Northeast Glacial Lakes

With the slow movement of the last in a series of glaciers across northeastern South Dakota 20,000 years ago, large glacial craters were carved into the ground. As the glaciers retreated, the craters were filled with water, forming a series of pristine glacial lakes. In present-day northeast South Dakota, there are 120 of these glacial lakes ranging widely in size. Most of the lakes are located within the boundaries of the region’s 16 state parks and recreation areas, although there are many that still lie in remote, rarely trafficked areas.

Because of their irregular formation, the Northeast glacial lakes have somewhat unpredictable fishing conditions. The most popular fishing reservoirs in this area are Enemy Swim Lake, BlueDog Lake, Waubay Lane, Lynn Lake, Roy Lake, and Rush Lake. Walleye is by far the most frequently fished sea life in the glacial lakes, followed by largemouth and smallmouth bass. Also available here are rock bass, bullheads, bluegills, northern pike, and yellow perch. Northeast fishermen aren’t limited by the clock or the calendar—nighttime fishing and ice fishing are popular water sports in the glacial lakes.

Below are some quick facts on Northeast Glacial Lakes fishing:

  • Most Popular Fishing Species: Walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, white bass, northern pike, panfish, and bullhead
  • Most Popular Fishing Waters: Waubay Lake, Mina Lake, Lake Louise, Mission Lake, Twin Lakes, Richmond Lake, Roy Lake, Amsden Dam, Enemy Swim Lake, Lake Pelican, Blue Dog Lake, Pickerel Lake, Lake Thompson, Lake Preston, Big Stone Lake, Lake Kampeska, Lake Poinsett, Oakwood Lakes, Clear Lake, James River and Big Sioux River
  • Spin Casting: Lead-head jigs, spinners, crankbaits, jerkbaits, plugs, spoons and spinnerbaits
  • Bait Fishing: Night crawlers, minnows, chubs, leeches, frogs and wigglers


Tags: Lakes

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