central lakes and small impoundments
Fish Sampling Results
In addition to the Missouri River, a variety of fishing opportunity is available on central South Dakota's lakes and small impoundments. These smaller bodies of water, many of which are less than 100 acres in size, provide quality panfish, perch, bass and pike angling during both summer and winter months. Bluegill and crappie are favorites for an excellent family fishing experience, yellow perch are sought after by anglers year around, and trophy largemouth bass and northern pike are commonly found in these lakes and small impoundments. There are more than fifty public lakes and impoundments located in central South Dakota providing a variety of fishing opportunity outside of the Missouri River.
Fisheries managers and biologists from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks conduct a variety of surveys on lakes and small impoundments in central South Dakota to assess adult fish populations, young fish recruitment, fishing pressure, and harvest. These fisheries surveys help evaluate the condition of the lake's fishery as well as the benefit of past management practices. Surveys are often the basis for future management activities such as stocking, harvest regulations, and habitat improvement projects.
Summer lake surveys provide information on fish communities. Some lakes are surveyed annually, other less frequently. A variety of fish collection gears may be used during a survey including gill nets, frame nets, seines, and electrofishing equipment. In general, gill nets are used to sample walleye and yellow perch. Northern pike, bluegills, crappies, bullheads and catfish are sampled with frame nets. Boat electrofishing is used to capture largemouth and smallmouth bass and seining along the shoreline samples the juvenile fish and baitfish species. All fish of each species captured during lake surveys are counted with a representative sample weighed and measured. This provides managers and biologists with information on population structure, size distribution, and relative condition or health of the fish. A scale, or other bony structure, is also taken from a sample of individual fish to determine fish age and growth.
Utilizing all of the information that has been collected and analyzed during the fish population surveys, and with input from the public, managers and biologists complete a fisheries management plan. A management plan is written for many individual public lakes and small impoundments in central South Dakota every five years. Fisheries management plans consist of an inventory, a goal, objectives, and strategies. The inventory describes the physical aspects of the water body as well as discusses the history of the fishery and past management practices. The goal is a broad statement that defines the overall desired result. Objectives are specific accomplishments that are to be completed by a set time and strategies are the fisheries management practices to be used to meet those objectives.
The management plan is used as an outline for future fisheries activities. Practices such as fish stocking, rough fish removal, and changes in harvest regulations, along with future scheduled surveys, are all described in the management plan. Though the plan provides a guideline for future management on a water, managers and biologists must be flexible and adjust the objectives and strategies to meet changes in the fish populations and environmental conditions.
Fisheries management questions regarding central South Dakota's lakes and small impoundments can be directed to Dan Jost or Jason Jungwirth, South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks - Mobridge, SD 605.845.7814.
Technical terminology mentioned in the lake survey reports.
Abbreviations for fish species used in information below.
Graphical Summary of Central SD Lake and Small Impoundment Fish Population Surveys
Anglers should consult the South Dakota Fishing Handbook to know the fisheries regulations for the waters that they intend to fish.