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South Carolina Fishing Licenses and Regulations

South Carolina is a water community. The culture and economy depend on it. Early settlers made their living catching and selling both fresh and saltwater fish. Today, anglers spend a great of money to catch those same fish.

If you are headed to South Carolina, you should consider hitting the water, as well. But first, you need to know the rules—especially those concerning fishing licenses.

South Carolina offers two types of fishing: fresh water and salt water. Licenses are required for each type.

Fresh Water

All anglers 16 years of age and older are required to purchase a license prior to fishing in fresh water areas. Those under 16 years of age are required to purchase a license if using traps, trotlines, nets, set hooks, or jugs.

South Carolina offers several different options for freshwater fishing licenses. The fee for each varies depending on residency, age, and length of the license period:

Resident

– Resident Annual $10.00

– Resident 3-Year $30.00

– Resident 14-Day License $5.00

– Resident Hunting/Fishing Combo $25.00

– Resident 3-Year Hunting/Fishing Combo $75.00

– Resident Annual Sportsman $50.00

– Resident 3-Year Sportsman $150.00

– Jr. Resident Sportsman (16-17 years of age) $16.00 

Resident non-game 

– Jug Permit (more than 50 jugs per license) $5.00

– Set Hook Permit (more than 50 hooks per license) $5.00

– Eel Pot Tag (two pots per license) $5.00

– Gill Net Tag (three nets per license) $ 5.00

– Hoop Net Tag (one net per license) $10.00

– Trap Tag (two traps per license) $5.00

– Trotline Tag (one line per license) $2.50

To qualify for a Resident license the applicant must have lived in the state for the previous 365 days. Proof of residency may be required at the time of application.

Senior Residents

South Carolina residents 64 years of age and older may purchase a Lifetime license for $9.00. Residents born prior to July 1, 1940 may obtain this same license for free. The Senior Lifetime license covers both fresh and salt water fishing. It also covers hunting, big-game hunting and Wildlife Management access.

Non-resident

– Non-resident Annual $35.00

– Non-resident 3-Year $105.00

– Non-resident 14-Day $11.00

Non-game Permits

– Jug Permit (more than 50 jugs per license) $50.00

– Set Hook Permit (more than 50 hooks per license) $50.00

– Eel Pot Tag (two pots per license) $50.00

– Gill Net Tag (three nets per license) $50.00

– Hoop Net Tag (one net per license) $50.00

– Trap Tag (two traps per license) $50.00

– Trotline Tag (two lines per license) $50.00

Military Personnel

Military members engaged in fresh water fishing fall into one of two categories. Non-resident military members stationed in South Carolina are considered residents after 30 days. Residents serving in the military outside the state and home on leave may fish without a license.

Salt Water

South Carolina offers several different options for saltwater licenses. The fee for each varies depending on residency, age of the applicant and length of the license period.

The Senior Lifetime license DOES NOT include tags, only a Fresh Water Set Hook permit. All additional permits must be purchased separately.

Resident

– Resident Annual $10.00

– Resident 3-Year $30.00

– Resident 14-Day $ 5.00

Non-resident

– Non-Resident Annual $35.00

– Non-Resident 3-Year $105.00

– Non-Resident 14-Day $11.00

Valid Period

All licenses are valid as of the date of purchase. Licenses expire 14 days, one year, or three years from the date of purchase, depending on duration purchased.

All licenses are subject to revocation if found in violation of current regulations.

Individuals fishing at public piers or on charter/party boats are not required to buy a license. These facilities are required to obtain a special group permit from the SCDNR.

Purchasing a License

South Carolina fishing licenses may be purchased in a variety of ways:

– Online at dnr.sc.gov (Note that the online system is offline for maintenance every Sunday between 2:01 AM and 6:00 AM EST.)

– At a wide range of vendors, including local bait shops and tackle dealers.

– State park offices

– In state military base morale offices

– Via the telephone at 1-866-714-3611

– By mailing a paper application to DNR Headquarters.

Commercial Licenses

Anglers are prohibited from selling their catch without a Commercial license. This prohibition applies to both residents and non-residents. If you wish to engage in commercial fishing you will need to buy special licenses. Contact the SCDNR for additional information.

Federal Water

As a coastal state, South Carolina shares offshore jurisdiction with Federal authorities. State jurisdiction extends to three miles, while Federal authority stretches to 200 miles.

Some fish species may be more heavily regulated in one jurisdiction or the other. You are responsible for knowing both your location and its regulations.

Violations of South Carolina fishing regulations can result in fines or license revocation. Non-residents may also face revocation in their home state.

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