There’s a reason why Columbia’s Lake Murray is a top tournament pick for fishing organizations like B.A.S.S, the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) and Bassmaster: beneath the water of the 55,000-acre lake, lurk tens of thousands of large and small-mouth bass, as well as crappie, catfish, stripers, bream, shellcrackers, white perch, bluegill and catfish. The easiest way to get in on the action is to cast a line from the Lake Murray Dam or the shoreline of Dreher Island State Park, but if you’d rather hunt your prey in deeper water, there are plenty of ways to hit the water.
Outfitters like Better Boat Rental and AquaFun can set you up with well-equipped open fishing boats. Or, if you want to mix fishing with family fun, try your hand at an angler-friendly pontoon boat. But you don’t have to go it alone. No matter what variety of finned prey you’re after, there’s a tour guide on Lake Murray who can take you straight to the source.
Stocked with trout, the Saluda River is a terrific fly fishing destination - access it at Saluda Shoals Park or Hope Ferry Landing; smallmouth bass in the 15 to 20 pound range are also common. Smallmouth bass also ply the waters of the Broad and Congaree Rivers. For better access to all of Columbia’s rivers, consider hiring a guide like Frank’s Fly Arts who can gear you up and take you to where the big fish dwell.