Aiken County's Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve will open to the public on the five Saturdays this fall to provide fishing and scouting opportunities, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources announced.
The public can access the area on Sept. 3, 10, 17, 24 and Oct. 1, the agency said.
However, no weapons will be permitted during this period.
Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve consists of 10,470 acres along the Savannah River in Aiken County owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. Access is through the check station gate off Brown south of Jackson off state Highway 125.
Hunters will be able to scout the area prior to the commencement of hunts in October. Anyone unfamiliar with the property but interested in hunting the area this season should take advantage of these open dates to scout Crackerneck.
Habitat changes resulting from timber harvests, prescribed burning and road creation also make it advisable for seasoned hunters to also scout prior to the hunt season.
Other outdoor activities such as sightseeing, bird watching, hiking, nature photography, mountain biking and horseback riding will be allowed on these dates. However, there are no formal trails on the area, and mountain bikes and horses are restricted to the 50-mile designated road system and to 30 miles of selected firebreaks.
Camping is not permitted.
Fishing will be allowed on these open dates, but anglers are cautioned that ponds are extremely low because of a lack of rainfall and success is expected to be poor.
The 8-acre Skinface Pond will be open for fishing with the limit on largemouth bass set at two fish per person per day with a 14-inch minimum. Bluegill limits will be the same as the state creel limit of 30 fish.
Due to low water, more bank-fishing opportunities exist than normal. People using small boats will have to off-load because the landing is high and dry.
Fishing also will be allowed in three small lakes within the Savannah River swamp, but these require a johnboat for access.
No fishing, boating, or other uses are allowed in Upper Three Runs Creek.
For a detailed map of the Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve including specific rules and regulations, contact the SCDNR office in Aiken County at 803.725.3663. You may also request the map by e-mail. Please include your name and postal mailing address and e-mail it to CaudellM@dnr.sc.gov.