GFP News - May 10, 2013

  • Grants Awarded to Youth Conservation Programs
  • GFP Explains Lake Oahe Fishing Limits
  • 2013 CRP Open for Enrollment

Grants Awarded to Youth Conservation Programs

PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakota youth will have numerous opportunities for hands-on experience with outdoors and conservation projects thanks in part to grants from the Tony and Dar Dean Outdoor Education Fund.  Four projects will receive financial support from the fund this year.

The fund was established following the 2008 death of well-known outdoor broadcaster and writer Tony Dean of Pierre. The program honors both Tony and his wife Dar Dean. She is an outdoor enthusiast with a strong commitment to getting youth involved in outdoor and conservation activities.

The four programs which will receive grants this year are:

  • The South Dakota Wildlife Federation Youth Conservation Camp Wilderness Day on the Prairie has been awarded a $1,300 grant. The Youth Conservation Camp allows youth to experience many aspects of the outdoors. The Wilderness Day on the Prairie portion of the camp will be held at French Creek Campground in the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands near Hermosa. Participants will learn about the plants and fauna that grow on the wild prairies of South Dakota, and will learn the use of hand held GPS units. During the conservation camp, youth also learn conservation practices, stream fishing, insect identification, stream ecology, bird basics, wildlife photography, deer and elk tracking, turkey calling, and shooting skills.
  • The Pierre School District has received a $1,250 grant. Amber Stout's third grade class will receive instruction on the outdoors and the conservation of habitat and wildlife. Students learn about native species of birds and fish, incubate pheasant eggs, and release the birds, gaining a better understanding of wildlife management, habitats, and animal adaptations.
  • Stanley County School District has received a $600 grant: Amanda Remick's "Trout in the Classroom" project will involve setting up an aquarium, and raising 100 rainbow trout eggs into fingerlings that will be released into local waterways. Students are in charge of the tank and its maintenance. They engage in stream habitat study, learn to identify fish and wildlife species, and learn firsthand about the development of fish, what they need to survive and thrive, and the importance of water quality.
  • The Beadle County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League has received a $500 grant.The funding will be used for the First Annual Izaak Walton Family Fishing Fun Day at Ravine Lake in Huron. This new project aims to get youth interested in fishing through a fun outdoor experience. Volunteers will mentor youngsters on fishing techniques, and fishing equipment will be provided to the young participants.

Dar Dean applauded the recipient groups for their work in getting the next generation actively engaged in outdoor and conservation experiences.

"If we want to preserve our outdoor heritage, we have to teach the youth how important it is," she said. "Kids need to understand that they need to take care of our natural resources. Parents don't always have the time or ability to provide that education. These programs are a good way to educate kids about why we need to preserve what we have, and how to take care of these resources."

Applications will be available in early 2014 for the next round of grants through the Tony and Dar Dean Outdoor Education Fund.

The fund works in cooperation with the South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation. It is part of the Tony Dean's Acres project, which has purchased land in South Dakota for wildlife management and public access.

Both the Tony and Dar Dean Outdoor Education Fund and the Tony Dean's Acres project are ongoing efforts, and tax-deductible contributions are welcome. For more information, visit

MEDIA - For more information or an interview, call John Cooper at 605-222-7582 / email

GFP Explains Lake Oahe Fishing Limits

PIERRE, S.D. - Fishing on Lake Oahe is heating up, particularly in the upper reaches of the big lake. Questions regarding walleye limits have accompanied the increased fishing activity, especially because they differ from walleye regulations in other waters.

"Lake Oahe has a walleye harvest limit that is unique from the rest of the state, with a daily limit of eight," said Mark Fincel, senior fisheries biologist for the Game, Fish and Parks Department. "Of those eight fish, no more than four walleyes may be 15 inches or longer - and of those four, only one may be over 20 inches."

The Lake Oahe regulation adds the potential to harvest four more walleyes in addition to the standard statewide daily limit of four walleyes, which is in place on all other waters of the state, combined.

That leads to the question of how an angler might combine a day of fishing on Lake Oahe with another body of water.

The walleye regulation on Lake Oahe is considered additive. That means anglers can harvest a four-fish limit of walleye on any other water body, and then may harvest up to four additional walleyes on Lake Oahe, as long as they adhere to walleye length and daily limits for Lake Oahe. On any one day of fishing, anglers can only keep four walleyes 15 inches or longer, of which only one can be 20 inches or longer, no matter how many waters they fish. "That does not work in reverse," Fincel stressed. "Once four or more walleyes have been harvested on Lake Oahe, anglers cannot harvest additional walleyes on any other water bodies that day."

Walleye possession limits have also been increased on Lake Oahe and are again considered additive. Anglers are allowed to have 24 walleyes in possession from Lake Oahe. In addition, anglers are allowed their statewide possession limit of eight walleyes from other water bodies of the state combined. Therefore, the maximum number of walleyes an angler could have in possession after fishing at least three days on Lake Oahe and two days on other waters of the state is 32.

GFP personnel are available if specific questions or concerns come up, and anglers are encouraged to seek advice from local law enforcement.

"It is the job of GFP officers to enforce our state's regulations, and serve as contacts for anglers who would like more information regarding angling limits," said Dale Gates, regional conservation officer supervisor in Fort Pierre. "We strongly encourage questions from anglers if they are uncertain about anything in the new regulations. We want our angling public to be well-informed of current regulations on all water bodies, so feel free to contact us with any questions you may have."

"We've been hard at work collecting walleye eggs for South Dakota walleye stocking programs and the Lake Oahe walleye tagging study, and what we have seen is right in line with what anglers have been experiencing - walleye catches on Lake Oahe appear to be high for fish 13- to 16-inches in length," Fincel said. "Those fish are a result of a couple of very large year classes starting in 2009. The new Lake Oahe walleye regulation is aimed at providing anglers an extra opportunity to harvest those abundant year classes."

A fact sheet outlining how Lake Oahe walleye limits are related to limits from other waters is available at many bait shops and convenience stores in the vicinity of Lake Oahe and on the GFP website under the fishing regulations tab at:

2013 CRP Open for Enrollment

PIERRE, S.D. - Beginning on Monday, May 13, agricultural producers and/or landowners will have the opportunity to enroll eligible land into many different continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) practices.

There are more than 200,000 acres available in South Dakota for enrollment in the Pheasant SAFE, Western SD Grassland Wildlife SAFE, Duck Nesting Habitat Initiative, Flood Plain and Non-floodplain Wetland Restoration, Farmed Wetland Program, and James River Watershed Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).  Many of the continuous CRP practices have additional payment incentives to protect sensitive lands like wetlands and highly erodible lands.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency will also accept general CRP offers nationwide from May 30 to June 14. The general CRP provides annual financial compensation to establish and maintain conservation cover on cropland for 10 to 15 years with the goals of increasing water quality, reducing soil erosion, and providing wildlife habitat.

CRP plays an important role in South Dakota's wildlife populations, said Chad Switzer, wildlife program administrator in the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

"The undisturbed grassland habitat that CRP provides in South Dakota is vitally important for grassland nesting songbirds, pheasants, and waterfowl, as well as big-game species like white-tailed deer," Switzer said. "There is a proven record on the benefits of CRP in South Dakota in both influencing wildlife populations and by providing producers with another option in their land-management decisions."

For more information or to submit an offer, agricultural producers should set up an appointment with their local USDA Farm Service Agency Office

Pheasants Forever Farm Bill wildlife biologists will also host a series of informational meetings across South Dakota in coming weeks. The biologists will answer questions about how CRP will work for landowners/agricultural producers. If you cannot make one of the meetings, contact a GFP Private Lands biologist, visit or talk to a  Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist  .

South Dakota Pheasants Forever CRP Meeting Schedule
Biologist Meeting  Venue
7 p. m. 
Emmett Lenihan Barnett Center 
7 p.m.  
Emmett Lenihan  Marshall Cnty Comm Center 
7 p.m.
Ben Lardy Clark Community Center
1 p.m.
Emmett Lenihan Eureka Fire Hall
6 p.m.
Jim Ristau Murdo Tech Center
6 p.m.
Matt Morlock Izaak Walton League
2 p.m.
Emmett Lenihan Roscoe Fire Hall
5 p.m.
Emmett Lenihan Clover Leaf Bar & Grill
9 a.m.
Ben Lardy 4H Building
7 p.m.
Matt Morlock Volga Community Center
6 p.m.
Jim Ristau Two Spurs Bar & Grill
Charles Mix
6 p.m.
Ben Lardy Bramble Park Zoo
7 p.m.
Ben Lardy Day County Courthouse
7 p.m. 
Jim Ristau American Legion