Pages Navigation Menu

South Dakota

South DakotaFishing in South Dakota

If you want to relax for a day by the lake, or want to enjoy quality time with family and friends, South Dakota is the appropriate place for you. With its acres of lakes and miles of rivers South Dakota offers you fishing round the year. Fishing in South Dakota is a memorable experience as there is a wide scope of fishery due to the species like great walleye, bass, salmon, trout, northern pike and catfish.

Which are the Hot Spots?

The state can be divided into 4 regions:

Sylvan Lake - Black Hills - South Dakota

Sylvan Lake – Black Hills – South Dakota

fishingWestern – Black Hills, Badlands, and Lakes Region

The region holds the famous Black Hills. Named by the Lakota, Black Hills are stretched 100 miles long, 50 miles wide, and more than 7,000 feet high. The Black Hills comprise of 14 mountain lakes and more than 400 miles of streams which contain brook, rainbow, and brown trout. What’s more, the surrounding prairies, reservoirs and ranch stock dams offer angling fun too. More than 50,000 stock dams are full of largemouth bass, northern pike and a wide variety of panfish. Since most of them are privately owned, permission should be taken before fishing. Ice Fishing has become increasingly popular recently. Unlike perch or bluegill, trout is found at variety of depths under the ice cover, therefore offers challenge in fishing, and compels using multiple rods at changing depths.

Techniques and Tackle : Small jigs, ice flies and jigging spoons tipped with waxworms or meal worms are the most preferable baits for ice-fishing in the Blacik Hills. Keep in mind that trout are more likely to swallow night crawlers whole, thus making it difficult to release them. If you are keen to catch and release, do not night crawlers.

fishingCentral – Great Lakes Region

This region has the wonderful Missouri River, with four massive dams, creating 900 square miles of open water, 3,000 miles of shoreline and a world-class freshwater fishery. Lakes Oahe, Sharpe, Francis Case, Lewis and Clark are the Missouri River’s reservoirs.  And if you prefer small waters, a visit to a prairie stock dam will be more to your liking. Their areas range from 1 to 100 acres and they favor easy fishing from shore, or in a small boat, float tube or a canoe.

Techniques and Tackle: Walleye in all the 4 reservoirs of River Missouri give good catch in spring with jigs and minnows, and in summer, with night crawlers-spinner combination and crankbaits. Lake Oahe contains Chinook salmons which are caught using downriggers or side planers. Flashers, spoons, squids, crankbaits and deep diving plugs work well with silver and chartreuse as effective colors. Salmon’s favorite prey rainbow smelt if used in imitation works best. Northern pikes are caught best using dead bait rigs, consisting of treble hooks tipped with smelt.

fishingNortheast – Glacial Lakes and Prairies Region

The region contains more than 120 glacial lakes which range in size from some acres to more than 17,000 acres, comprising of concentrations of walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, bass, bullheads, bluegill and pike.

Technique and Tackle: Walleye is dominant in northeast. Most of them are caught by trolling crankbaits or night crawlers or spinner rigs over hard gravel or sand bottoms during late summer; jig and minnow combinations and lindy rig fishing is effective in spring and fall. Night time is the best opportunity for shore fishing by casting jerkbaits and swim baits near rock points. White bass are caught trolling in open water or casting with a medium spoon, spinner, or jig and grub combination.

fishingSoutheast – Prairies Region

The region contains more than 175 fishing lakes which range in size from 3 to 29,000 acres. Glacial lakes as well as numerous manmade lakes constructed for water conservation and irrigation favor the fishing in the region. Additionally three major rivers, Big Sioux River, James River and Missouri River pass through the region and the Lewis Lake and Clark Lake, a 30 mile long Missouri River reservoir too come in this region. Walleye and largemouth and smallmouth bass in this region attract anglers from across the country.

Tackle and techniques:Casting with baits like crankbaits, jerkbaits, and spinnerbaits are popular methods for catching both largemouth and smallmouth bass. So also is jigging during the summer heat. To your surprise a large northern pike may too bite. Sauger and catfish too are found in Lewis and Clark lakes. For a northern pike, an imitation wounded prey fish works well. For a bullhead, a simple hook-and-worm combination works best. Ice fishing in this region can be very effective when jigging spoons or teardrop hooks tipped with a wax/meal worm or minnow, are used. Pike, walleye, bluegill and perch make most of the catch.

License fees range from $9 to $62.

You will be welcomed any time of the year for fishing in South Dakota; what are you waiting for?