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.Â
Key Issues in 2015 for Lewis and Clark Lake
Regulation changes for 2015
- The channel catfish daily and possession limits have been changed to 10 and 20, respectively for the SD/NE border waters. The flathead catfish daily and possession limits remain at 5 and 10.
- In March 2015, the GFP Commission finalized a set of rules in attempt to reduce the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species (AIS) such as zebra mussels, Asian carp, and Eurasian water milfoil. We anticipate that these rules will be in effect on or around May 11, 2015. Please visit sdleastwanted.com for the latest information.
Aquatic Invasive Species or AIS
- A single zebra mussel was found attached to a boat dock at Midway boat ramp November, 2014.
- Lewis and Clark Lake is home to many AIS including curlyleaf pondweed, Eurasian water-millfoil, purple loosestrife, Asian clams, and zebra mussels.
- Silver, bighead, and grass carp are found in the river directly below Gavins Point Dam and pose a threat to nearby lakes including Lewis and Clark.
- Anglers need to be careful not to spread AIS to or from Lewis and Clark Lake.
- Walleye recruitment has been low from 2009 through 2012; however, the 2012 year class will average 15-16 inches in 2015 and will provide anglers opportunity to harvest fish.
- Walleye production was moderate in 2013 and this year class should reach 15 inches by the end of 2016.
- 2014 channel catfish abundance was near 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.Â
- 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 are sandbars and other obstructions where there was deep water before and deeper areas in places that were relatively shallow prior to the flood.
- Sedimentation plays a major role in habitat alteration in Lewis and Clark Lake.Â 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.