long, and can be found at depths of 10 feet or less near shallow flats. Stripers return to the lakes in March, and bream can be found until July. Crappies can be found in shallow ponds until spring, and then they move into the depths for the rest of the year.
Bass fishing is among the most popular recreational activities on the SC Lakes. They hide out from Feb-June in shallow water grass, and then head out for the depths until October. Anglers who need help with any of this can hire professional guides with boats to take visitors to angle to the right place at exactly the right time.
Hiring a guide is also helpful in many other ways, including for acquiring a fishing license and making sure anglers do not flout state law and local regulations. Along with the boat, the guide should be able to supply food, drinks, gear and will likely clean the catch afterwards. They're all residents of Santee or other communities nearby, and can navigate blindfolded through the waterways.
They can take visitors to all the great fishing spots, and safely navigate through the waterways to provide a diverse experience that includes everything from the two lakes to the Diversion and Re-Diversion Canal, the Santee River and on to salt water catches in the ocean. However, each guide typically focuses on only one or two specific kinds of fish, so it's important to get hold of the right guide based on the visitor's own preference for angling.
Recreational visitors can always take a break from angling to enjoy some of the other pleasures of the region. Santee Cooper fishing guides are just as good at guiding visitors to the best seafood restaurants offering a large helping of Southern hospitality. Enjoy the magnificent golf courses and do some sightseeing. History buffs can visit the battlefields and museums, while nature lovers may find bird-watching and walking trails at the National Wildlife Refuge extremely refreshing.
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