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Common Fish found in Lake Murray

Lake Murray is home to many different types of fish.
The most popular kinds of fish found in Lake Murray are shown below.

 Visit the DNR's Guide to Freshwater Fishes for a full listing of fish found in South Carolina lakes.
Also, don't forget to visit the DNR's "Where the Fish Are" page, updated weekly!


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Whether you want to spend a relaxing evening fishing, or are a professional looking to catch "the big one", Lake Murray has the fish for you!

Black Crappie
Like other members of the sunfish family, Black Crappie are nest builders. They nest in the spring, generally when water temperatures reach 60F.  Black Crappie adults main diet is insects and crustaceans.
Bluegill (also called Bream, Sunfish)
Bluegills begin spawning when water temperatures reach about 70F.  Nests are created in shallow water, one to two feet in depth. Gravel substrate is preferred. Fifty or more nests may be crowded into a small area, thus creating a spawning bed. Males guard the nest until the eggs hatch and fry leave. Young fish feed on plankton, but as they grow the diet shifts to aquatic insects and their larvae. 
Redbreast Sunfish (also called Redbreasted Bream, Shell Cracker, Yellowbelly Sunfish)
In typical sunfish fashion, the redbreast spawns as the temperature nears 70 in beds or colonies on sand or gravel where the water is one to three feet deep. Spawning activities also cycle around the full moon periods.  After hatching, the young may remain schooled for several weeks before scattering. Adults feed on insects, snails, crayfish, and small fish.
Redear Sunfish (also called Redear Bream, Shell Cracker) 
The "red ear" distinguishes this sunfish from the others. Like the Redbreast, their food preference is snails - which has earned them the nickname "Shell Cracker", although they also feed on insects, insect larvae and worms.  Spawning activities are similar to the other Bream varieties.
Catfish spawn in late spring or early summer when water temperatures reach 75F. Males select nest sites which are normally dark secluded areas such as cavities in drift piles, logs, undercut banks, rocks, cans, etc.  Catfish less than 4 inches in length feed primarily on small insects. Adults are largely omnivorous, feeding on insects, mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and even some plant material.
Large Mouth Bass
Spawning begins in the spring when water temperatures reach about 60F.  Largemouth bass prefer to nest in quiet, more vegetated water, but will use any substrate besides soft mud, including submerged logs. Nests are usually built in two to eight feet of water. Fry feed primarily on insect larvae. At about two inches in length they become active predators. Adults feed almost exclusively on other fish and large invertebrates such as crayfish. 
Striped Bass (also called Stripers, Rockfish)
South Carolina's "State Game Fish", the striped bass is the largest member of the sea bass family. Lake Murray's population completes their entire life cycle in freshwater. Stripers may reach a size of 10 to 12 inches during the first year. Males are generally mature in two years, and females in three to four. Adults are primarily piscivorous, feeding predominantly on members of the herring family such as gizzard shad and threadfin shad.  Average adult size is 20-36 inches and 3-10 lbs. 
White Perch
Like the Striped Bass, White Perch are native to the Atlantic Ocean, but have adapted well to freshwater (the building of dams kept early generations from returning to the ocean after spawning). They release their adhesive eggs randomly into shallow water. Adults feed near the bottom upon aquatic insects, invertebrates, a wide variety of fishes, and on the eggs of other fish species.  Average adult size is 7-12 inches and up to 1 lb.

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