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5 Underrated Fly Fishing Spots in South Carolina

Written by Palmetto Bluff

Jun 1, 2022

Fly Fishing South Carolina: A Local’s Guide to the Best Spots

With its abundance of rivers, waterways, and streams, South Carolina is one of the best destinations for fly fishing in the Southeast. Not to mention, its mild weather throughout the year, makes it a great place to fish all year round. Whether you are an experienced angler or are new to the sport of fly fishing, the Palmetto State has some great spots to check out!

Continue reading to discover a local’s guide to the best rivers for fly fishing in South Carolina.

1. May River

    Spanning 15 miles and winding through Old Town Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, the May River is one of the most underrated fly fishing spots in all of South Carolina. The creeks and brackish waterways of the river are boarded by golden marshes and lush maritime forest. Many species of fish reside in the river, including redfish, speckled trout, black drum, flounder, and sheepshead. Some of our favorite fly fishing spots include Skull Creek and the Palmetto Bluff’s inland waterway system.

    In fact, another great aspect of the May River is its proximity to Palmetto Bluff. An upscale resort, the Montage Palmetto Bluff is set within a 20,000-acre community nestled along the May River. Here, you can enjoy convenient access to the best fly fishing spots, while also enjoying the resort’s state-of-the-art amenities, including an extensive nature preserve, a waterfront marina, and access to a Jack Niklaus signature golf course. Whether you choose to spend a week or just a couple of days visiting the Lowcountry, the May River in Palmetto Bluff is a must-visit fly fishing destination in South Carolina.

    2. Chattooga River

      Winding through South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia, the Chattooga River is the longest free flowing river in the Southeast. A whitewater river, the Chattooga features everything from statuous waterfalls to narrow streams as well as various other picturesque settings. In fact, the Chattooga River is infamous for being the filming location of the 1972 adventure movie Deliverance.

      Due to its abundance of brown and rainbow trout, the Chattooga River is one of the top fly fishing destinations in the state. Here, you can find a Delayed Harvest stream a couple miles off of Highway 28. Keep in mind that in South Carolina, Delayed Harvest runs from November 1 through May 14 each year. With the abundance of trout during this season, you can really hone your fly fishing skills without having to compete with bait fishermen. All in all, if you enjoy hiking and being fully immersed in nature, the Chattooga River is a must-visit fly fishing spot for you.

      3. Kiawah River

        Located along Kiawah Island and just a short drive from Charleston, the expansive Kiawah River is a picturesque fishing destination home to a variety of species of fish. Here, you can enjoy fly fishing while taking in the beauty of the surrounding golden marshes and seeing a variety of protected wildlife species.

        What’s more, the salt marshes bordering the river provide the opportunity for excellent shallow water sight fishing all year long. A fishing technique in which anglers first spot the fish in the water and then entice it to bite the lure by observing its behavior, sight-fishing is a challenging and engaging method of fly fishing. This technique is commonly used to target the abundant redfish and trout that call the river home. If you’re interested in embarking on a fly fishing charter with the guidance of experienced fishermen, contact the local Heron Park Nature Center for more information.

        4. Whitewater River

          A freestone river weaving through South Carolina and North Carolina, the Whitewater River is best known for its picturesque waterfalls and powerful rapids. The river is roughly 14 miles long and empties into Lake Jocassee. Since the Whitewater River is located in some of the most rural parts of the state, the natural scenery is truly a sight to behold.

          When it comes to fly fishing, the most abundant fish species in this river is wild trout. Many fishermen access the best fishing spots via the Overlook Trail off of Highway 281. Keep in mind that some hiking may be required to reach the best fishing spots. We also recommend planning a trip here in the springtime as it is the best time to fly fish in the Whitewater River.

          5. Lower Saluda River

            Streaming from Lake Murray and just a shore drive from Columbia, Lower Saluda River is a popular recreational destination. Here, locals and visitors alike enjoy boating, paddleboarding, whitewater rafting, and fishing.

            The cool temperatures that stem from the bottom of Lake Murray provide an excellent environment for trout. In fact, the river is abundantly stocked by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources with tens of thousands of brown and rainbow trout each year from November through April. What’s more, the Lower Saluda River also sees the largest migration of landlocked stripers on the eastern part of the state. This makes for an unbelievable fly fishing experience!

            Experience May River Fly Fishing at Palmetto Bluff

            Interested in casting your line into the tranquil waters of the May River in Bluffton, South Carolina? We invite you to visit Palmetto Bluff to experience the art of May River fly fishing for yourself. While you’re here, we would be happy to take you on a tour of our community as well as introduce you to the private Palmetto Bluff Club and its many amenities.

            Click the button to schedule your tour.