Sunday, April 17, 2011

Healthy Forest Reserve Program for Private Landowners

Private landowners are encouraged to apply for a program that is making its first appearance to South Carolina. The Healthy Forest Reserve Program is a program that encourages landowners to restore, enhance, and protect their privately owned forest land through easement agreements with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The NRCS will enter cost-share agreements with landowners.

To be eligible for participation in the program, the land must be located in one of the historic longleaf ecosystems which includes virtually all land in the midlands of South Carolina.

If accpeted into the program, the NRCS will pay 100% of the cost for landowners who enter into permanent easement agreements, 75% of the cost for 30-year easement agreements, and 50% of the cost for 10-year easement agreements.

To find out more about this valuable program, visit or visit your local NRCS office, which can be found here:

Photograph shows a longleaf pine, which is one area of focus for this program.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Clemson Extension Opens Lake to Fishing

After months of input from the community through meeting and email surveys, Clemson Extension has opened their lake and 2 ponds to fishing by creating the Sandhill Fish Club. This will be the first time fishing has been permitted at the location, and the club will work as a fee-based membership. The membership will be open to the first 100 members that turn in their applications and fees to the Extension's Sandhill office at 560 Civitas Circle.

This first membership will run from April 15 to December 15. Individual membership fees are $120, family memberships are $195. A reduced fee of $95 is available to seniors 65 and older. For more information and an application, visit

Monday, April 4, 2011

River Bassin' Tournament--3rd place

I fished the Charlotte stop of the River Bassin' Tournament Trail this past weekend and put in a tough day of fishing on the Wateree River. I caught a few decent fish and took 3rd place against 26 other anglers.

The River Bassin' Trail is a kayak/canoe fishing tournament format and participants are allowed to fish within 100 miles of the weigh-in spot. The Bass Pro Shops at Concord Mills served as that spot Saturday, and I fished the southern-most point within our boundaries. All the rain we had last week made for some tough fishing with most of the rivers having much higher than normal water levels.

I had planned to fish the Broad River because I've had good luck with smallmouth there, but the water there was just too high. So I opted for plan B, putting in at the Wateree Dam and paddling over to a small creek called Grannie's Quarter Creek. I've bream fished this spot and have always caught a few small bass while throwing panfish spinners. I upsized my lure offerings on this day, and totaled six fish. The limit for the River Bassin' Trail is 3, so I was in good shape.

This trail, like most kayak tournament trails, uses the CPR (Catch, Photograph, Release) method of judging fish, so Friday night we all met at Bass Pro Shops and were given a Gorilla Glue icon that was required to appear in all photos, along with the measuring device and the fish. The winning 'stringer' is actually represented by the photos of an angler's three longest fish. My stringer was 45.5 inches.

Eric Boyd of Kings Mountain, NC took the top spot. His 3-fish stringer measured 48.75 inches, including one fish that went over 21 inches. Drew Haerer came in 2nd place with 46.75 inches.

It was a fun event and Drew Gregory and his staff put on a top-notch post-tournament meal and show. The next River Bassin' event will be held in Birmingham, Alabama on April 16, with 13 more stops before the championship in Roanoke, Virginia in early fall. To find out more about the River Bassin' Tournament Trail, visit

PhotosByBrianCope: The River Bassin' Tent greets anglers and visitors to the Concord Mills Bass Pro Shops. This was my biggest fish of the day, and helped me into 3rd place for the tournament.