Star Pond action cranks up

Public lake near Ninety Six likely to provide excellent fishing

Star Fort Pond near Ninety Six in Greenwood County opened for the season last week, and anglers are likely to find success immediately at the 27-acre water.

Part of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Public Lakes Program, Star Fort Pond was opened to public fishing 13 years ago. It is one of the few public lakes that is only open part of the year, with the season running from April through October.

“It is one of the smallest waters in the public lakes system and unlike some of the others can’t handle daily, year-round fishing pressure,” said Gene Hayes, a DNR fisheries biologist from Greenwood. “Fishermen also seem to like that opening day aspect because the fish population hasn’t been exploited in several months. You’ll see nice stringers of everything from catfish to bream and bass, especially early in the season.”

Fishing is allowed on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays only. Anglers may fish from a handicapped-accessible T-shaped fishing pier, along the bank, or in canoes or small john boats. Only trolling motors are allowed.

The pond is located on the National Park Service’s Ninety Six National Historic Site; it and was closed for two years in the early 1990s as the DNR took over management at the pond, draining it, then restocking with channel catfish, bluegills, shellcrackers and largemouth bass.

Black crappie also have been illegally introduced and are fairly abundant, but Hayes is quick to remind that the use of minnows, or shiners, as bait is illegal at Star Fort.

“When the pond first opens, I would recommend mini-jigs for crappie and small spinner-type lures such as BeetleSpins for both largemouth bass and shellcrackers,” Hayes said. “As we get into May, the bluegills will start to bed and really turn on.”

Largemouth bass are managed with a 12-inch size minimum and 2-fish daily creel limit. The daily limit on channel catfish is five, while daily creel limits on bream (bluegill and shellcracker) are 20 per day. Up to 30 crappie may be kept per day, but the total daily limit on game fish species (bass, crappie, bream) must not exceed 40.

“The local community seems to love it, and it has also been a real positive influence for the historic site as well,” Hayes said. “Once people are there, they get interested in seeing the remainder of the park, too.”

Anglers 16 years of age or older must have a valid South Carolina fishing license. For more information on Star Fort Pond, call the DNR office in Columbia at (803) 734-3886.

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