(WIS) - Anglers planning to fish for striped bass anywhere in the Santee River system between now and June 15 need to be aware of recent law changes that affect the size of legal striped bass they can keep, and the time period during which legal-sized fish can be kept.
The new state law says that within the boundaries of the Santee River system (including lakes Marion and Moultrie), it is "unlawful to take or possess a striped bass less than twenty-three inches or greater than twenty-five inches, provided that one striped bass taken or possessed may be greater than twenty-six inches" from October 1st through June 15th.
According to South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Anglers fishing the Santee system from now until June 15 can still keep three fish, but they must be between 23 and 25 inches, or one of the three may be greater than 26 inches.
Previously, the limit for striped bass in the Santee River system during the open period was three fish, all of which had to be at least 26 inches.
The law also extends the legal period for keeping fish for two additional weeks. Fish can now be kept through June 15. Previously, the waters of the Santee system were closed to striped bass fishing between June 1 and September 30.
"The limits and restrictions imposed on the fishery in 2008 had a significant impact on increasing the numbers of stripers in the lakes. This new change will focus harvest on the size fish that are most abundant in the system, provide increased protection for stripers in the reproductive sizes while still allowing anglers to keep a bigger, memorable, fish," SCDNR Fisheries Chief Ross Self said.
"We expect this change to provide addition improvements for the striped bass fishery and SCDNR staff will continue to monitor the progress of the population's recovery."
The bill passed the South Carolina House and Senate in April and was signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is in the process of placing signage at boat ramps and other prominent locations about the new laws.