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Pike Fishing in South Dakota

Pike Fishing in South Dakota

If you are going pike fishing, then you will find this activity very exciting. The northern pike is found in most rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, and impoundments in South Dakota. It is an ambush predator that feeds on fish, insects, small mammals, birds, and crustaceans.

This fish is known for its slender look, torpedo shape, with sharp teeth. The northern pike also has light body markings and some sensory powers on their lower jaw.

How to do it

The best times for fishing the northern pike in South Dakota are the first weeks after ice-out and the last week of safe ice. Here, you will find many trophy hunters along the Missouri river system looking for trophy pike.

The river system of South Dakota is blessed with fantastic pike fisheries, especially in the lakes and rivers north of this state. Pike grow well in deeper waters, and they need a cold habitat and food supply throughout the year. Warm water stresses them, and the Big Pike closest to Lake Oahe is the famous spot for trophy fishing.

The trophy pike in this spot are larger than the total in the fisheries of the state combined. Compared to other Missouri river reservoirs, it’s the ultimate spot for giant pike because of the cold water and the larger depth it offers.

You can also visit Lake Thompson, Dry Lake 1 and 2, Whitewood, Pickerel Lake, Reetz Lake, Spirit Lake, and Grass Lake to land a good pile of fish. Besides the northern pike, most of these lakes also contain catfish, Perch and Walleye.

What to watch for: different lures?

When fishing for the pike, you should go to the lake on a sunny and warm day with little wind. Though these times are rare, you can also fish any other time though they are less ideal. The best time to catch the fish is from 10 am to 3 pm, and there is no secret trick for fishing.

When bobber fishing, you need time and patience to let the pike take the bait (we use smelt) so as to better set the hook. When using crankbait, such as the Heddon super spook, a bionic fishing lure or other lures, set the hook as soon as the pike strikes. The bionic fishing lures look like real fish and imitate their movements. The lifelike swimming action really attracts pike.

Parts of the Lake to Target

The best places for fishing pike in the waters are the channels approaching the shallow shelves. These are roads for the pike, and positioning your bait along these channels will give you an advantage to make a good catch.

The bay should also give you easier access to the deep water and have a good channel. The low-water conditions are good for pike fishing, and the ideal one has a 12-to-16-foot channel leading to a shallower shelf. Bobber fishing for pike is easy as you only cast out your bait and wait for a bite. Using crankbait, you get a little exercise, but cover a lot more area.

Fishing Supplies

How to grab hold of it without getting bitten?

If you want to hold your pike for a photo session, then you should take caution to avoid being bitten. It is best to wear gloves and keep your fingers away from the pike’s teeth.


Pike fishing is one of the most exciting activities in South Dakota. There are plenty of rivers, lakes, and other fisheries in the state, and they offer pike fishing in the 2–20+ pound range. It’s an awesome experience that can’t be beat. Plan a trip today!