As a native Augustan, I feel very fortunate to have grown up in an area that affords anglers a rich and diverse array of waters and species for sustainable fishing.
To categorize these waters simply, there are three distinct choices of places to fish: the lake, the river, and a multitude of private and public ponds. Our lake—referred to as Clarks Hill by Georgians and Thurmond Lake by South Carolinians—is a 71,535 acre reservoir created in 1954 twenty-two miles north of Augusta. This fishery has played host to numerous B.A.S.S. tournaments and has a healthy population of Striped Bass, Crappie, Bream, Catfish and many more species in addition to the Largemouth.
Below the reservoir’s J. Strom Thurmond dam is the Savannah River. This diverse waterway, on the geological fall line, marks the state borders of South Carolina and Georgia. There are surfaced boat landings below the dam in both states and further down river at North Augusta and New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam. These open water areas are great places to catch Bass, Bream, Perch, Striped Bass, and Hybrids. The middle stretch of the river around I-20 is a rocky shoals area with a small category 2 section of whitewater and a wide selection of Bass including Largemouth, Smallmouth, Red Eye, Shoal, and the Bartram, a subspecies of the Red eye found only in the Savannah and Saluda Rivers.
For the less adventurous angler the Merryland Brickyard Ponds have a selection of 21 public ponds, complete with bait shop and some advice on which pond is best suited for catching a particular species. These ponds, which are conveniently located just outside downtown are also “pay-to-fish” so no state license is necessary.
So whether you are fly fishing Smallmouth at the Shoals, trolling Winter Striped Bass on the lake, or spending a lazy summer afternoon with a cane pole at the Brick Ponds, I hope you enjoy and explore all that fishing in Augusta has to offer.