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.