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South Dakota


General Regulations


  • At Big Stone Lake, the Lake Sturgeon season will be open for catch- and-release angling from June 16 through April 14. The season is closed year-round for all other sturgeon species.
  • The setline license ($5) allows resident anglers to fish a single setline or up to ten floatlines.
  • The number of resident Paddlefish tags for the Lake Francis Case snagging/archery season has increased from 350 to 500.
  • Silver Carp, Bighead Carp, and rough fish may now be taken with dip nets.
  • Species that can be taken for bait with traps, seines, dip nets, lift nets and cast nets by lawful anglers for noncommercial use are Flathead Chub, Western Silvery Minnow, Plains Minnow, Fathead Minnow, White Sucker, Creek Chub, Golden Shiner, Emerald Shiner, Spottail Shiner, Gizzard Shad, Tiger Salamander (all subspecies), Leopard Frog (all subspecies), Crayfish (Lacunicambarus diogenes, Faxionius immunis, Faxionius virilis, and Faxionius causeyi), Freshwater Shrimp, and Leeches.
  • Free fishing will no longer be offered on Mother and Fathers Days.



    When accessed by legal means, meandered waters are open to fishing. Nonmeandered waters are also open to fishing unless marked “Closed” indicated by the sign and/ or buoy shown below. Areas marked “Closed” on nonmeandered waters are open to recreational use with permission from the owner of the property underlying the water.

    Please visit for more information regarding meandered and nonmeandered waters, including an interactive mapillustrating current closures to date or contact the nearest GFP office with further questions.

    Most waters in the Black Hills are within boundaries of the Black Hills National Forest and accessible from adjacent public lands.Private land in the Black Hills Fire Protection District can be crossed to access waters for fishing unless posted as “no trespassing.”

    Public access to waters on private property is made possible through leases. Lease work is supported by the Voluntary PublicAccess and Habitat Incentive Program at USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.


    Both submersible and non- submersible artificial lights may be used while fishing with legal methods.


    Artificial lures include flies, jigs, spoons, spinners and plugs made of metal, plastic, wood, hair, feathers, and other inedible materials. Artificial lures do not include fish eggs, moldable scented baits, naturally occurring foods or man-made food.


    Besides criminal penalties, people illegally taking, killing or possessing game fish may be civilly liable to the state for damages of$50 for each fish with an established daily limit of less than 25, and $200 for each paddlefish. Under certain situations, the amount may double. Any person who has a judgment issued for not paying civil damages will lose their fishing, hunting and trapping privileges until the judgment is paid in full.


    Includes all species belonging to the paddlefish, salmon/trout (including splake, lake trout, lake herring and whitefish), sturgeon, pike, catfish (including bullheads), sunfish (including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and crappies), perch (including walleye and sauger) and bass families (including white bass). Season dates, limits and restrictions are established for all game fish. The season is closed for all sturgeon species in SD inland and border waters.


    All fish species not defined as game fish or baitfish nor otherwise protected are rough fish. Smelt are a rough fish, but a daily limitexists. For the purposes of management, catfish are considered rough fish on inland waters of the Missouri River.


    Includes the taking, capturing, killing or fishing for fish of any variety in any manner.


    Foul-hooked fish are those inadvertently snagged in body areas other than the mouth with conventional lures by anglers usingnormal fishing methods. Intentional snagging of fish is prohibited, except for paddlefish and salmon during established seasons.

    Foul-hooked fish may be kept as part of the legal limit. Foul- hooked paddlefish may only be kept by anglers with paddlefish permits during the established paddlefish seasons.


    No one may intentionally interfere with other people lawfully fishing, or engage in an activity specifically intended to harass or prevent lawful fishing.


    Landing nets, gaffs, and similar devices may be used to land fish, which are in the process of being caught by legal methods. Gaffs and other penetrating devices cannot be used to land snagged paddlefish.


    Where and when water-specific size limits apply for a species of gamefish, any person in possession of that species must leave fish measurable and countable. This applies to individuals on the water, ice, or shore fishing. Fish carcasses must be keptwhole with the head, skin, and fins attached. Only gills, entrails, scales, and eyes may be removed.

    These provisions do not apply to the statewide daily limit of one walleye over 20 inches.

    No person may place fish or fish cleanings on shorelines or in public waters.


    The number of fish that may be taken from 12:01 a.m. to midnight. When fishing multiple waters in a day, cumulative harvestof a species may not exceed the standard statewide daily limit. A person may possess no more than one day’s limit of fish whileon the water or actively engaged in fishing. However, persons on the ice are allowed to keep a possession limit of fish taken in accordance with the daily limit and transportation regulations.


    Water-specific restrictions on lengths of fish that anglers are allowed to harvest exists in some waters. All fish in possessionwhile on the water or ice or actively engaged in fishing must comply with all laws and regulations in effect for that water.


    The possession limit is the maximum number of legally harvested fish that a person may possess or control. The fish possession limit is unlimited at a person’s domicile. A domicile is a person’sestablished, fixed, and permanent home to which the person, whenever absent, has the present intention of returning. Placesthat are NOT domiciles include hotels, motels, summer cabins, campers, sleeper ice shacks, travel trailers, etc.

    Nonresidents may not exceed the established possession limit for each species of fish because they do not have a domicile inSouth Dakota. Fish taken under another state’s valid license do not apply to South Dakota’s possession limits, unless taken on a South Dakota border water.


    In some waters it is illegal to use “organic bait.” Organic bait includes worms, baitfish, fish eggs, corn, marshmallows, insects, moldable scented bait or naturally occurring or manmade food intended to be used as bait.


    Two or more people who mutually agree to fish together as a party from a single watercraft or from shore or on ice while in unaided visual and vocal contact may take a combined daily limit of fish equal to the sum of all licensed party members’ individual daily limits.Party fishing provisions do not apply to a person fishing in more than one party per day or to anglers using spearing/archeryequipment.

    No person may lend his or her license to another person or aid someone in securing a license fraudulently.


    State and federally listed threatened and endangered species cannot be taken or possessed. Species you could encounter when fishing or boating include pallid sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon. All waters of South Dakota, including waters bordering with other states, are closed to the harvest of freshwater mussels; except for threatened or endangered species, shells from mussels found dead may be possessed. For a comprehensive list of threatened and endangered species visit: endangered.


    Snagging is a method used by anglers to intentionally hook fish in body areas other than the mouth by rapid, intermittent jerking of a hook or lure through the water. Snagging is illegal except for permitted paddlefish anglers during the established season or during the established salmon snagging season on Lake Oahe.


    The following fish species and their cleanings may not be used as bait in hook and line fishing:



    Common Carp

    » Bullheads, lake herring, green sunfish, pumpkinseed, orange-spotted sunfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, Lepomis sunfish hybrids

    » Eyes, gills, entrails, or scales of gamefish

    » Dead bighead and silver carp



    Aquatic Invasive Fish


    Each line used must be under the direct supervision and within the unaided observation of the legal user at all times.


    These rules pertain to the taking of bait by licensed anglers for personal use.


    Anglers may not import live baitfish into South Dakota.


    It is illegal to empty receptacles containing bait into public waters.


    Residents and nonresident age 18 and over need a fishing license to take, possess, or transport bait.


    Bait may not be transported in water taken from a lake, pond, stream, or river.


    Species that may be used as bait by lawful anglers are: bullhead, lake herring, fathead minnow,

    white sucker, creek chub, flathead chub, western silvery minnow, plains minnow, golden shiner, emerald shiner, spottail shiner, gizzard shad, sunfish of the genus Lepomis (green sunfish, pumpkinseed, orange-spotted sunfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, Lepomis sunfish hybrids), tiger salamander (all subspecies), leopard frog (all subspecies), crayfish (all native species), freshwater shrimp and leeches. Live gizzard shadmay not be transported away from the water in which they were taken. Bullhead and sunfish of the genus Lepomis (green sunfish,pumpkinseed, orange- spotted sunfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, Lepomis sunfish hybrids) may be used as bait by licensed anglerswhen taken by legal hook and line. Lake herring may be used as bait by licensed anglers when taken by hook and line, seines, liftnets, cast nets, and dip nets.


    The limits for baitfish (all species combined), crayfish (all species combined), freshwater shrimp and leeches are 144 daily andpossession each. The limits for tiger salamander (all subspecies combined) and leopard frog (all subspecies combined) are 24 daily and possession each. Bait limits only apply to bait legally taken from waters of the state. Limits do not apply to bait purchasedfrom bait dealers.

    Established daily and possession limits apply when harvesting game fish allowed to be used as bait


    All creeks, streams or rivers, permanent or temporary in Aurora, Beadle, Bon Homme, Brown, Clay, Davison, Edmunds, Faulk, Hand, Hanson, Hutchinson, Jerauld, Lincoln, McCook, McPherson, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Sanborn, Spink, Turner, Union, Yankton counties (except that portion ofLake Lewis and Clark and the Missouri River above Gavins Point Dam in Yankton and Bon Homme counties) and these individualwaters:

    Brookings County – Interstate

    Beadle County – Byron and Mud Butte County – Newell

    Deuel County – Alice

    Edmunds County – Mina

    Pennington County – Deerfield, Pactola, and Sheridan

    Yankton County – Yankton Lake

    Closed Waters

    All other public waters, except those where baitfish use is restricted and those posted as game fish rearing ponds or specialwaterfowl management areas, are open to the taking of bait by lawful anglers.


    There are no mesh-size or size restrictions for minnow traps, seines, dip nets, lift nets, or cast nets used to take bait fornoncommercial use.


    Bait traps must be clearly marked on the top of the trap with the user’s name and address.


    Lost or stolen bait traps must be reported to a GFP Conservation Officer within five days of discovering the loss.


    Bait traps may not be set to block more than one-half the width of a stream. Any trap throats exposed above the surface of thewater

    must be blocked by a solid shield or mesh to prevent the entrapment of waterfowl.


    To prevent unnecessary fish loss, traps must be checked and emptied at least once every 48 hours, May 15- Sept. 14 and atleast once every 96 hours, Sept. 15-May 14.


    Any game fish or threatened and endangered species taken in bait traps, nets or seines shall be immediately returned tothe waters from which taken.


    Rough fish taken in bait traps may be destroyed provided they are buried or disposed of in a manner conforming to public health,pollution and refuse laws.


    All waters of the state, including waters bordering with other states, are closed to the harvest of freshwater mussels and clams. Except for threatened, endangered or Aquatic Invasive Species, dead mussel shells may be possessed. A person may not buy, sell, barter, or trade any species of freshwater mussels or their shells.


    The South Dakota Boating Handbook is available from GFP offices and from County Treasurer offices or at


    No one may operate or give permission to operate a nonmotorized boat over 12 feet in length or a motorboat of any length onSouth Dakota waters unless a valid registration decal is displayed on each side of the bow of the boat. The registration must be available at all times whenever the boat is in operation.


    • Nonmotorized boats 12 feet or less in length.
    • Boats that are covered by a valid registration from another state that have not been in South Dakota for more than 60 consecutive days during any calendar year. However, boats subject to a contract for a berth for a period of 60 or more consecutive days during any calendar year in marina facilities located within South Dakota must be registered by the State ofSouth Dakota.
    • Boats that are documented by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and used on South Dakota waters for less than 60 consecutive days during any calendar year.

    However, USCG documented boats subject to a contract for a berth for a period of 60 or more consecutive days during any calendar year in marina facilities located within South Dakota must be registered by the State of South Dakota.


    No one may operate or give permission to operate a nonmotorized boat over 18 feet in length or a motorboat of any length onSouth Dakota waters unless the boat is numbered in accordance with state and federal law and the identifying number set forth inthe certificate of number is displayed on each side of the bow of the boat:

    • The assigned number comprises the letters “SD” followed by a group of three (or four) numbers followed by two (or three) letters.
    • The owner must permanently and securely display the numbers on each side of the forward part of the boat so that the numbers are clearly visible and readable at a distance of 100 feet on a clear day without the aid of a magnifying device when the boat is on the water.
    • The number displayed must be a plain block design – script or cursive design is prohibited.
    • The number must be a color that contrasts with the color of the vessel and be placed to read from left to right.
    • A space equal to one letter or number must be left between the letters “SD” and the group of three (or four) numbers that follows. Another space equal to one letter or number must be left between the group of three (or four) numbers and the final group of two (or three) letters.
    • No numbers or letters other than those assigned may appear on the forward part of the boat.
    Boat Numbers
    Boat Numbers


    The operator of a boat involved in an accident resulting in damage to a boat or other property to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more to any one person’s property or $2,000 or more total damage in any one accident, or resulting in death or injury to a person, must immediately by the quickest means of communication notify the nearest law enforcement officer of the accident. Notice is notrequired of any person who is physically incapable of giving immediate notice. If there is another occupant in the boat at the time of theaccident, that occupant shall make the notice if capable of doing so.


    Most South Dakota waters that have no wake zones are posted.

    The following South Dakota waters have boating or boat motor restrictions. This list is not all

    inclusive of boating restrictions within South Dakota. A complete listing of public water safety zones by county may be found within the South Dakota Boating Handbook or online at: aspx?Rule=41:04:02

    AURORA COUNTY: Wilmarth Lake, no wake zone.

    BEADLE COUNTY: Staum Dam, no wake zone.

    BON HOMME COUNTY: Lake Henry, no wake zone.

    BROWN COUNTY: Willow Dam Wildlife Management Area, no motor boats or motor vehicles; Putney Slough Game Production Area, no boating Oct. 20 - Dec. 31 in Secs. 7, 8, 17 and 18 in T124N, R61W; Richmond Lake, no wake zone during any timeat which the water level reaches the height of eighteen inches or more over the level of the top of the spillway.

    CLARK COUNTY: Reid Lake, no boating Oct. 20 - Dec. 31. Indian Springs and Antelope Lake, no fishing from a boat east of the424th Ave. line to 0.5 miles east of 427th Ave. line from Oct. 20-Dec. 31.

    CODINGTON COUNTY: McKilligan Lake, no boating during waterfowl seasons; Horseshoe Lake, no motors during waterfowl seasons; Blythe Slough in portions of Secs. 27 and 28 of T117N, R55W, no boating from March 1 - Aug. 31.

    CUSTER COUNTY: Sylvan, Legion, and Bismarck lakes electric motors only; Center Lake, no wake zone.

    DAVISON COUNTY: Lake Mitchell, no wake zone during any time at which the water level reaches the height of 12” or more over thelevel of the top of the spillway. Once in effect, no wake zone shall remain in effect until such time as the water level of the lake drops to the level of 6” over the level of the top of the spillway.

    DAY COUNTY: The waters within the boundary of Waubay National Wildlife Refuge are a “no motors zone”

    DEUEL COUNTY: Lake Oliver, no wake zone.

    EDMUNDS COUNTY: Mina Lake, no wake zone during any time at which the water level reaches the height of 18” or more overthe level of the top of the spillway.

    FALL RIVER COUNTY: Cold Brook and Cottonwood reservoirs, electric motors only.

    HAND COUNTY: Wall Lake, no motors during waterfowl seasons.

    HANSON COUNTY: Hanson Lake, no wake zone when lake elevation is 12” or greater over the spillway elevation.

    HUGHES COUNTY: Hipple Lake west of the buoy, electric motors only.

    HUTCHINSON COUNTY: Silver Lake, no boating during a Conservation Order and during any open season for migratory waterfowl, inclusive; Dimock, Tripp and Menno lakes, no wake zone.

    LAKE COUNTY: Long Lake, no wake zone (except the months of July and August).

    LINCOLN COUNTY: Lake Alvin and Lake Lakota, no wake zone; Rollings Game Production Area, electric motors only.

    McCOOK COUNTY: The waters of Lehrman Game Production Area in section 32, T103N, R56W are a “no boating zone” during a Conservation Order and during any open season for migratory waterfowl, inclusive.

    MEADE COUNTY: Bear Butte Lake, no wake zone.

    MINNEHAHA COUNTY: Clear Lake, no boating Oct. 20 - Dec. 31; Loss Lake, no wake zone; The waters within the manmade and natural connection between the north and south basins of Twin Lakes in Section 17, Range 52W, Township 103N are a no wake zone.

    MOODY COUNTY: Lake Campbell, no wake zone south of 220th St. (Moody County Road 1); Battle Creek, no wake zone from Lake Campbell south to the steel bridge one mile south of 221st St. (Moody County Road 2).

    PENNINGTON COUNTY: Deerfield Reservoir and Canyon Lake, no wake zone; Canyon Lake, electric motors only.

    ROBERTS COUNTY: Secs. 20, 28, 29, 32 and 33 of T128N, R49W of Cottonwood Lake Waterfowl Refuge, no boating zone during waterfowl seasons; and Secs. 11, 12 and 14 of T127N, R48W of Mud Lake, only boats using electric motors during waterfowl seasons.

    STANLEY COUNTY: No boating zone on Lake Sharpe south of the Lake Oahe Powerhouse from the “T-Dike” south to a signedpoint 2,100’ downstream inside the buoys; the waters inside Oahe Marina are a no wake zone; the waters from the mouth of the BadRiver upstream to the pedestrian footbridge are a no wake zone.

    TURNER COUNTY: Swan Lake, no motors on waters south and west of Christian Camp.

    YANKTON COUNTY: Marindahl Lake, no wake zone; Lake Yankton, electric motors only.

    For additional boating rules and guidelines on Black Hills lakes, contact the Black Hills National Forest office at 605.255.4515.


    All vessels (including canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and inflatable rafts) being operated on public waters of this state must have at least one wearable USCG– approved PFD for each person on board or being towed. Inflatable PFDs are not approved forpersons being towed.

    All vessels 16’ or longer, except canoes and kayaks, must also carry on board one USCG approved throwable device.

    All children under seven years of age must wear a PFD on any vessel operating at greater than “slow,

    no wake speed” unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin. Inflatable PFDs are not approved for children under 16 years ofage.

    A personal watercraft may not be operated unless each person on board is wearing a USCG– approved PFD. Inflatable PFDs are not approved for use on personal watercraft.

    A Type V hybrid PFD is acceptable only if it is worn at all times except when the person is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.Besides being USCG–approved, all PFDs must be:

    • In good and serviceable condition.
    • Readily accessible, which means you are able to put the PFD on quickly in an emergency.
    • Of the proper size for the intended wearer. Sizing for PFDs is based on body weight and chest size.

    For other specific regulations see the publication South Dakota Boating Handbook available at regional offices or online atgfp.


    Designated No Fishing Zones:

    • Blue Dog Lake State Fish Hatchery Ponds
    • Cleghorn Springs State Fish Hatchery Ponds
    • McNenny State Fish Hatchery Ponds
    • D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery Ponds
    • Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery Ponds

    No Fishing Zones when posted:

    • Whitlock Bay Fish Spawning Station
    • Big Stone Rearing Ponds
    • Other natural rearing ponds posted by GFP
    • GFP Outdoor Campus Ponds - fishing only allowed during GFP-organized events


    External felt sole footwear including boots and waders may not be used in the waters of South Dakota. This type ofwaders/boots can be a pathway for transmission of aquatic invasive species as the absorbent felt material can trap sediment and organic material which may include didymo (rock snot) cells, disease spores or invertebrate larvae.


    A person may not import live fish or any fish reproductive product into South Dakota without a valid importation permitissued by GFP, unless they are fishing on any border waters or they are importing fish designated for aquaria use.Importation permits will not be issued to anglers wishing to import baitfish for fishing in South Dakota inland waters.


    How to Measure a Fish

    How to Measure a Fish

    Lay the fish on its side, with the mouth closed and the tail lobes pressed together. Measure the length from the tip of the snoutto the end of the tail.

    LENGTH means the total length of a fish in inches, as measured in a straight line along a flat surface, from the tip ofthe snout to the tip of the tail, except when measuring paddlefish.



    • No person may deposit refuse in public waters.
    • No person may leave refuse on the ice.


    • » No person may release fish or fish eggs into public waters, unless they were taken from the same waters, without written authorization from GFP.

    » No person may stock baitfish or empty bait containers into public waters.

    » No person may release fish, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks or crustaceans not native to South Dakota into public waterswithout written authorization from GFP.

    Sell, Buy or Bartering

    • No person may sell, buy or barter game fish, except those lawfully taken by hoop net, floatline, setline or trap when allowed.
    • Lawfully taken fish that have been mounted may be sold.

    Illegal Means

    • » No person may possess, use or maintain certain nets, such as trammel or gill nets, unless they are a landowner authorizedby GFP to conduct certain fisheries management activities on man- made impoundments that only inundate private land.
    • No person my use explosives, electrical devices, poisonous chemicals or stupefying drugs to take fish.
    • No person my use a firearm to shoot fish, frogs or turtles.


    South Dakota residents with a valid fishing license or are under 18 years of age and exempt from licensing requirementsmay purchase additional specialty licenses to use hoop nets, traps, floatlines and setlines on the inland waters of theMissouri River, its western tributaries, Angostura, Belle Fourche, and Shadehill Reservoirs, and Nebraska border waters.

    Licenses are available through the GFP Licensing Office, 20641 SD Hwy 1806, Fort Pierre, SD 57532. A complete set of rules and the license application can also be viewed at


    High grading (culling) is the act of releasing fish that have been held in a livewell, on a stringer, or with other fish holdingdevices. High grading increases the likelihood of fish mortality due to extra fish handling and the presence of warm surfacewater in livewells and other fish holding devices. Anglers can help reduce unnecessary fish mortality by not high grading. Regulations restricting high grading do not prevent catch and release or selective harvest, but prohibit exchanging a fishheld in possession with a recently-caught fish.

    WALLEYE - High grading is prohibited statewide, including border waters.

    TROUT - High grading of all trout species isprohibited in the Black Hills Fish Management Area.


    • A line is defined as a length of string or cord to which a hook or artificial lure is attached for the purpose of catchingfish.
    • Two lines may be used for open-water fishing whereas four lines may be used for fishing through the ice.
    • Only two lines may be used in the South Dakota-Minnesota Border Waters year-round.
    • A line may have three hooks per line year-round, including the South Dakota-Minnesota Border Waters.
    • Only one end of each line may be equipped with hooks. An artificial lure constitutes one hook, regardless of the numberof gang hooks attached.
    • A legal bow and arrow, legal crossbow, legal spear, or legal speargun is to be counted as one line when anglers are usingmultiple lines.


    Each fish house, shanty, or other shelter utilized on the ice for the purpose of ice fishing or spearing must display the nameand address of the owner in letters at least two inches tall on the outside of the shelter. Portable shelters removed from the icedaily are exempt from the marking requirements. Shelter doors must permit entry at all times, except when unoccupied andlocked from the outside.

    On South Dakota-Minnesota border waters, shelters must be removed from the ice by midnight of March 5. After the removaldate, shelters may remain on the ice between midnight and one hour before sunrise only when occupied or attended.


    Walk-In Areas are closed to fishing except with landowner permission.

    No one may enter, use or occupy lands owned, leased, managed, or controlled by GFP for any purpose which interfereswith the management of the area, or the authorized use of the area by others.

    Only people using a state park, state recreation area, state nature area or state lakeside use area for lawful fishing,hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, boating or camping may enter any of the above areas from 11 p.m. - 6 a.m.

    Only persons engaged in lawful fishing, boating, hunting or trapping may enter any of the following areas from 11 p.m. -6 a.m. year-round: Public Shooting Areas, Game Production Areas, Wildlife Refuges, Lake and Fishing Access Areas, andPublic Water Access Areas.

    No person may use a motor vehicle for the purposes of fishing, hunting or trapping on any land under the control of theSouth Dakota Commissioner of School and Public Lands, except for roads, trails or parking areas designated and signed by GFP.

    Camping is only permitted in established campgrounds.

    Commercial activities (including guiding) are not allowed on lands owned by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, unlessauthorized by a special use permit. Anglers should contact the appropriate administrative agency with other questionsregarding land use of public lands not controlled by GFP.


    Anglers interested in pursuing paddlefish have three options: a spring snagging and archery season on Lake FrancisCase, a summer archery season or a fall snagging season in the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam, near Yankton, SD.The fishery below Gavins Point Dam is managed jointly with the state of Nebraska. Anglers wishing to participate in these seasons must apply for a permit issued by lottery drawing. The application deadline for permits issued for the Lake FrancisCase season is in February. The application deadline for permits issued for seasons below Gavins Point Dam is in Aprilfor the archery season and May for the snagging season.


    Open Area: Lake Francis Case from Fort Randall Dam upstream to Big Bend Dam and in the White River from the mouth upstream to HWY 47 bridge.

    Season: May 1 - 31.

    Method: Snagging or hand-drawn bow and arrow or crossbow.

    Landing Aids: Landing nets and similar devices. No gaffs allowed.

    Season Limit: One per valid permit and tag.

    Size Restrictions: None.

    Daily Paddlefish Snagging/Archery

    Hours: 6 a.m. - 9 p.m.

    Permit Fee: $25 residents (350 issued), nonresident permits will not be issued for this season.


    Open Area: Missouri River from Gavins Point Dam downstream to the mouth of the Big Sioux River (river mile 734).

    Season: June 1 - 30.

    Method: Hand-drawn bow and arrow or crossbow (crossbows may only be used downstream of the Highway 81 bridge).

    Landing Aids: Landing nets, gaffs, and similar devices.

    Season Limit: One per valid permit.

    Size Restrictions: None.

    Daily Paddlefish Archery Hours: Sunrise to sunset

    Permit Fee: $25 residents (255 issued), $25 nonresidents (20 issued).


    Open Area: Missouri River from Gavins Point Dam downstream to the mouth of the Big Sioux River (river mile 734) and on theBig Sioux River from the mouth upstream to the I-29 bridge.

    Season: Oct. 1 - 31.

    Method: Snagging.

    Landing Aids: Landing nets and similar devices. No gaffs allowed. Season Limit: One per valid permit. Size Restrictions: Any paddlefish taken measuring between 35”-45” inclusive, from front of the eye to the natural fork of the tail, must be immediately released to the water where it is caught.

    Daily Paddlefish Snagging Hours: 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

    Permit Fee: $25 residents (1,550 issued), $25 nonresidents (50 issued).


    Open Area: Lake Oahe from Oahe Dam to the North Dakota border

    Season: October 1 - November 30.

    Species: Salmon only. All other fish species snagged must be immediately released.

    Restrictions: Only one line with one hook may be used to snag salmon.


    The spearing and archery seasons allow licensed anglers to take fish with a legal spear, legal speargun, legal crossbow orbow and arrow, with some restrictions for specific seasons and dates for game fish and rough fish.


    Spear: A shaft with a sharp, barbed point or points propelled by muscle power.

    Speargun: A muscle-loaded device propelling a spear attached to a line no more than 20’ long.

    Bow and Arrow: A hand-drawn bow that has an arrow with at least one barbed point attached to the bow by a line.

    Crossbow: A bow mounted crosswise on a stock equipped with a functional mechanical safety device that discharges aprojectile with at least one barbed point attached to the crossbow by a line.


    One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Refer to the rough fish section for specific time periods when rough fishmay be taken 24 hours per day on South Dakota inland and border waters.


    Length limits are the same as for hook and line fishing. Daily and possession limits are the same as, and in combination with, hook and line limits. Rough fish taken by spearing or archery must be retained.


    Divers and anyone using an underwater air supply, including a snorkel, must display a diver-down flag firmly attached to asecurely anchored float, rubber tube, diver or boat while diving. The flag must be at least 12” by 15” and must be red with a whitediagonal strip running from the upper left corner to the lower right corner. Divers must also stay within 75’ of the flag. Diver-down flags are not required in areas where motorboat or sailboat operation is prohibited.


    Underwater spearfishing is not permitted within 100 yards of designated swimming or waterskiing areas, boat docks, power intake tubes or spillways.

    Underwater diving is not permitted where placement of the diver-down flag would restrict boat access at public access ramps or watercraft navigation.

    Boats using internal combustion engines may not be operated within 75’ of a diver-down flag unless the boat is part of or related to the diving activity.

    Artificial light may be used to take game fish and rough fish by legal methods.

    Spearing and archery are prohibited in Angostura Marina and Lewis and Clark Marina.


    Rough fish, excluding protected species, may be taken by legal spear, speargun, bow and arrow or crossbow from all inlandand border waters year-round any time of day or night.

    Catfish in the Missouri River Inland Waters are considered rough fish for management purposes and can be taken year-round any time of date or night.


    Game fish may be taken with legal crossbows, spear guns, spears, and bow and arrow in the following areas with therestrictions listed.


    People actively engaged in spearfishing/bowfishing may not possess speared game fish in areas not open to the spearing ofgame fish.


    Season/ Location





    All inland waters, including the Missouri River inland waters. EXCEPT: Lynn, Middle Lynn and Amsden (Day County), Lake Sinai and Twin Lake east of U.S. Hwy 81 (Brookings County), Twin

    Lake west of U.S. Hwy 81 (Kingsbury County), and North Island and South Island Lakes (McCook and Minnehaha Counties).

    Northern pike and all catfish species

    Missouri River Inland Waters

    May 1 - March 31

    Lake Francis Case Lake Sharpe Lake Oahe

    On the Missouri River fromFt. Randall Dam downstream 5.5 miles tothe Nebraska border

    All game fish species except paddlefish, muskie, and sturgeon



    May 1 - March 31

    All inland waters, EXCEPT:walleye may not be taken fromHorseshoe and Reetz Lakes (Day County), Twin Lake(Minnehaha County)

    All game fish species except paddlefish, muskie, and sturgeon



    May 1 - March 31

    All inland waters

    All game fish species except paddlefish, muskie, and sturgeon

    Black Hills

    May 1 - March 31

    All inland waters

    All game fish species except paddlefish, muskie, sturgeon, trout and salmon


    Border Waters

    July 1 - Dec. 31

    Missouri River from the Big Sioux confluence upstream to the South Dakota-Nebraska state line where the river is entirely within South Dakota. (This includes Lewis and Clark Lake)

    All game fish species except paddlefish, muskie and sturgeon


    Border Waters

    Nov. 15 (annually) - Feb. 28, 2022

    All boundary waters except the Bois de Sioux River

    Northern pike and all catfish species


    Diver-Down Flag

    Boaters and divers are encouraged to exhibit courtesy on the water.

    • Diver-down flags indicate a diver is within 75 feet.
    • Boats may not be operated using an internal combustion engine within 75 feet of a diver down flag.
    • Boats under the power of an electric motor may legally be operated within 75 feet of a diver-down flag.
    • A diver-down flag must be anchored to a float, a rubber tube, a diver, or a boat to indicate a diver is near.


    A valid fishing license is required to take turtles, smelt, and bullfrogs.

    TURTLES (all species except false map)

    Season: Year-round

    Daily Limit: 2 of each species Possession Limit: 4 of each species Legal Methods: Hook and line, legal minnow seines, gaff hooks, legal spears, or legal turtle trap.

    Traps with mesh less than 4” square must have an opening at least 6”

    in diameter leading from it or an entrance opening suspended at or above the water level.

    Traps must be clearly marked with the owner’s name and address. It is illegal to buy, sell, barter or trade any species of turtle,including parts thereof. A person may not export snapping turtles for any purpose other than personal consumption.


    Season: Year-round

    Limit: 5 gallons daily, no possession limit

    Legal Methods: Smelt may be taken by hook and line, dip nets, lift nets, cast nets and seines.

    Restriction: Live smelt cannot be transported.


    Season: Year-round

    Daily Limit: 15

    Possession Limit: 30

    Restriction: Frogs may not be taken with firearms.



    Public Storage: Public storage is any business that stores game birds, game fish or game animals for a fee or a convenience andhas a South Dakota sales tax license. No person may place into public storage any game bird, game fish or game animal unless the game bird, game fish or game animal hasattached to it a tag showing the owner’s name and address, the number and species of bird, fish or animal and the date the bird, fish oranimal was placed in storage. Any person who accepts into public storage any game bird, game fish, or game animal must post notice of the taggingrequirements of this section in a conspicuous place adjacent to the public storage.

    Domicile: A person’s established, fixed and permanent home to which the person, whenever absent, has the present intention of returning.

    Wildlife Processing Facility: Any person or entity that has a South Dakota sales tax license to operate a business thatreceives,

    possesses or has in custody any wild animal belonging to another person for purposes of picking, skinning, cleaning, freezing, processing or storage.


    No wildlife processing facility may:

    • Receive or have in custody any wild animal unless accurate records are maintained that can identify each wild animal received by, or in the custody of, the facility by the name of the person from whom the wild animal was obtained, and show the number of each species; the date each wild animal was received; the name and address of the owner of each wild animal that was received; the date each wild animal was disposed of; and the name of the person or business to whom each wild animal was delivered, or
    • Destroy any records required to be maintained under this section for a period of one year following receipt of each wild animal,or
    • Allow any wild animal, or parts thereof, to leave the facility without a receipt bearing the name of the facility, number and speciesof wild animals and the name of the owner of each wild animal.


    No wildlife processing facility may prevent any department representative from entering the facilities during normal business hours and inspecting any wild animal, records and the premises of the facility.


    A person may ship his or her own lawfully possessed fish by common carrier. The container with the fish inside must have affixed to the outside of the container a clearly visible statement containing the following information:

    • » Name, address and license number of the person shipping the fish.
    • The number and species of fish in the container.
    • The date of shipment.
    • The name and address of the person to whom the fish has been shipped.


    To legally transport fish you must:

    • Not transport fish fillets unless those fillets can be readily counted.
    • Package frozen fish individually for transportation or when placed in public storage.
    • Tag and identify any fish placed in public storage.
    • Remember that individual pieces of fish constitute one fillet; two fillets are the equivalent of one fish.


    Transportation permits allow one person to transport another person’s legally taken fish. Transportation permits are not givenas a means of allowing a person to exceed his or her possession limit. Permits will not be issued before they are needed. Followthese steps to obtain a permit:

    » Contact a Conservation Officer or GFP office to arrange a meeting place and time.

    » All persons involved must meet with the officer and bring their fishing licenses and fish to be transported.


    Except where provided, no person may barter, sell or offer for sale at any time or knowingly purchase any fish taken or killed in any of the waters of this state. Lawfully taken fish that have been mounted may be sold.


    A licensee may gift game and fish, or any part of game and fish, to another person if each of the following conditions is met:

    • The game/fish was lawfully taken, caught or killed; and
    • The number or amount of game/fish gifted does not place the recipient in violation of any season, daily or possession limit established for the species of game/fish beinggifted; and
    • If gifting to an unlicensed person, the licensee shall gift the game/fish at the domicile of the recipient. For the purpose of this rule, gift means the voluntary transfer of game/ fish from any person to another without fee or consideration.


    Two protected sturgeon species are native to the Missouri River system. The Pallid Sturgeon is listed as both a federal and stateendangered species and the Shovelnose Sturgeon is federally listed as threatened due to the similarity in appearance to the Pallid. The season is closed year-round on all sturgeon species in South Dakota.

    Pallid Sturgeon and Shovelnose Sturgeon

    Least terns and piping plovers are shorebirds protected by state endangered and threatened species laws. They nest on sandyshores and islands along the Missouri River. The piping plover is also protected as a federal threatened species. It is illegal to disturbor harass these bird species because this can cause nest failure. Many large colonies are fenced to protect the camouflaged nests and young birds from harm, but smaller colonies may not be fenced. Do not disturb these rare birds at nesting sites, and do not allow unsupervised dogs to visit these colonies.

    Piping Plover and Least Tern
    Least Tern Image © USFWS / Piping Plover Image © Doug Backlund


    The purpose of this information is not to discourage people from eating fish. Rather - It is intended as a guide to help you select sizes and species of fish low in mercury. By following these recommendations, people can enjoy the benefits of eating fish. The South Dakota Dept. of Health, Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and GFP cooperate to test fish for metals, pesticides and PCBs.

    Almost 150 of South Dakota’s most popular fishing waters have been tested for fish contaminates and as a result, fish consumption advisories have been issued for elevated mercury levels on waters listed below.


    General: Includes men, children over seven years of age, and women who do not fit into the category entitled, “high risk.” Fish consumption mayexceed the recommended rate for a period of time as long as consumptionaverages to one seven-ounce meal per week. A seven-ounce portion is roughly the size of two decks of playing cards.

    High Risk: Includes any woman who is pregnant, plans to becomepregnant or is nursing. The consumption recommendation is based upon a woman weighing approximately 140 pounds. Fish consumption should not exceed the recommendation of seven ounces per month (12 meals/year).

    Children: Includes children under seven years of age. Fish consumption should not exceed the recommendation of four ounces per month (12 meals/year).

    Additional advisories may have been issued after the time this publication was printed. For more information about waters not included in the list of current consumptionadvisories, please visit advisories.aspx.





    Elm Lake

    Brown County

    Walleye (>25 inches)

    Newell Lake

    Butte County

    Walleye (>18 inches) Northern Pike (>18 inches)

    Reid Lake

    Clark County

    Walleye (>23 inches)

    Dry Lake #2

    Clark County

    Walleye (>22 inches)

    Swan Lake

    Clark County

    Walleye (>21 inches)

    Long Lake

    Codington County

    Walleye (>17 inches)

    Pudwell Dam

    Corson County

    Walleye (>18 inches)

    Crappie (>12 inches)

    Bitter Lake

    Day County

    Walleye (all sizes) Northern Pike (>30 inches)


    Day County

    Walleye (>21 inches)

    Lake Minnewasta

    Day County

    Walleye (>18 inches)

    Lardy Lake

    Day County

    Walleye (>25 inches)

    Lynn Lake

    Day County

    Walleye (>18 inches)

    Middle Lynn Lake

    Day County

    Walleye (>18 inches)

    Opitz Lake

    Day County

    Northern Pike (>26 inches)

    Lake Isabel

    Dewey County

    Northern Pike (>25 inches) Largemouth Bass (>17 inches)

    Little Moreau Lake

    Dewey County

    Northern Pike (>26 inches)

    Twin Lakes

    Kingsbury, Brookings Counties

    Walleye (>18 inches) Northern Pike (>19 inches)

    North & South Buffalo Lake

    Marshall County

    Walleye (>21 inches)

    Kiesz Dam

    McPherson County

    Walleye (>16 inches)

    North Island Lake

    Minnehaha, McCook Counties

    Walleye (>18 inches)

    Smallmouth Bass (>18 inches)

    Scott Lake

    Minnehaha County

    Walleye (>25 Inches)

    Twin Lakes

    Minnehaha County

    Walleye (all sizes)

    New Wall Lake

    Pennington County

    Crappie (>13 inches)

    Largemouth Bass (>16 inches)

    Coal Springs Reservoir

    Perkins County

    Northern Pike (>25 inches)

    Lake Hurley

    Potter County

    Largemouth Bass (>18 inches)

    Lake Roosevelt

    Tripp County

    Largemouth Bass (>18 inches)

    Northern Pike (>24 inches)


    AIS Fish

    These species can directly and inderectly compete with gamr fish for food, spance and cover. Jumping silver carp can injure boaters or water skiers.

    • European Rudd
    • Snakehead
    • Common Carp
    • Black Carp
    • Silver Carp / Bighead Carp
    • Western Mosquitofish
    • Round Goby
    • White Perch

    AIS Invertebrates

    Many of these species remove large amounts of plankton which is then unavailable as food for young game fish. They also cause extensive economic damages by clogging pipes and equipment for drinking water, irrigation, and power production. They may also foul up the taste and smell of water supplies and increas toxic-blue algae blooms

    • Zebra Mussel
    • Quagga Mussel
    • Rusty Crayfish
    • Asian Clam
    • New Zealand Mudsnail
    • Red-Rimmed Melania
    • Red Swamp Crayfish
    • Spiny Water Flea

    AIS Plants

    These species can form dense mats which allows them to out-compete native plants and also limits baoting and fishing.

    • Brittle Naiad
    • Didymo
    • Common Reed
    • Curlyleaf Pondweed
    • Flowering Rush
    • Eurasian Water Milfoil
    • Purple Loosestrife
    • Starry Stonewort


    Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) can have negative effects to South Dakota waters, including: reducing game fish populations,impacting water quality and interfering with recreational boating.


    External felt sole footwear (boots and waders) may not be used in South Dakota waters.

    A person may not possess, transport, sell, purchase or propagate an AIS except for:

    • A person possessing a valid scientific collector’s permit;
    • A person authorized by GFP to stock triploid grass carp for pond management purposes;
    • A person contracted by GFP to conduct commercial fishing operations;
    • A commercial plant harvester operating within the requirements of a department approved work plan or a lakeshore property owner operating within the requirements of a GFP approved permit;
    • A person in the process of removing an AIS from a boat, boat dock or lift or related equipment;
    • An owner or agent of the owner of a boat, boat dock or lift, or related equipment in the process of transporting the boat fordecontamination using a department-approved process; or
    • An employee of a business approved by the department to transport and possess boats, boat docks and lifts for the purpose of watercraft decontamination.
    • A lakeshore property owner in the process of transporting aquatic invasive species for disposal in a manner that minimizes possible introduction to new waters.
    • In the case of fish and crayfish species, only dead specimens may be transported or possessed.


    All plants, mud, animals, or other organic material must be removed from boats and trailers except for:

    • An owner or agent of the owner of a boat with a shooting or observational blind constructed of aquatic macrophytescut above the water line, attached to or in boat.

    A person may not launch or attempt to launch a boat, motorboat, boat trailer, boat dock, or boat lift of any kind into the waters of South Dakota with an aquatic invasive species attached or onboard except for:

    • An owner or agent of the owner of a conveyance with dressinid mussels attached that is subsequently launched directlyinto the infested water from which it was removed, if the conveyance was stored on the riparian property of the owner or at amarina business property on the infested water, prior to launch

    Except for emergency response boats, all trailered boats shall have all drain plugs, bailers, valves or other devices used to control the drainage of water opened or removed and kept out, except while in a boat ramp parking area, or while being launched orloaded.


    Any vehicle transporting a boat, other watercraft, or related equipment must stop at open AIS inspection stations.

    Should an aquatic invasive species be found or suspected to be present as a result of an inspection, a Department approved decontamination will be required prior to launching.


    Except when in a boat ramp parking area o

    r on the water, bait and fish cannot be transported in water from a lake, river, orstream.

    NOTE: Silver and bighead carp that jump into a boat or are netted from the air using a dip net may be kept. Only dead silver andbighead carp may be transported.

    Inspect Everything



    Asian Clam, Curlyleaf Pondweed


    New Zealand Mudsnail


    Bighead Carp, Grass Carp, Silver Carp


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Curlyleaf Pondweed, Zebra Mussel


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Red-Rimmed Melania




    Zebra Mussel


    Zebra Mussel


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Zebra Mussel


    Red-Rimmed Melania


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    European Rudd


    European Rudd


    Bighead Carp, Grass Carp, Silver Carp


    European Rudd, Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Bighead Carp, Silver Carp


    Zebra Mussel


    Flowering Rush


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Zebra Mussel, Asian Clam, Eurasian Watermilfoil, European Rudd, Curlyleaf Pondweed, Purple Loosetrife, Phragmites


    Zebra Mussel


    Flowering Rush


    Curlyleaf Pondweed, Zebra Mussel


    European Rudd, Curlyleaf Pondweed, Eurasian Watermilfoil


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Zebra Mussel, Asian Clam, European Rudd, Curlyleaf Pondweed, Eurasian Watermilfoil, Purple Loosestrife


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Zebra Mussels, Asian Clam, Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Zebra Mussel, Asian Clam, Rusty Crayfish, Red Swamp Crayfish, European Rudd, Brittle Naiad, Curlyleaf Pondweed, Eurasian Watermilfoil, Purple Loosestrife


    Zebra Mussel, Brittle Naiad, Curlyleaf Pondweed


    European Rudd


    Bighead Carp, Grass Carp, Silver Carp, Asian Clam, Zebra Mussel, Rusty Crayfishy, European Rudd, Brittle Naiad, Red SwampCrayfish


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    European Rudd


    European Rudd, Zebra Mussel


    Curlyleaf Pondweed, Zebra Mussel


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Curlyleaf Pondweed, Didymo, Purple Loosestrife


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    European Rudd, Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Zebra Mussel


    Curlyleaf Pondweed


    Bighead Carp, Grass Carp, Silver Carp

    For a complete list of AIS regulations and the most current list of AIS infested waters, visit SDLEASTWANTED.SD.GOV.


    SELF-INSPECTION: Users should perform a self-inspection of their watercraft after every trip on the water using the acronym H.E.A.D.

    • Hull: examine both sides of the hull below the waterline and the trailer.
    • Engine: inspect the engine, look for AIS in dark areas, right angles, and rough spots, and drainwater from your lower unit.
    • Anchor: examine interior compartments, anchor, and ropes.
    • Dry: pull all plugs and leave them out until your next launch.



    GFP has rules in place that prohibit any person from modifying a shoreline or bottomland without permission. These rules are inplace to help protect South Dakota’s water resources for the benefit, welfare, and enjoyment of all citizens and visitors.

    Before you proceed with any work on, alteration, or disturbance of a lake, lakebed, or lakeshore, a “Permit to Alter Lakeshore or Bottom Lands” must be issued by GFP. There is no cost for the application, and it can be found on gfp. or at any GFP office.

    Activities for which a permit may be required include:

    • Construction of ditches or channels
    • Dredging or excavating to remove sediment, or rock
    • Seawall installation or repairs
    • Retaining wall or breakwater construction
    • Rip-rap installation or repairs
    • Filling or creating artificial beach
    • Stockpiling brush, trees, vegetation, construction materials or debris in the lake or on the shore
    • Removal or clearing of aquatic vegetation
    • Any other activity that may have an impact on the lake, lakebed, or lakeshore

    Any person that performs work in the lake, lakebed, or lakeshore without a permit for that work may be required to restore the lake,lakebed, or lake- shore to its original condition before it was disturbed. GFP staff will assess both singular and cumulative impacts of a proposed project on the lake and its resources, taking into consideration the natural resource, natural scenic beauty, and recreational opportunities. The overall goal of thepermitting process is to strike a balance between people us- ing South Dakota’s water resources while protecting them for futuregenerations.


    Dock styles, shapes, and accessories have come a long way in recent years to meet the desires and needs of today’s lake patrons.GFP would like to remind you that these structures are used on a public resource and are therefore regulated:

    • A dock may not extend over the water for more than 60 feet
    • The walking platform must be at least 30 inches wide but no wider than 10 feet
    • A boat lift, “T” or “L”, or a similar attachment may not be placed more than 60 feet from shore
    • All docks must be securely anchored in place to prevent drifting
    • Docks cannot be placed where they become a public nuisance or severely distract the aesthetic value to the public waters and the shoreline of adjacent properties
    • Only landowners whose property adjoins public waters can place a dock within the riparian boundaries of the landowner’s property
    • Landowners whose property is 50 feet or less in width are allowed to place no more than one stationary dock and one floatingdock in the water
    • Landowners whose property is more than 50 feet wide are allowed to place no more than two stationary docks and one floating dock in the water
    • Docks placed on the Missouri River and its reservoirs are administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    If you wish to place a dock that does not conform to these requirements, contact a GFP office to see if you qualify for a variance permit.