5 Best Winter Fishing Holes in Lake Hartwell Country

Please plan ahead for all fishing trips into the South Carolina backcountry. The terrain is rugged, the rivers are wild, and the weather can change quickly. However, the experience can be that of a lifetime. Fishing experiences are always best when you are safe and catch fish, so consider a guide for fishing trip. For more information on accommodations, restaurants, and other outdoor activities, see www.crownofthecarolinas.org or call 864-646-3782 for more information.  

Chattooga River and Chauga River Guide: Chattooga River Fly Shop: Book at: http://www.chattoogariverflyshop.com

Eastatoee River: Southern Appalachian Outdoors: Book at: http://www.southernappalachianoutdoors.com  

Visit mountaininspired.com to purchase the Crown of the Carolinas video

Burrell’s Ford

Located deep in the heart of the South Carolina Mountains, surrounded by thousands of acres of Sumter National Forest, a trip to Burrell’s Ford on the Wild and Scenic Chattooga River is a trip back in time.  With easy river access, extensive trails, and native trout holes accessible via short hike, this section of the Chattooga is an angler’s dream.  A few minute’s hike affords you complete serenity, and uncontested fishing or relaxing.   Cast a line near the bridge for stocked trout, or hike to the Ellicott Rock Wilderness Area to try your hand at fishing for wild Brown trout.  Easily accessible via SC 107, Burrell’s Ford campground is open year-round with no charge.  A pit toilet and picnic tables are available.  Walk a mere .25 miles from the road to camp on the Chattooga River.  More campground information at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/scnfs/recarea/?recid=47065

Highway 28 Bridge north to Reed Creek: Chattooga

DELAYED HARVEST! Enough said!This section of the spectacular Wild and Scenic Chattooga River is heavily stocked for Delayed Harvest, in effect from November 1-May 14.  Easily accessible by driving north from Mountain Rest, where Highway 28 crosses from SC to GA. Please prepare to catch fish, and to follow all Delayed Harvest and other DNR rules found here: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/regulations.html

Cassidy Bridge Access: Chauga River

More Delayed Harvest! The Chauga is the smaller, slightly tamer cousin of the Wild and Scenic Chattooga, but is no less beautiful, and is a hatchery supported stream where trout hide in deep pools.  At the Cassidy Bridge Access hike upstream to remain in the Delayed Harvest area.

Side Trip: Hell Hole Road Access: Chauga River: Though it has hell in its name, this is fishing heaven.  USFS Road 738, aka HellHole Road, give you access to the upper portion of delayed harvest on the Chauga.  Not as accessible as Cassidy Bridge Access, directions are found here at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/fish/pdf/TroutBook.pdf.  As with all backcountry fishing, use caution, come prepared, and let someone know where you are fishing.

Long Bottom Ford: Chattooga River

Located a few miles above the beautiful Mountain Rest area, Long Bottom Ford is easily accessible off Low Water Bridge Rd., and provides a beautiful scenic mountain fishing experience.  There are good float fishing opportunities for experienced anglers from Long Bottom Ford downstream to Earle’s Ford Road Access.  More information at: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/fish/pdf/TroutBook.pdf

Eastatoee Creek Heritage Preserve: Eastatoee River

Featuring fast pocket water and deep pools set in a rugged, hemlock lined gorge, fishing here is for experienced anglers looking for a breathtaking challenge.  The beauty of the Eastatooe and the Jocassee Gorges is incredible, and the fishing is very rewarding.  Be prepared for a hike, as access is through the Heritage Preserve followed by a 2.3 mile strenuous hike.  It is well worth the effort, however, as anglers will be rewarded with an undisturbed fishing experience for wild rainbow trout.  More Access information at : http://www.dnr.sc.gov/fish/pdf/TroutBook.pdf


Chattooga:  Located in Oconee County, SC, the Chattooga River is South Carolina’s best known trout stream.  The Chattooga is one of the longest, largest free flowing rivers in the Southeastern US.  Designated a Wild and Scenic River, it was voted by Trout Unlimited members as a top 100 trout stream in the US.  A draw to amateur and professional anglers alike, the Chattooga offers everything from rushing narrows with deep pools to wide, easily accessible float areas. 

Chauga: Located in Oconee County, SC, the Chauga River is a clear, crisp Blue Ridge mountain river that offers peaceful angling in a gorgeous mountain setting.  Its proximity to the Chattooga is another plus, as anglers can hit both rivers in a weekend fishing trip.  The Chauga is also fed by a number of tributaries with wild and stocked trout.  Public access tributaries with brown trout are Stakey Creek, Bone Camp and Cedar Creek.  These streams are stocked routinely with Browns.  Please note that some tributaries are on private land, and should not be fished.  Keep apprised of all DNR and USFS regulations, at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/regulations.html and https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/scnfs/recarea/?recid=47103

Eastatoee: Located in Pickens County, SC, the Eastatoee River is located in the Eastatoee Creek Heritage Preserve, amidst the world-renowned Jocassee Gorges.  Famous for extreme plant diversity and wild rainbow trout, this river is a draw to experienced anglers and backcountry enthusiasts.  There are tributary streams that provide good fishing opportunities as well.  Maps and regulations at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/regulations.html and http://www.dnr.sc.gov/fish/pdf/TroutBook.pdf.

South Carolina DNR stocks more than a half-million million trout in South Carolina waters each year. All of South Carolina's trout are produced at Walhalla State Fish Hatchery in northern Oconee County.