Orangeburg National Fish Hatchery
Southeast Region
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Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I purchase a fishing license?

To review South Carolina fishing regulations and to purchase a license, please contact the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at 1-866-714-3611 or visit them online.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service does not issue fishing licenses.

Why do we need federal hatcheries and who pays for them?

Since 1871, National Fish Hatcheries have been the primary asset in responding to conservation challenges. The production of fish at hatcheries continues to be an irreplaceable tool in managing or restoring fisheries, be they threatened native species or common game fish species. Hatcheries provide recreation opportunities to America’s 34 million anglers who spend $36 billion annually in pursuit of their favored pastime. They also provide educational and research opportunities.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Fish Hatcheries are supported by tax dollars.

Where do you get the fish?

A USFWS Biologist holding a redbreast sunfish
Redbreast sunfish

We receive striped bass fry from South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. American shad fry are produced from wild-caught broodstock held on station during their spawning season. Redbreast sunfish are raised from broodstock maintained on station.

Lake sturgeon broodfish are collected from the Wolf River in Shawano, Wisconsin, and the fertilized eggs are delivered to Warms Springs National Fish Hatchery. The fry are then delivered to the Orangeburg Hatchery immediately following their post-hatch quarantine period.

Carolina heelsplitter mussel larvae (glochidia) are collected from wild broodstock, and blue head chubs are one host fish species that are infested with glochidia to produce thousands of mussel juveniles on station.

Where are the fish stocked?

The striped bass and American shad are stocked in Corps of Engineers Federal water projects and coastal streams for mitigation and restoration. Lake sturgeon are stocked into the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, and several other tributaries in Tennessee.

Redbreast sunfish are stocked in several locations throughout the North and South Forks of the Edisto River.

Carolina heelsplitter mussel program hasn’t reached its stocking phase yet, but is expected to stock in various streams within the Catawba and Pee Dee River Basins.

Where are the striped bass and redbreast raised?

The striped bass, bluegill and redbreast are raised in earthen ponds. The hatchery is a warm water facility, meaning that the fish raised here are in water temperatures between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Where are lake sturgeon raised?

Lake sturgeon are raised in an indoor holding house in circular and rectangular tanks with recirculating flow of water.

Where are American shad raised?

American shad broodstock are held in circular tanks with recirculating flow of water during their spawning season, and eggs are collected, disinfected, and hatched out in a hatching system located on station.

Where are Carolina heelsplitters raised?

Carolina heelsplitter mussels are raised at the Orangeburg Mussel Conservation Center (OMCC), which is located at the main station. The OMCC is able to accommodate all stages of the mussels’ life cycle, as well as, their host fish and other species of imperiled mussels.

What is at the hatchery to see?

With over 200 acres total, the hatchery includes a 100 acre reservoir, hiking trails, large covered picnic area, aquarium center and indoor and outdoor fish production facilities. The hatchery is also a popular birding destination. Blue herons, egrets, glossy ibis, owls, hawks and wood storks are often seen at the hatchery.

Is the hatchery open every day? What hours? Is there a charge?

The hatchery is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm. There is no charge to visit the hatchery.

Last updated: January 25, 2016