Brimming with a large population of game fish, Clarks Hill Lake is a mecca for seasoned anglers and beginners alike
Ask any sport or recreational angler and they will tell you that Clarks Hill Lake offers some of the best fishing in the Southeast.
While the lake is known for its superb largemouth and striped bass fishing (Georgia and South Carolina Departments of Natural Resources stock the lake with more than 220,000 striped bass and 610,000 hybrid bass each year), there are plenty of other prominent species, too, including bluegill, crappie, white bass, channel catfish, flathead catfish and redear sunfish. Fishing for yellow perch also is popular below the dam.
Fishing is permitted in most areas of the lake except at boat ramps, courtesy docks and areas marked as restricted or prohibited access. In fact, many areas along the shore are marked specifically for fishing. Fishing piers are also located at several lake recreation areas.
Georgia law requires anglers ages 16 to 64 to have a current Georgia fishing license in their possession while fishing in the state’s fresh or salt water.
Currently, Georgia and South Carolina have a reciprocal fishing license agreement that allows anglers to fish on border waters and shorelines with a valid fishing license from either state. Revised conditions will apply after July 1, so check with each state’s Department of Natural Resources for the latest information.
Licenses may be purchased online (georgiawildlife.com), by phone (1-800-366-2661) or at participating locations such as at select marinas, sporting goods stores, hardware stores and bait and tackle shops.
Georgia Basic Fishing License Fees
Residents 16-64: $15, annual license
Seniors 65 and up: $4, annual license
Seniors 65 and up: $35, lifetime license
Youth under 15: $10, optional multi-year license effective until 17th birthday
For additional information and licenses, visit georgiawildlife.com
New Free Fishing App
J. Strom Thurmond Fishing Map
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently launched the “J. Strom Thurmond Fishing Map,” a free app that maps out bank fishing options, fishing docks, boat ramps, special fishing areas and deep-water fish attractors to help pinpoint spots to catch fish. To get the link, visit sas.usace.army.mil and search “fishing app.”
Free Fishing Days
June 5 and 12
If you’ve ever wanted to try fishing or take the kids, these days are the perfect time to test Georgia waters — no fishing license is required either day. A license is normally required for ages 16 and up.
National Go Fishing Day
Observed annually on June 18, National Go Fishing Day encourages people to take a break from their everyday routine and go fish. Grab a rod and reel and get out there. Share pictures of your catch on social media with the hashtag #NationalGoFishingDay.
Free Fishing Tackle Loaner Program
First come, first served
Don’t have fishing gear? The Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Fishing Tackle Loaner Program offers rods, reels and tackle box equipment free of charge for the day as long as the supply lasts. Mistletoe State Park in Appling is a participating park, and a list of 24 additional parks is available at georgiawildlife.com/Fishing/TackleLoaner.