Lewis and Clark Lake Fishing Forecast
Annual fisheries surveys are conducted on Lewis and Clark Lake to monitor fish population trends. Electrofishing, gill netting, and seining are used to collect information that helps biologists monitor trends in fish populations.
Angler surveys are conducted during some years to gather information on angler use and harvest. These long-term trends in fish population status and angler use are used by biologists to make management decisions and determine regulations.
Key Issues in 2014 for Lewis and Clark Lake
- High flows from the 2011 flood altered habitat throughout the reservoir, especially in the river reaches and the upstream areas of the reservoir. Large amounts of sediment were moved around within the reservoir and deposited in new areas. Anglers are cautioned that there will be sandbars and other obstructions where there was deep water before and deeper areas in places that were relatively shallow prior to the flood.
- Sedimentation is a very important process occurring in Lewis and Clark Lake. Large amounts of sediment are deposited by the Niobrara River which contributes to the growing delta near Springfield, SD. As the physical characteristics of Lewis and Clark Lake change, anglers will need to adjust their fishing strategies.
- Walleye recruitment has been low from 2009 through 2011; however, the 2007 and 2008 year classes were especially strong, and will continue to provide good fishing opportunity while the young 2012 and 2013 year classes continue to grow towards the minimum length limit
- Walleye production was high in 2013 and this large year class should reach 15 inches by the end of 2016.
- 2013 channel catfish abundance was above average in Lewis and Clark Lake and should provide good angling opportunities for many years.
- Angling success is often affected by prey fish abundance. During years with good numbers of gizzard shad throughout the summer/fall seasons, angling success can decline due to the amount of food present. There was a high abundance of both gizzard shad and emerald shiners in 2013.