Weather Allows Habitat and Access Crews More Time for Improvements and Inspections

December 7, 2023

Late arriving winter weather has allowed South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) crews more time for access improvements along the Missouri River.

Crews have been able to extend their work on areas near Pierre along Lake Sharpe to create fishing access along an expansive and popular shore fishing area near Ft. George. This project started in late fall and is scheduled to be completed mid-2024.

Crews have also been busy on Lake Oahe, surveying boat landings, and working on improving conditions for the busy spring and summer fishing season.

During their work, access crews recently discovered the presence of zebra mussels at the East Shore and Cow Creek boat ramps on Lake Oahe.

“While pulling docks, fisheries staff reported finding zebra mussels on several structures," said Jake Davis, Fisheries Program Administrator. "Both detections were then confirmed following these findings."

Following this detection, Lake Oahe is now considered a new zebra mussel confirmed water. The Zebra Mussel Rapid Response Team will place high-profile signs on access areas, actively engage boaters using the infested water, reiterate information on decontamination requirements, and communicate with groups of people and entities that will be potentially affected by the infestation.

"Lake Oahe is an expansive body of water, and we want to be sure all individuals are aware of this confirmation," Davis continued. "This is why education and outreach continue to be our most useful tools for educating all individuals on zebra mussels."

"Lake Oahe is a good example of why our communication approach is critical," said GFP Communications Manager, Nick Harrington. "This is our most popular fishery in the state, with many access locations, and why it is important for all users to be aware of this confirmation." 

GFP has significantly enhanced efforts to slow the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in recent years, both educating anglers and boaters to clean, drain, dry every time they are on the water as well as physically inspecting boats prior to and/or after loading.

"The winter season is upon us, but there are still opportunities to put the boats in the water. Regardless the time of year, individuals need to always remember to practice clean, drain, dry.” concluded Harrington.

You can learn more about AIS by visiting


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