Welcome to SouthDakotaLakes.info
SouthDakotaLakes.info, is a virtual guide with maps for the lakes in South Dakota. This is a free website that encourages conversation and building relationships with new people. This website is constantly being updated so feel free to give suggestions and recommendations. Tell us how we can make the experience better for the topic of South Dakota Lakes. If your have any reports or information about the lakes, and would like to share, commenting on that specific lake page is encouraged. We want to know what species of fish you find.
How the South Dakota Lakes are Organized,
This website is divided into four sections. Each section contains counties with individual lake guides with maps. Eastern South Dakota also called East River is designated for the land East of the Missouri River. This land is generally used for agricultural crops and livestock. The mid to long grass prairie creates a unique ecosystem with flat land, long grass, and few trees. Most of the major lakes in Eastern South Dakota were created by receding glaciers at the end of the last ice age. The extreme North Eastern portion of South Dakota is known as the Glacial Lakes region. These South Dakota lakes are numerous and grouped closely. Many of the other Lakes and Dams East river are man made to assist in agriculture and human welfare. Western South Dakota also known as West River is designated as the land West of the Missouri River. This land is generally used for livestock production with some crops. Western South Dakota gets significantly less annual precipitation than the rest of the state. Due to this lack of moisture West River is know as a short grass prairie. There are only a few natural lakes in Western South Dakota the majority of the water is stored in dam’s and reservoirs for agriculture. The Missouri River cuts the South Dakota in half. The Missouri also known as ‘the Muddy Mo’ has four distinct reservoirs. Lake Oahe, Lake Sharp, Lake Francis Case, and Lewis & Clark Lake are all divided by dams used for hydro electric power generation. It is no secret that the Missouri River is the life blood of South Dakota creating world class fishing, boating, and outdoor recreation opportunities. The final section of southdakotalakes.info is dedicated to the Black Hills. This unique and distinctive geographic region is located in the extreme southwest of South Dakota. Unlike the rest of the state the Black Hills has mountainous terrain with conifer and deciduous forests. The lakes in the Black Hills are mostly created by precipitation therefore have high water clarity and pristine quality. Most of the lakes in the Black Hills are stocked with fish including trout and bass.
Fishing in South Dakota Lakes
There are natural and stocked fish populations in South Dakota lakes. Some of the indigenous species are physically small and undesirable. Land use by humans and our pollution has put some fish at risk of extinction. A majority of the wetlands that historically dominated South Dakota have been diverted or been drained. Humans also developed dug outs, or stock dams. These areas provide water for crop irrigation and habitat for fish. The competition is fierce, especially because game species like Bass, Northern Pike, and Trout have been stocked. Some large endangered fish like the ancient Paddlefish or Sturgeon are found in the Missouri river. These rare fish have different life styles and habitat requirements. We need to be conscious of endangered species and conserve them. The majority of the natural habitat currently developed, time is not on our side. This is a link to the South Dakota State Record for Fish.
Walleye in my opinion is the most desired game fish in South Dakota lakes. Naturally a river fish some indigenous populations do occur. No doubt that the Missouri River provides world class walleye fishing. With regular annual fishing tournaments and celebrations, walleye, help the local community economies. They are also heavily fished in the Glacial Lakes region of SD. Many environmental conditions create a unique walleye fishing experience. Because of the parries the wind blows unrestricted. Mud and dirt wash and blow into the lakes and rivers. This disturbances causes visible lines in the muddy water. Mud Lines are often exploited by walleye waiting for disorientated bait fish to expose themselves. The lakes also go through extreme temperature shifts through the year. Shallow bays warm up fast in the summer and freeze in the winter. The temperature change causes fish to move and migrate. In conclusion the best way to find the fish is to become familiar with environmental cycles. Yellow Perch are also found across the State. The Walleye’s colorful cousin is also a great fish to catch.
There are several species of Bass found in South Dakota. Largemouth Bass have been stocked in many of the lakes and dugouts. The Missouri River has a wider variety of species. Silver Bass can be harvested easily from shore. Anglers often catch Silver Bass while Cat fishing. Smallmouth Bass can be found in rivers and lakes in Eastern South Dakota. Several species live in select lakes in the Black Hills. Please look at the specific lake guides for more information.
There are several different species of trout found in South Dakota lakes. Most trout require conditions not found in the region. Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout are mostly introduced. State and local hatcheries provide fingerlings to stock the lakes and streams in the Black Hills. It is very unlikely that these fish reproduce naturally. Lake Trout adapt to different areas. Deep cold lakes like Pactola Reservoir hold these fish.The Missouri River has a decent population of Lake Trout. The Rivers large volume of water and great depths provide lake trout with desirable conditions.
Living in deep water for most of their life cycle. The Chinook Salmon resides in the Missouri River of South Dakota. Their ancient migratory patterns now stopped by Hydroelectric Dams. Local and State game and wildlife officials stock and collect the salmon on their life long journey to reproduction. West Whitlock State park has a Salmon Station. Every year eggs and Milt are collected with the fish that make it up the ladder. Anglers can take advantage of the sudden influx of fish into the area. However, the fish are here to mate and die. The farther along in the life cycle the less interested they become in eating our bait.
Northern Pike are true predators. Found throughout South Dakota’s Lakes, this fish is fun to catch. Pike are a larger species of Game Fish.in the area. With razor sharp teeth they can ruin any walleye fisherman’s day. Make sure to bring steel leaders and a pair of needle nose pliers. My baits of choice include Spinner Baits, Buzz Baits, and Spoons. Because of their consumption needs Pike often carry the contaminate mercury. The poison can bio accumulate into harmful levels. It is not recommended to eat large fish. Musky can also be found in several places. This Northern Pike relative stays in the big waterways like the Missouri River.
There are many species of Panfish found in the lakes of South Dakota. These smaller fish are fun for the whole family. Some species like Bluegill and Sunfish can be found throughout the state. Many lakes in the Black Hills Contain Panfish. Crappie have larger populations in the glacial lakes region of the state. try using a small jig with a worm.
The muddy mo has some cats. Big Channel Catfish will swim in herds along the shore. Cat fishing is one of the funniest things to do in the summer near the Missouri River. This sport also is good for fishermen with out watercraft. The catfish swim up and down the shoreline looking for food. Take a regular jig with a worm and you bound to catch some big fish. Bullhead can be found in many of the lakes across the state. The Catfishes smaller cousin often carries worms in their meat. Especially when the water temperature is high.
Notices and Disclosures,
SouthDakotaLakes.info promotes conservative efforts toward our natural resources. Make sure to have prior permission and licensing before entering private or permitted land. Please adhere to fishing limits and practice catch and release to promote a great experience for future generations. Some lakes within the website permit motorized boats where others do not. Make sure to check current regulations or boat ramp closures for watercraft activities. Certain water bodies hold contaminates that can hurt people from exposure. Check with local health officials if you suspect infringements through pollution. There are several lakes with the same or different names. Check out the map and county for more information on locations. Some lakes or sloughs in South Dakota do not have fish in them, or have recently dried up. Many lakes and areas with shallow bays may freez through killing the fish. We are not responsible for your interpretation of any fishing guides. There are seven different Native American Reservations within South Dakota make sure to respect their laws as well as the state and federal laws that regulate South Dakota’s resources. Check with the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks as well as the Black Hills National Forest websites. Some of the links and lake maps in this guide may not show up, or fail to load. We are not responsible for the misuse or accuracy of this website’s information, third party applications, or any consequences of any peoples actions. All Rights Reserved