Santee Cooper

Santee, South Carolina

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Short Take: 160,500 acres total; two separate lakes, Marion (100,500 acres) and Moultrie (60,00 acres), joined by a seven-mile canal; generally shallow, stumpy water and standing timber (Lake Marion); more open water with some hydrilla (Lake Moultrie). The Santee Cooper lakes of Marion and Moultrie rank as two of the most famous bodies of water in the South, but mainly because of a total accident. In 1942 when the Santee Dam closed and began impounding Lake Marion, a number of saltwater striped bass that had migrated up the Santee River to spawn were inadvertently trapped in the lake. Unnoticed by anglers during the years of World War II, the big silvery fish with dark lateral stripes not only spawned but thrived—and in the process created an entirely new fishery for anglers all over America. In the nearly half century since the discovery of those freshwater striped bass, the fish have been propagated in hatcheries and stocked in lakes all across America. Not only that, but the Santee Cooper striped bass also later laid the foundation for the scientific creation of another fish, the hybrid striped bass (a cross between striped bass and the white bass), which has also been stocked throughout much of the United States. Primary Species: Largemouth and striped bass.

Santee Cooper Professional Review and Guide

"Short Take: 160,500 acres total; two separate lakes, Marion (100,500 acres) and Moultrie (60,00 acres), joined by a seven-mile canal; generally shallow, stumpy water and standing timber (Lake Marion); more open water with some hydrilla (Lake Moultrie). The Santee Cooper lakes of Marion and Moultrie rank as two of the most famous bodies of water in the South, but mainly because of a total accident. In 1942 when the Santee Dam closed and began impounding Lake Marion, a number of saltwater striped bass that had migrated up the Santee River to spawn were inadvertently trapped in the lake.

Unnoticed by anglers during the years of World War II, the big silvery fish with dark lateral stripes not only spawned but thrived—and in the process created an entirely new fishery for anglers all over America. In the nearly half century since the discovery of those freshwater striped bass, the fish have been propagated in hatcheries and stocked in lakes all across America. Not only that, but the Santee Cooper striped bass also later laid the foundation for the scientific creation of another fish, the hybrid striped bass (a cross between striped bass and the white bass), which has also been stocked throughout much of the United States. Primary Species: Largemouth and striped bass."

Activity Type: Fishing
Nearby City: Santee
Season & Limits: Best February - May, September - November. Stripers best in October.
Local Contacts: Santee State Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Santee Cooper

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May 2018