Lake Guide

Ask any sport or recreational angler and they will tell you that Clarks Hill Lake offers some of the best fishing in the Southeast. Brimming with a large population of game fish, it is a mecca for seasoned anglers and beginners alike.

While the lake is known for superb largemouth and striped bass fishing, additional prominent species include 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. Many areas along the shore are marked specifically for fishing, and fishing piers can be found at several lake recreation areas.

Fishing Licenses
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. The annual fee for a basic fishing license is $15. Seniors ages 65 and up are eligible for free or reduced rates.

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. Licenses may be purchased online (, by phone (1-800-366-2661) or at participating marinas, sporting goods stores, hardware stores and bait and tackle shops.

For more information and to learn about additional fishing and game licenses, visit

Free Fishing App
J. Strom Thurmond Fishing Map
This free app from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maps out bank fishing options, fishing docks, boat ramps, special fishing areas and deep-water fish attractors to help boat and bank anglers pinpoint spots to catch fish. To get the link, visit and search “fishing app.”

Free Fishing Days
June 1 and 8
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.

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 additional parks is available at

National Go Fishing Day
June 18
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.

Hook, Line & Dinner
5 Tips for making the most of your fresh catch
1. Always keep fish alive or chilled in ice from the time they are caught until they are stored.

2. The best way to keep fish fresh after catching them is to keep them in a live well, fishing basket or on stringers until you head home. Stringers can be fixed to the boat or secured to a pole or object on the shore.

3. To store on ice, quickly gut the fish and allow it to bleed out. Pack in crushed ice, surrounded and covered on all sides. A good ratio to use is two pounds of ice for one pound of fish.

4. Clean fish as soon as possible to preserve its flavor. However, a whole fish can be kept for up to a day before cleaning if it is iced or chilled.

5. Placing fish in resealable bags before freezing at home will keep them fresh inside the freezer longer. Instead of 6-12 months, they could stay fresh about 6-24 months.