The Lowcountry is a paradise for fish, thanks to our healthy ecosystem. Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and the surrounding Lowcountry offer some of South Carolina’s best fishing. In the freshwater, you’ll find bass, panfish and catfish. Where freshwater enters the tidal area, you’ll see snook, jack and tarpon. In saltwater, snapper, mackerel, sea trout, grouper and drum are plentiful. With all of the available fishing options, where should you cast your line? We’ve rounded up the best Lowcountry fishing spots where you can catch the next “big one.”
Reminder: Get your freshwater or saltwater fishing license online at dnr.sc.gov.
1. Under the bridge: C.C. Haigh Fishing Pier
This popular fishing dock, located on McKay Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway at Pinckney Island, greets locals and visitors to Hilton Head Island. It is open year-round for saltwater fishing. You can catch cobia, bluefish and black bass but are most likely to reel in one of 16 different shark breeds swimming around local waters. Plenty of parking is available and there is no fee to fish. It’s the perfect spot to bait your hook and drop a line after work before the sun goes down.
2. Mid-island marvel: Palmetto Dunes Lagoon
This 11-mile, man-made saltwater lagoon is one of the island’s best-kept fishing secrets. In the 1970s, world-renowned Danish engineer Dr. Per Bruun carved out these river-like lagoons; making it the second-largest saltwater lagoon system in the United States. It is an absolute haven for red drum, speckled sea trout, bluefish, tarpon, black drum and flounder. Only Palmetto Dunes owners and guests may fish from lagoon banks inside the property. A guided charter is also available.
3. Built for bobbers: Hampton Lake
One of the benefits of creating a lake from scratch is the opportunity to get it right. Hampton Lake brought in accomplished lake design consultants Don Keller and Barry Smith of American Sport Fish to do just that. The result is one of the best freshwater fishing lakes in the Southeast, with an ideal underwater fish habitat and great water quality. The 165 acres of freshwater are teaming with tiger bass, striped bass, coppernose bluegill and shell cracker. To fish the 15 miles of shoreline of this wonderful private lake, you must be a resident or the accompanied guest of a resident.
4. Not your average Joe: Lake Joe
If you’ve got a little angler in your troop, it’s hard to beat the catfish fishing at this beautiful lake inside the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Fishing inside Sea Pines is limited to property owners, their accompanied guests and rental guests. You need a permit from Sea Pines CSA. Lake Joe is restricted to children 14 and younger and the adults accompanying them. If you don’t have a young one, the other freshwater lakes in the Forest Preserve are stocked with plenty of bass, crappie and bream.
5. Playground with perks: Jarvis Creek Park
The 11-acre freshwater lake located at this popular North End park is stocked with bluegill and largemouth bass. Just be aware of the lazy alligators floating around. There is a catch-and-release program so you will have to throw back anything you reel in. The octagon-shaped platform is a great place to teach youngsters how to fish. The lake’s proximity to all of the park amenities makes it the perfect fishing spot for families. You can rent nearby picnic pavilions through the Island Recreation Association office.
Other Great Fishing Spots
- Port Royal Sands in Port Royal
- Lobeco Fishing Pier off Highway 21
- Jenkins Island Fishing Pier on Hilton Head
- Old House Creek Fishing Pier on Hilton Head
- Broad River Fishing Pier near Beaufort
- Paradise Pier at Hunting Island State Park
- Camp St. Marys Fishing Pier in Okatie
- Whale Branch Fishing Pier in Seabrook
- Daufuskie Island Dock and Float
- Winbee Fishing Pier near Dale
- Waterfront Park in Beaufort