Close to South Carolina’s state capital of Columbia is one of the best fishing lakes in the country, Lake Murray. It’s a favorite destination for boating and fishing recreationalists alike, but there’s enough room for everyone. The lake is 50,000 acres, 41 miles long and 14 miles wide at its widest point, and has over 600 miles of shoreline.
Technically a reservoir, the lake was created to provide hydroelectric power to the Palmetto State. When the lake was finished in 1930 it was the world’s largest man-made reservoir. Today it’s the place to be for a fun day on the water. Recreational boaters are on the water almost every weekend, and several local and national tournaments are hosted here. Whether you’re a boater or angler, there’s plenty to do on Lake Murray.
If you don’t have a boat to fish Lake Murray, don’t worry. Most of the 600+ miles of shoreline are easy to access and you can fish from the shore. There are also several piers in public access areas such as state parks for families to fish. Or, hire a local Lake Murray fishing guide and get yourself closer to the action.
No matter how you’re fishing, your day will be filled with bent rods. Each spring, the lake is restocked with striped bass, which makes it one of the most desired fish in the area. Largemouth bass are another favorite, along with crappie, catfish, bluegill, bream, and sunfish. The best places to fish are near the 24 fish attractors that the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources have placed throughout the lake. Keep in mind that it’s recommended not to anchor over the fish attractors so that you don’t get entangled or damage the structure.
Striped bass is South Carolina’s official state fish. It can average between 20 and 36 inches long, and weigh as much as 60 pounds. They are a silver color with several dark horizontal lines running from head to tail. Some consider Lake Murray the best place to fish for striped bass in the state. In the cooler temperatures of late winter or early spring, anglers will slowly troll near the shallows, or cast live shiners towards the banks. During the summer (and warmer temperatures) you’ll want to fish the deeper parts of the lake, but it can be harder to get a bite. Start your striped bass fishing trip by first fishing for baitfish (shiners, bream, etc.) and then you can fish for the trophy sized striped bass of your dreams.
Another option for anglers fishing Lake Murray is ‘ol bucketmouth, or largemouth bass. Oftentimes if anglers are getting skunked on stripers they’ll move onto the largemouth. The largemouth bass is typically green in color with a lighter underside and dark splotches along their sides. They can weigh as much as 20 pounds, but a 5-10 pound bass is a great fish. Live bait is always an option when fishing for lunkers, but topwater plugs and swimbaits also work great. Whatever artificial lure you choose, make sure it has the same color of the largemouth bass food (shad), and fish near the structures that bass like to hide in. South Carolina regulations have anglers practicing catch-and-release with largemouth bass caught in Lake Murray, unless your catch is longer than 14 inches.
Other fish species available in Lake Murray include channel catfish, white catfish, bullhead catfish, crappie, white bass, white perch, bluegill, bream, and redear sunfish. Any day fishing Lake Murray is a good day in our books. Grab your crew and the gear, or hire a local fishing guide (they’ll have everything you need) and get ready for a day of bent rods!
Lake Murray is only a half hour drive from the state capital, Columbia. Drive west on Interstate-126 from Columbia, and you’ll reach the eastern shores of the lake. This is also where Lake Murray Public Park is located, one of the few places where public swimming is permitted. Anglers typically prefer the North Recreational Area as there is a boat ramp and fishing piers at this location. If you’re visiting from Columbia, these are the two easiest parks to access.
Actually there are several access points across the lake, including piers, marinas, and boat ramps. Or visit the several state parks that line the shore. Dreher Island State Park is another such area, located on the northside of the lake. The park stretches across three islands and has access to 12 miles of shoreline on Lake Murray. Several of the lake’s tournaments launch from this park.
If you don’t have a boat, state parks are the best option to fish the lake. Or hire a local Lake Murray guide. They will have the gear and know the best fishing spots. Your crew will fish for striped bass, crappie, largemouth bass, catfish, and more when you’re here. We can almost guarantee a day of bending rods, screaming drag, and memories in the making! Book your Lake Murray fishing adventure today!