Santee Cooper Cats - Catfish USA
It's much easier to catch a BIG Cat
when you're using a
DOT-NET, instead of a dot-com
SC State's only Fish Lift offers
Underwater View.
Unique to the state and the Southeast, the fish lift at St. Steven dam affords
safe passage for fish migrating upstream to spawn and permits visitors a
close-up view through a glass window from March 15, through April 15.

The fish lift is located at the St. Stephen Powerhouse on the Rediversion
Canal in Berkeley County. "The fish lift operates on the same principle as the
navigation locks that lets boats pass through dams." said Doug Cooke, a
fisheries bioligist with the Freshwater Fisheries Section of the SCDNR. "It
allows migratory fish like the American shad and blueback herring to move
from the Santee River to lakes Moultrie and Marion and into the Congaree
and Wateree rivers during their seasonal migration. This opens large areas of
spawning and nurser grounds, allowing fish populations to expand in
numbers," Cooke said. "These fish provide recreational and commercial
fishing opportunities as well as a primary food source for game fish such as
Santee Cooper striped bass."

The lift can transport thousands of fish over the dam daily, and a viewing
window gives visitors a unique underwater view of fish migration, while
allowing biologists to monitor fish passage into the lakes.

The fish lift is open to visitors from March 15, through April 15. However,
the facility may temporarily close in case of mechanical problems or natural
events that cause the fish to stop migrating. Visitors are advised to call the
DNR's Dennis Wildlife Center in Bonneau at (843) 825-3387, to confirm that
the facility is in operation. Visitors are also reminded that fish migration is a
natural phenomenon, and is subject to changing environmental conditions,
including water discharge, which is low this year as a result of the drought.
Therefore, passage of fish at a specific time cannot be gauranteed.

The fish lift is open to the public, as well as school, church, civic, and other
groups. Guided tours are available for groups; however reservations must be
made. Natural resources staff will explain the lift operation and its importance
to fishery resource conservation. For more information or to make
reservations for group tours, contact the
SC Department of Natural Resources,
telephone (843) 825-3387.

To reach the fish lift, which is built into St. Stephen Dam, visitors traveling
I-26 can take US 52 North through St. Stephen. About one mile beyond the
town, turn right at the sign to St. Stephen Fish Lift. Ample parking is
available in the visitors' parking area.

Article from: Santee Cooper Country Vacation and Outdoors-March 2001
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