The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) stocks approximately 28,000 trout in the Lower Saluda River each December. However, in recent years, anglers have reported that large trout are becoming more abundant in the river system. Experts believe there are many factors that could be contributing to the increase in length and weight.
For SCDNR to better manage the trout fishery in the Lower Saluda River, a tagging study and creel survey are currently being researched. These efforts are designed to provide fishery biologists with critical information concerning the growth and survival of the river’s trout and angler preference. Results from these efforts will be used in future decision making concerning stocking levels and harvest regulations for the Lower Saluda River system.
In addition to helping SCDNR better manage the Lower Saluda River trout population, anglers who participate in the tagging study will receive a hat from the Saluda River Trout Unlimited Chapter and a certificate of appreciation from the SCDNR. Also, one angler will be awarded a lifetime freshwater fishing license each year of the study.
Anglers have many options to return tag information to SCDNR, whether you keep the fish or release it. At several locations along the Lower Saluda River there are black tag return drop boxes. At each tag return drop box are pre-addressed tag return envelopes. Another option is recording the tag number and releasing the fish with the tag still intact. Be sure to never rip a tag from a fish to be released, as this will likely cause damage to the fish that could result in unnecessary mortality.