Fly Fish SC - Fly Fishing In SC And Abroad

SC Wild Trout Streams

Abner Creek Access

Hiking back out to Abner Creek Access

SC’s wild trout streams can offer a challenging and rewarding experience for those willing to negotiate tougher streams with more difficult access. Hiking a considerable distance may be necessary to reach some of our headwater streams, but there can be much enjoyment found by catching small yet incredibly feisty little trout. Be prepared for overgrown sections, blown downs, and some boulder climbing, as well as solitude, on many of our smaller wild trout streams. Below, you’ll find a list of some of these streams and my difficulty rating for them. Please see the explanation of these ratings following the list.

Stream County Rating** Comments
Licklog, Pig Pen Creek Oconee 4.5 Hike in is rated strenuous but more moderate in my opinion. Very tight fishing conditions.
West Fork Townes Creek Oconee 4.0 Access is easy from New Winding Stairs Road. Fishing is difficult due to brush and lots of blown down trees.
Lower Crane Creek Oconee 4.0 Access is easy from New Winding Stairs Road. Fishing is difficult due to brush and lots of blown down trees. Accessed from same parking area as W.F. Townes Ck.
Upper East Fork Chattooga (Upper) Oconee 3.5 Access is easy from Sloan Bridge Recreation Area. Hiking downstream on the Foothills Trail provides better fishing, but be prepared to scramble up waterfalls and crawl through blow downs.
East Fork Chattooga at Walhalla Fish Hatchery Oconee 3.0 Relatively easy access, fishing can be tough in places. Average width of the East Fork is 25 feet.
Whitewater River Oconee 3.0 Relatively easy access from Duke Energy Bad Creek Hydro Station, which includes a 0.7 mile moderate hike to river. Relatively wide water making for easy casting. The Whitewater River can flow with fairly high volumes of water at times and there is no gage on the river.
Eastatoee Creek (Eastatoee Creek Heritage Preserve) Pickens 4.75 Access to parking is easy, however it is a long hike into the gorge. 2.3 miles one way with one particularly steep section. Good camping area at the creek. I would give this a 5.0, but the creek is large enough for fairly easy casting. Be sure to fully prepare yourself for the 5 mile round trip in and out.
Side Of Mountain Creek Pickens 4.5 Access to parking is easy from the same location as Eastatoee access. One mile hike down an old logging road to the creek. The gradient of the road is decent. Fishing at the initial access point is tight and moderately difficult.
Laurel Fork Creek Pickens 4.5 Ease of access depends on gate closure. Gates are open from September 15-January 1 and March 20-May 10. Fishing is moderate to difficult. Narrow creek with overhanging brush. Please consult the SCDNR Trout Book*** for access information.
Middle Saluda River (Upper) Greenville 4.75 Access from Raven Cliff Falls parking area on HWY 276. Its a 0.7 mile hike to your first encounter with the Middle Saluda. Very tight, moderately difficult fishing here. Continuing downstream provides better fishing opportunities, but be prepared once again for rock climbing, heavy Rhododendron growth, and blow downs. Hiking back out to the parking area is very steep.
Abner Creek Pickens 3.5 Easy access from Van Clayton Hwy. The trout fishing guide says to park at the first red gated road after passing the Foothills Trail crossing if you are coming from US 178, but it is now the second red gate and there is a gravel parking area. Stream features several nice pools, and casting conditions are not for the timid. Fairly tight in spots. Lot’s of blooming Mountain Laurel in the Spring.

*This is not a comprehensive listing of all of SC’s wild trout streams, only the creeks I am familiar with at this time. I hope to add many more as experience provides opportunities to do so.

**Rating is based solely on my experience level with a 1.0 as easiest and 5.0 as most difficult. The rating includes a combination of difficulty of access and difficulty of fishing conditions. Depending on your experience, some of the ratings may be high or low for you. You must determine for yourself the possible difficulty of accessing and fishing these streams. The rating does in no way reflect the size, type, or number of fish you may catch. That is entirely too variable.

***Click to download the SCDNR Trout Fishing Guide pdf, or visit the SCDNR website for details. The guide also features SC’s hatchery supported trout water.


  1. Fred Parker Fred Parker
    July 21, 2011    

    Thanks for this report. Very helpful.

  2. Ryan Ryan
    October 1, 2011    

    Great site you have here. One question-where can you access the little Eastote Creek? I see they stock it quite often, but I’m not exactly to where they are referring.

    • Mark Mark
      October 1, 2011    

      Ryan, they won’t tell you exactly where they stock it, but you can access the Little Eastatoee from SC Hwy 11 at the bridge over the Eastatoee, Long Shoals Wayside Park, or the bridge on E. Preston McDaniel Rd.

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