Discover the Official State Fish of South Carolina (And Where You Can Catch Them This Summer)

Written by Nixza Gonzalez
Updated: September 8, 2023
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South Carolina has many fishing opportunities. There are hundreds of fish species within the state’s lakes, ponds, and creeks. One of the most popular fish is the state’s official fish! Are you ready to discover the official state fish of South Carolina and some great places to find them? Follow along to learn more.

Since 1972, the striped bass has been the official state fish of South Carolina.

What is the Official State Fish of South Carolina?

The official state fish of South Carolina is the striped bass. It was officially chosen as the state fish in 1972. Striped bass are important fish in South Carolina. Interestingly, South Carolina is home to the Santee Cooper Lakes which were the original home for the landlocked striped bass. You can find striped bass though in many of the major lakes and reservoirs in the state.

About Striped Bass

Let’s learn a little more about these amazing fish! Striped bass is impressive fish. Although 40-pound striped bass is considered large, the record for the biggest striped bass ever caught weighed an astounding 81 pounds and 14 ounces! The largest striped bass recorded was 124 pounds. But what do these fish look like? What do they eat to grow so big? Continue reading to learn more about the official state fish of South Carolina.

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Full frame of silver / blue striped bass in water, appears to be an aquarium. very blue background - state animals of Rhode Island

The largest striped bass ever caught weighed 81 pounds and 14 ounces.


Size and Appearance

Although the largest striped bass ever caught weighed over 80 pounds, this is not the norm! Typically striped bass weighs between 20 to 40 pounds. These silvery fish reach about 20 to 35 inches long. Do you ever wonder why these fish are named striped bass? Striped bass are mainly silver with 7 to 8 longitudinal dark stripes running across their bodies. Although mainly silver, they have white bellies. Some striped bass also have olive-green scales.


Striped bass has healthy appetites. The food they consume though depends on their age. For instance, juvenile striped bass mainly eats insects, small crustaceans, and fish larvae. As they grow though, they consume fish. Their diet doesn’t change drastically with each changing season. However, in the winter, striped bass consumes less food.

Habitat and Origin

Striped bass are native to the Atlantic coast of North America. You can also find these fish in some Gulf Slope drainages. They are very common in Florida and Louisiana. Striped bass are anadromous meaning they spend time in the ocean and freshwater. These fish spawn and adapt to fresh and brackish water. Striped bass are also commonly found in lakes with rocky bottoms.


There aren’t many predators that consume striped bass. These fish are large and fast. Still, young striped bass are very vulnerable to fish species like cod and bluefish. Birds are also predators that swoop into the water and snatch small striped bass. The largest striped bass predators are sharks, seals, and humans.

Where Can You Catch Striped Bass in South Carolina?

The options are nearly endless when looking for lakes to fish for striped bass in South Carolina. Although these fish aren’t native to all lakes or ponds in the state, they are frequently stocked in popular reservoirs.

One of the most popular fishing lakes in South Carolina is Lake Murray. This lake has a surface area of about 50,000 acres and 650 miles of shore. Lake Murray offers visitors many opportunities for recreational activities like boating, fishing, hiking, and swimming. While at this lake, you can enjoy several public parks, perfect for families visiting on vacation. Other than striped bass, you anglers can fish for white perch, largemouth bass, and redbreast sunfish.

Another popular fishing lake that has a good number of striped bass is Lake Marion, the largest lake in the state. This man-made lake has a surface area of 110,000 acres. It’s an impressive and beautiful lake that covers about 5 South Carolina counties. While fishing, you can try your luck for striped bass, Arkansas blue catfish, and crappie.

Last but not least is Lake Jocassee. This stunning lake is incredibly deep! The maximum recorded depth is 326 feet. The surface area for Lake Jocassee is 7,500 acres. This lovely lake is surrounded by wildlife and woods. On the edge of the lake is Devil’s Fork State Park. Lake Jocassee is a very impressive lake for anglers! This fairly recent lake holds multiple records for large fish species caught in the water. Some of the most common fish within Lake Jocassee include rainbow trout, redeye bass, brook trout, and smallmouth bass.

Lake Jocassee, South Carolina

One of the best places to fish for striped bass is Lake Jocassee.

©Tara Ballard/

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Pelow Media/

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About the Author

Nixza Gonzalez is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering topics like travel, geography, plants, and marine animals. She has over six years of experience as a content writer and holds an Associate of Arts Degree. A resident of Florida, Nixza loves spending time outdoors exploring state parks and tending to her container garden.

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