Columbia  is fishing-crazy, and fishing around here mostly means Lake Murray (www.scjewel.com ). This 50,000-acre lake boasts 650 miles of shoreline. Because of its manmade origin as a hydroelectric resource managed by South Carolina Electric and Gas (SCE&G), you can encounter some unseasonably cold water when you’re fly-fishing due to the deep, frigid currents swirling from the bottom of the dam. But, as they say, that makes the fish all the happier.
Lake Murray was used for bombing practice by General Jimmy Doolittle’s raiders in World War II; in fact, the island in the middle now called Lunch Island is still known to generations of Columbians as “Bomb Island.” Whatever you call it, it’s still the home of thousands of purple martins who stop over here each year.
To rent boats on Lake Murray, go to www.lakemurraycountry.com . The easiest access point for the lake is from Dreher Island State Recreation Area (3677 State Park Rd., 803/364-4152, www.southcarolinastateparks.com , daily dawn–dusk, $2, 15 and under free).
If lake fishing isn’t for you, you can always fish the rivers from the Three Rivers Greenway (803/765-2200, www.riveralliance.org , daily dawn–dusk, free), along the banks of the Congaree and Broad Rivers.