Input sought on simplification of fishing rules

This year brought less-complex walleye and black bass regulations to South Dakota.  The Game, Fish and Parks Commission (GFP) hopes to continue making fishing rules simpler by modifying the panfish daily limits without adversely impacting panfish populations, according to a GF&P news release. 

The goal is to create a standardized panfish daily limit somewhere between 10 and 25 fish, with a possession limit of twice the daily limit.  As a compromise between 10 and 25, a daily limit of 15 is what GF&P is currently considering.

There currently are three different panfish daily limits in South Dakota.  In northeast South Dakota, the daily limit is 10 for each panfish species (yellow perch, crappie, bluegill/sunfish), while 25 is the limit for most of the remainder of the state, and Angostura Reservoir has a daily limit of 15 crappies.  A number of lakes within the eastern part of the state have panfish regulations that vary from the regional standard.

“Evaluation of five- and 10-fish daily limits in place for many years failed to identify significant benefits for the restrictive regulations," said Geno Adams, Fisheries Program administrator. "Although reduced limits can occasionally result in a significant reduction in harvest (less than 20% annually) under ideal conditions, they could not level out the panfish population cycles caused by inconsistent production of young fish.  In addition, fast-growing panfish often have a short life span, so any released fish may not survive long enough to significantly extend the fishery."

“A statewide panfish limit would also reduce regulation complexity and make it easier for anglers to know the rules,” he continued. “Conservation officers encounter anglers each year fishing in northeast South Dakota who believe the daily limit is 25.  Having a statewide regulation would eliminate those unintentional violations.”

The public is encouraged to provide input on the proposed panfish regulation change before a department recommendation is given to the GF&P Commission in October.  Input can be provided by sending an email to  or contacting Geno Adams at (605) 773-4501.

For more information on fishing in South Dakota, click here.

Tags: Fishing, Panfish

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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