In the early 1930s, the fisheries managers with the state and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began trout culture and stocking programs in mountain streams. Early on, managers concentrated on stocking fingerling-sized trout to try and re-establish sustainable populations or establish put-grow fisheries where natural trout reproduction was limited.
As the program evolved in the 1950s and 1960s, the state began an extensive stocking program to provide more fishing opportunities. This program included expanding trout management in seasonal, hatchery-supported trout waters by stocking more catchable-size trout. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources now annually stocks around 500,000 fingerling and larger brook, brown and rainbow trout. Fourteen mountain streams are stocked on a regular basis with 9- to 12-inch trout from March through June and again in October and November.
Additional backcountry streams are stocked less frequently to maintain good trout fishing. These streams are typically located in remote settings, and water temperatures influence stocking in July through September.
More than 300,000 catchable fish are distributed under this program annually, along with as many as 100,000 fingerlings. SCDNR does not release the time and location of stocking runs. These efforts are aimed toward perpetuating South Carolina’s trout resource and providing a satisfactory angling experience for the sportsman.
Healthy trout fisheries are the priceless reward for all South Carolinians for proper trout management. To see a weekly trout stocking summary, visit http://www.dnr.sc.gov/fish/stocking/results.