Lake Sharpe Walleye, Sauger, and Hybrids
Regulations for Lake Sharpe Walleye
Walleye limits for Lake Sharpe are the same as the South Dakota statewide standards of 4 fish daily and 8 in possession.Â
The daily limit may include only one walleye 20 inches or longer and a 15-inch minimum length limit is in effect during all months except July and August.
Walleye Fishing Trends for 2015
Fishing activity peaks at different times in different areas on Lake Sharpe.Â Fishing usually is best in the spring and fall in the upper region, near Pierre, and then progresses downstream to the lower third of the lake.Â
During mid-May, fishing improves in the lower third of the reservoir and remains good throughout the summer.Â
A walleye population, as with any fish population, has many ups and downs due to many factors, such as weather, water conditions, food resources, and angler harvest.Â In 2014, the walleye abundance index was 9 fish per net, which is well below the long term average.
The abundance of walleye over 15 inches has decreased in 2014. Of the 9 walleye caught per net in 2014, on average, less than 4 walleye per net exceeded 15 inches or 37 percent of the population.Â
Walleye produced in 2010 and prior have grown longer than 15 inches. Walleye produced in 2011 should grow beyond 15 inches in 2015 and provide angling opportunities for the future.
The 2014 net catches were lower than expected but angler catches were still above average indicating an abundant walleye population.Â Netting conditions in 2014 were not ideal due to wind, forage, and water flows which may have negatively effected gill net catches.Â
Walleye condition (or plumpness) along with the growing conditions of walleye good, indicting a promising future for fishing for Lake Sharpe.
How easy fish are to catch is influenced by many factors including the number of adult walleye in the population, age of fish (younger fish are typically easier to catch), food availability, water conditions, etc.Â
In 2014, lake-wide walleye catches by anglers were above average. Fishing was particularly good in the Pierre area.
In 2015, the catches of walleye by anglers should continue to be fair despite a lower abundance of walleye currently in the population.
Gizzard Shad: Lake Sharpe's Primary Forage
In Lake Sharpe, gizzard shad are the primary prey species.Â
The majority of young gizzard shad die each winter due to cold water temperatures and relatively few adults survive each winter.Â
In the spring, these adults spawn and produce thousands of young that feed Lake Sharpe fish for the rest of the year. If spawning conditions are not ideal for gizzard shad, there will be less food for walleye and other predator species.Â When conditions are right, adult gizzard shad will produce a high number of young, providing ample food for all predatory fish in Lake Sharpe.
In Lake Sharpe, fishing patterns develop due to the reliance of walleyes and other fish on young gizzard shad as food.
In the spring, when gizzard shad numbers are low, walleye are easier to catch.Â
In the summer, as the gizzard shad become large enough for walleye to eat, walleye are harder to catch because they have full stomachs.
In the fall, walleye become more susceptible to anglers as they migrate upstream and concentrate in the upper end of Lake Sharpe.Â