Fishing Regulations in South Dakota

South Dakota, despite being one of the smallest and least populated states in the United States, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, thanks to its temperate climate and plethora of attractions. Due to the large Missouri River, which divides the state, two geographically distinct areas, known as the East River and the West River, have arisen within it.

The famous Mount Rushmore is by far the most popular tourist attraction in the area, but those who are interested in the natural environment will find plenty to see there as well.

South Dakota has something for everyone, from the popular Missouri River to large natural reservations, pine woods, plains, and lakes. There is something for everyone in South Dakota.

If you are an avid fisherman, you will be pleased to learn that there are numerous fishing opportunities in the state. We recommend that you plan a fishing trip to the state as soon as possible. Furthermore, because of the temperate climate, you will be able to go ice fishing and bring your catch back home with you.

If you are interested in learning more about fishing regulations in this state, the following information will be helpful:



Permits and licenses

The state of South Dakota, like every other state in the United States, issues its own fishing permits and licenses, which are sold at predetermined prices. Prices vary depending on the length of time spent, the age of the holder, and whether or not the carrier is a resident of the country in question.

As an example, a fishing license for residents costs $28, while nonresidents must pay $67 for the same privilege each year. Nonresidents will pay $16 for a one-day valid permit, while residents will pay $8 for the same permit. A three-day fishing license will cost $37 for the same nonresidents.

Licenses for nonresident families are also available in South Dakota. If fishing is something that your entire immediate family enjoys, you can purchase a family fishing license for $67 per year to share the excitement.


Free fishing days

Despite the fact that fishing without a permit and a valid license is strictly prohibited throughout the year, avid fishermen who spend a lot of money on fishing equipment can still take advantage of a free fishing weekend every year. Depending on the state and the time of year, South Dakota offers a free fishing weekend for all residents and nonresidents alike on certain weekends.

The free fishing weekends in 2017 were May 19 – 21, so it is best to consult your local fishing guide to find out when the next free fishing weekends are scheduled.


Harvest length limits

South Dakota is blessed with a plethora of fish species, but there is a daily bag limit for both residents and nonresidents who want to go fishing. If you want to catch walleyes, you will be allowed to catch up to four per day, six Northern pikes, five trouts, salmon, and splake (in any combination), five large- and smallmouth bass, fifteen perch, fifteen crappies, twenty-five white bass, and twenty-five rock bass per day, and ten catfish. While the sturgeon season is closed, there are no restrictions on other lake fishes such as herring, whitefish, bullhead, or rough fish, which are all abundant.

It is best to consult the local regulations for a complete list of restrictions on fish species, as well as a list of restrictions on lake access on private property, before fishing.

Anglers who are ice fishing are subject to the same laws as those who are not, with the exception that they are now permitted to maintain a possession limit for each fish species within the same daily limits.

Take note that, as of 2017, the Red Swamp Crayfish has been designated as an aquatic invasive species in the state, and as a result, fishing restrictions have been implemented.

In addition, during the months of October and November, it is now legal to snag salmon on Lake Oahe, subject to the same daily limits as previously.


Other general restrictions

Trammel nets, gill nets, and seines are all prohibited for both possession and use.
Use of a firearm for the purpose of hunting fish, frogs, or turtles is prohibited.
It is illegal to release fish or fish eggs into public waters unless the fish or fish eggs were obtained from the same waters where the fish were released.