March 13, 2024

Public trails and fishing area set to open at the FMU Freshwater Ecology Complex Friday

On Friday, new trails and a fishing area at the Francis Marion University Freshwater Ecology Complex will open to the public. The public trails and fishing access area will be open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from sunrise to sunset, except on university holidays. They are closed Monday through Thursday for educational and research purposes. 

There are three trails at the complex: the Overlook Trail, the Forest Trail, and the Fishing Trail. The Overlook Trail is a short, crushed gravel trail that winds through a mixed-hardwood forest of oak, hickory, and pines. The trail ends at an observation deck that provides views of the drop-off into Backswamp. The Forest Loop Trail is a .41 miles traditional dirt trail that goes through the woods before coming back to the main entrance road. The Fishing Trail is also a traditional dirt trail that leads to a cleared shoreline that provides the public with fishing access at the lake. 

Fishing is open to the public at the designated public access fishing area on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from sunrise to sunset. To fish on the lake, anglers must have a valid SC freshwater fishing license and complete the FMU fishing registration. Registration cards are available online as well as onsite at the trailhead kiosk.

Anglers must also complete a creel survey card after fishing. Creel survey cards are also available online and at the trailhead kiosk. Francis Marion students use the lake as a living laboratory. The creel survey cards are used by students studying fisheries management as they conduct periodic stock assessments. 

The Freshwater Ecology Complex is located at 3742 N. Williston Road. Note that pets are not permitted, except for service animals. Hunting, swimming, and boating are not allowed on the premises.