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Turkey/Stevens Weather

 

Turkey/Stevens Creek

     Stevens Creek is a tributary of the Savannah River that becomes floatable below the confluence with Turkey Creek west of Edgefield. Turkey Creek itself can be floated in it's lower reaches and both creeks are great places to go wade around, skip rocks, and possibly even catch some dinner. The trick, it seems, is to catch these streams with just the right amount of water in them, which is easier said than done. Much of Turkey Creek and the upper half of Stevens are situated in almost gorge-like settings. While neither stream actually passes through stone cliffs, the banks rise so rapidly that you often feel as if you are in a gorge. While this makes for great scenery and solitude, it also means that when it rains, that water runs straight down the steep banks and reaches the creek fast. After any significant rain, both these flows can change from too low to float a canoe to too high and muddy for good fishing. There are some pretty fun rapids at higher levels (anything above 3.0 at the SC 23 gauge on Stevens) and both streams are probably useless for fishing if the water level exceeds 4.0 feet.

     There are plenty of access points along the lower section of both Turkey (from SC 283 on down) and Stevens Creeks (from SC 23 to the Savannah). The steep banks in the upstream sections will insure that you get your cardiovascular exercise when putting in or taking out your canoe or kayak. By the way, canoes and kayaks are the best vehicles for both creeks except at the end of Stevens Creek, where it gets wide enough for motorized boats.

Stevens Creek at SSR 88. Yes, it's a long way down there.

     You can expect to catch largemouth bass, redbreast, bluegills, and catfish from both creeks. There are supposedly redeye bass (micropterus coosae) in both creeks also, but despite the seemingly exceptional redeye bass habitat, I haven't had much luck with them. While I would not refer to either creek as a spectacular destination for catching fish, both creeks seem to have pretty good populations. There are stretches of water in both creeks that are uniformly straight and shallow and these tend to contain both smaller and fewer fish. Don't go expecting to catch really big fish either. While the downstream end of Steven's Creek (which is basically a stumpy lake- impounded by Stevens Creek Dam on the Savannah just below the confluence) might hold some lunker bass and catfish, the upper sections contain average-sized bream and largemouth bass mostly in the 3/4 to 2 pound range.

     In Turkey and the upper part of Stevens Creek, the fish tend to orient near deeper water (anything over two feet) with wood in it- especially cypress trees. That's right, cypress trees! While I normally associate cypress trees with coastal rivers, the banks of Stevens Creek are loaded with cypress, and the cypress knees make great holding areas for bass, bream, and catfish as long as there is a little depth to the water around them. While there are tons of rockpiles, riffles, and eddies that ought to hold redbreast and redeyes, the woody cover has been more productive for me. Since the bass tend to run a tad on the small side, I would suggest using spinning gear and smaller baits than you would on a larger river or reservoir.

     One cool thing about Turkey and Stevens Creeks is the solitude. Both flow through Sumter National Forest and are undeveloped through most of their length. While both creeks are fairly popular with paddlers, you will see plenty of wildlife and not many people. Both of these factors make Stevens Creek a worthy destination whether the fish are biting or not.

While wildlife abounds at Turkey and Stevens Creek, neither this great blue heron or turtle were having any luck finding redeye bass either.

     I wouldn't recommend trying to float Turkey or the upper part of Steven's Creek if the gauge at 23 is below 1.8 feet (too much dragging) or much above 3.0 feet (probably starting to get too muddy). The lowest part of Stevens Creek is pretty much a lake so water levels don't really matter. The water is very clear at lower levels, making lighter line a good idea. I have never flyfished here, but I bet doing so would be pretty fun since there is a lot of wadeable water and the fish seem pretty cooperative. You might have to drag across an occasional downed tree, but this is generally not a problem. The key to a good day of fishing is to catch the creeks in good condition. Of course, if you find yourself trying to paddle down Stevens Creek at low water, all you have to do to is spit behind the canoe every now and then and just watch the creek rise.

Get out that jig-and-pig and start flipping to the stumps! Stevens Creek at the boat landing near the Savannah River.

 
         
 

Turkey/Stevens Links

Current River Level

SC Trails Description

SC Trails Map

Description and Map

Canoe Augusta's Turkey/Stevens info

Paddling.net trip report

Another Paddling.net trip report

Palmetto Paddlers Pictures

   
         

 

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