Fishing regulations at Thurmond Lake and other segments of the Savannah River could change later this year as Georgia and South Carolina work to modify a reciprocal agreement that allows anglers from either state to fish those waters without buying a license from the neighboring state.
The current agreement will expire July 1, when new rules adopted by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources take effect. Georgia officials are using the transition period to help reconcile differences in size and creel limits in shared waters.
The license agreement will continue to allow anglers to fish border waters and shorelines with a license from either state, but species including trout, striped bass, hybrid bass could fall under new rules, said fisheries chief John Biagi of Georgia’s Wildlife Resources Division, which will hold a public meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. May 22 at Mistletoe State Park to discuss and seek comments on the planned changes.
“All anglers are invited to join us for an overview of the proposed changes,” Biagi said. “We also encourage potential attendees to inform and invite others that might have an interest in the topic.”
According to a draft of Georgia’s recommendations, the limit on trout would decrease from eight to five to conform with regulations in South Carolina, which provides the majority of the trout released into border waters. No size limits are proposed.
Other changes would affect stripers, hybrids and white bass in reservoirs where they are stocked.
Georgia’s current 15-fish creel limit for those species allows keeping two fish 22 inches or longer at lakes Hartwell and Thurmond (Clarks Hill). The change would create a 10-fish limit, but allow up to three fish 26 inches or longer to be kept.
Lake Russell is operated under a reciprocal trophy striper agreement setting a two-fish creel limit, with one fish over 34 inches. That rule would remain intact, and hybrid bass would be added to that regulation.