Clemson, SC Fishing: Seek Adventures in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Clemson lies at the Blue Ridge Mountains foothills and along Lake Hartwell's coasts.

Clemson, SC Fishing: Seek Adventures in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Clemson, SC Fishing: Seek Adventures in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Team Guidesly

December 6, 2022, 7 min read

Updated on December 1, 2022

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Clemson is part of Pickens and Anderson counties in South Carolina, United States, and is home to Clemson University. The Clemson area was initially named Calhoun. Clemson University, founded in 1889, has evolved as a large public university that dominates Clemson and serves as the area's cultural center. The location was renamed Clemson in 1943, mirroring its identification with the university. Clemson is the most accurate embodiment of a college town. Clemson is more of a historic area in the Pickens and Anderson counties. Clemson University bears so much historical value, and each building and site on campus has its remarkable backstory. Bowman Hill and Tillman Hall are some of the historical places in the university. 

Aside from its rich history, promoting agritourism in the Clemson area is important to local businesses. They also held events to help support our local industries and provide visitors with joy and a unique experience. 

Clemson lies at the Blue Ridge Mountains foothills and along Lake Hartwell's coasts. Lake Keowee and Lake Hartwell are two of Clemson's most loved lakes that locals and visitors appreciate spending a day.

Clemson Fishing

boat, fishing in Lake Keowee

Sitting on Lake Hartwell's shores, Clemson provides one of the best fishing havens for anglers. Lake Hartwell is Clemson's southern wonder. It is one of the southeast's most prominent and favored recreational destinations. Lake Hartwell connects Georgia and South Carolina with coursing water from the rivers Savannah, Tugaloo, and Seneca to make the 75,000-acre land and water Hartwell Dam Project. The lake is easily accessible, with about forty public access points in Clemson. Anglers who wish to set up a camp are easily accommodated, with many campgrounds situated along the lake's shoreline. Lake Hartwell State Park is a famous destination for camping and lake visitors. It has 115 paved campsites and entry to the lake for boating, swimming, and fishing. The park also includes walking trails and two courtesy docks for guest use. The lake is home to various fish species, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, striped bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish, and it is open to bank fishing, fly fishing, and drift fishing. Lake Hartwell is the host of the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.

Lake Keowee's 300 miles of shoreline and deep waters make it an ideal destination for anglers and water sports enthusiasts. The available public accesses and accommodations create an alluring and welcoming atmosphere. Lake Keowee receives rushing water from the Little River and the Keowee River, bringing an influx of fishing opportunities. Fishing areas are bountiful and are accessible through Keowee Toxaway State Park. The lake is also perfect for boating and water sports. Water activities such as water skiing, wakeboarding, and kayaking can all be found at Lake Keowee, with rental equipment available year-round. Keowee Toxaway State Park has access areas for kayaking or paddleboarding, and anglers can find designated boat ramps nearby. Bass like smallmouth bass, catfish, bluegill, and common carp are some of the fish that anglers can hook in the lake.

The Savannah River is prominent in the southeastern United States, comprising most of the boundary between South Carolina and Georgia. The river flows through a variety of environments and ecosystems during its course. The weather is relatively temperate at its headwaters in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The river system keeps many native and introduced fish species and is separated into three sections. The upper section supports fish species like yellow perch, brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie, striped bass, hybrid striped bass, white bass, bluegill, and catfish. Meanwhile, the middle segment of the river system is home to bass, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, catfish, American eel, shortnose sturgeon, chain pickerel, bowfin, longnose gar, snapping turtles, American alligator, and a water moccasin. Savannah River's lower estuary is where anglers can catch fish and aquatic species like bass, crappie, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, catfish, American eel, shortnose sturgeon, Atlantic sturgeon, chain pickerel, bowfin, longnose gar, snapping turtles, American alligator, snakes, red drum, flounder, spotted seatrout, bull shark, tarpon, common bottlenose dolphin, West Indian manatee, and diamondback terrapin.

Up on the northern side of Clemson in Devils Fork State Park, near Brevard, sits Lake Jocassee, known for the clean and cold Appalachian mountain rivers that stream into it. The lake was created in 1973 by South Carolina in collaboration with Duke Power. The lake is famous for its stocked trout from various hatcheries. People who hike, hunt, fish, or watch nature in the lake benefit from the fish stocking and law enforcement of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources WMA. Bass, trout, sunfish, and catfish are some of the fish species in the lake system.

Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers are two river systems that form the Savannah River. The Tugaloo River, originally Tugalo, sits within the Georgia-South Carolina border. Bass, catfish, chain pickerel, black crappie, and pumpkinseed are the fish species in the river. Meanwhile, the Seneca River is formed by the conjunction of the Keowee River and Twelvemile Creek in the northwestern part of South Carolina, downstream from Lake Keowee near Clemson. Bass and catfish fishing is relatively abundant in the area.


Top 10 Fish Species in Clemson, SC

The top 10 fish species found in Clemson, SC, are largemouth bass, spotted bass, striped bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish, blue catfish, bluegill, white crappie, black crappie, and warmouth.

Seasonal Fishing

South Carolina is a location where anglers can enjoy fishing year-round. However, the availability of the fish you want to catch varies. April until  September is the best time to target fish species such as bass and catfish. During their spawning period, anglers regard March and April as prime periods for South Carolina black and white crappie fishing. Early summer and spring are the best times to hook bluegill. These seasons are also the time their breeding activity takes place. Warmouth begins breeding in late spring through the summer months, making it the best time to capture them.

Things to Do in Clemson

Nature lovers will enjoy the beautiful sceneries and best places the Clemson area offers. Clemson has a reputation for being one of the most hospitable places. In Clemson, adventures and recreations await you in every season. 

1. Book a Fishing Charter

Chartered fishing trips are a perfect way to enjoy a day on the water on a quality fishing vessel, quickly allowing anglers to fish in many different angling locations. A charter guide isn't only there to help you catch fish; it's also to enlighten anglers about nature conservation and the laws which govern fishing and boating to continue to enjoy the sport for generations to come. Matt Dorsey Fly Fishing, Carter's Charters, Pole Bending Charter Service, and Andrew Tubbs Guide Service are the best charters in the Clemson area. South Carolina has various kinds of alliances, like striped bass fishing charters. These charters offer different fishing tours and can take you fly fishing for red drum or experience crappie fishing trips.

2. Visit Three Gorgeous Falls

The Clemson area is full of stunning waterfalls. Travelers can visit three gorgeous falls that are 10 minutes away from Downtown Clemson. Waldrop Stone Falls is undoubtedly worth visiting, with a trailhead only minutes away from Tiger Boulevard in Clemson. Another must-visit is Todd Creek Falls. A short hiking trail in Todd Creek Falls leads visitors to 2 jaw-dropping beauties, a swimming hole, and a historic dam. Out of all of the hidden sanctuaries of Clemson, the Falls at Todd Creek Tributary is the best-kept secret of them all. The Falls at Todd Creek Tributary's .3 mile trail will take you to stunning 40 feet cascading falls that flow into a perfect small swimming hole. 

3. A Spot For Nature Lovers

The mountain views on Lake Keowee are worth seeing. Lake Keowee has provided a vital energy source and recreation for the upstate. While the lake was initially created to cool water for the three nuclear reactors in the Clemson area, it has become a popular recreation destination for travelers visiting Clemson. Stunning mountain sceneries can be seen at almost any angle in Lake Keowee.

Fish in Clemson and beyond.