Central Region Fishing

When Lewis and Clark traveled the Missouri River some 200 years ago, it was a muddy, dark waterway. Not so today!  With four substantial dams built along the Missouri River in the 1960s, nearly 1,000 miles of open water were created, providing extensive freshwater fishing opportunities in South Dakota’s Central Region. Not only will you find great fishing at the region’s dams, they are also amazing feats of architecture.

One of the most impressive of the region’s dams, the Oahe Dam and Downstream Recreation Area offers a playground for fishermen and families alike. Lake Oahe is a popular area for northern pike, and offers year-round fishing, including ice fishing.

In the four Missouri River reservoirs that make up the lakes, the most popular fishing species is the walleye. In Lake Oahe, anglers have success catching Chinook salmon in the stretch from the Oahe Dam to the Cheyenne River. Beginning in the spring and through the fall, northern pike are abundant in Lake Oahe. At Lake Francis Case and Lewis & Clark Lake, smallmouth bass offer another alternative, with the prime months being May and June. Additional prime species include white bass, tiger muskie, channel catfish, and paddlefish.

In the prairie areas of the central region, anglers who prefer smaller water reservoirs will find many ponds and stock dams with plentiful fishing.  These pond-like fishing environment that can be accessed from the shoreline or from a small boat.  These smaller bodies of water can range from one to 100 acres, and were built for conserving soil and water, as well as to water livestock.  Available catch include panfish and largemouth bass.

Below are some quick facts on Central Region fishing:

  • Most Popular Fishing Species: Walleye, sauger, northern pike, channel catfish, white bass, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, Chinook salmon, tiger muskie, bluegill, perch, bullhead, crappie, and a variety of panfish
  • Most Popular Fishing Waters: Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case, Lake Yankton, Little Moreau Recreation Area, and Lewis and Clark Lake
  • Spin Casting: Jigs, spinner rigs, crankbaits, spoons, flashers and squids (salmon)
  • Bait Fishing: Chubs, minnows, night crawlers, crayfish, frogs, wigglers, leeches, and smelt


Tags: Fishing

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