Middle Saluda River Rainbow Trout
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing the Middle Saluda River
South Carolina
South Carolina's Middle Saluda River became the first
stream in the state to be designated in the Scenic River
program. The Middle Saluda River and its tributary,
stream, Coldspring Branch, are both included. This
portion of the stream lies in the Jones Gap State Park. It
is a beautiful stream and one of South Carolina's
best wild trout streams. Fly fishing the Middle Saluda
River can be both fun and rewarding.

The Middle Saluda River begins in the Mountain Bridge
Wilderness Area. From there it flows through two state
parks, Jones Gap and Ceasars Head. The stream has
both stocked and wild rainbows, browns and brook trout.
There is a catch-and-release section that starts at the
footbridge at the Jones Gap State park line and
continues downstream to Hugh Smith Road.

The upper part of the Middle Saluda River drops on a
good decline and has lots of fast pocket water with some
runs and a few riffles. It is mostly completely covered
with a canopy of tree limbs that helps keep the water
cool. The wild trout are on the small side, probably
averaging only about 5 or 6 inches but they can go up
to 12 inches. Access is fairly easy in the upper section
of the stream but you will have to do some hiking. Jones
Gap Trail follows along the stream for over five miles.

The state and the Mountain Bridge Chapter of TU
arranged for the trout to be feed in the
catch-and-release section of the stream, so the trout do
grow large. It is managed as catch-and-release on a
year round basis.

Below the special section, the lower Saluda River flows
to its confluence with the South Saluda River. Most of
the property along the lower section is private. You can
access the lower section in the town of Cleveland at the
U. S. Highway 76 Bridge. This area of the stream is
stocked and does get warmer in the summer.

The trout season follows the general South Carolina
regulations except for the special regulation areas..
Spring is the best season for fly fishing the Middle
Saluda River.
The water can get a little warm during the hot summer in
the middle and lower sections but it stays well
oxygenated and cool in the upper area.
Autumn is a good time to fish the river for large holdover
brown trout..
Fishing during the winter can be good on warm days.

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
Type of Stream

Brown Trout (Wild and Stocked)
Rainbow Trout (Wild and Stocked)
Brook Trout (Wild and Stocked)

Small to Medium

North Central South Carolina

Nearest Towns


Easy in areas but hiking required to
reach the best sections

Non-Resident License
State of South Carolina

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and
Trout Flies
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