Fishing in South Dakota

south dakota fish and game


Top 10 Fishing Destinations in South Dakota

Located in the Midwestern region of the US, South Dakota is one of the most underrated states in the country. States such as Alaska and Hawaii, overshadow it and do not let the people discover the hidden gems of South Dakota. Mount Rushmore, along with beautiful state and national parks, unique settlements, and of course, the fantastic fishing spots make this state a great place for vacation.
When talking about South Dakota, the people of this state are fond of fishing, and it is one of the most common outdoor activities. If you are looking for a fishing destination in the US that not only offers a rich bank of fish species but also allows you to have a perfectly relaxing day, South Dakota is the place to go. Offering year-round fishing spots, this state has some of the best fishing spots that are perfect for not just the beginners but even for the pro-anglers!
The Black Hills, for example, comprise of some of the most amazing fishing spots in the state. With over 800 streams and 38 reservoirs, this location offers ideal conditions for both warm and cold water sportfish species. 

Lots of Options Up for Grabs

South Dakota has many fishing spots to offer to the fishing enthusiasts in search of that perfect experience. Other than the state’s designated fish species, the walleye, you can expect to find a variety of different species in the many creeks, rivers, and lakes the state offers.
Bass, crappies, catfish, perch, Rainbow trout, Cutthroat trout, Brook trout, Brown trout, Lake trout, Coho salmon, and Chinook salmon are some of the most common ones you can find in the waters of South Dakota. You may even expect to catch Sauger, Sturgeon, Tiger muskie, Longnose gar, Muskie, Northern pike, and Paddlefish in this region. 

Types of Catch Available


chinook salmon

Chinook Salmon

coho salmon

Coho Salmon

brown trout

Brown Trout

raindbow trout

Rainbow Trout

cutthroat trout

Cutthroat Trout

brook trout

Brook Trout

northern pike






Largemouth Bass

Largemouth Bass

smallmouth bass

Smallmouth Bass

spotted bass

Spotted Bass

White Bass

White Bass



Pumpkinseed Sunfish

bullhead catfish

Bullhead Catfish



yellow perch

Yellow Perch

State Fishing Records

Top 10 Fishing Spots Across South Dakota

​From trout fly-fishing at Black Hills Stream, catching trophy-sized Walleye from Missouri region to fishing for crappie from a north-eastern glacial lake, South Dakota will impress you with its amazing fishing spots.
Picking the best fishing destination is very challenging and has the potential to make or completely ruin your fishing trip. We have filtered the top-ranked fishing spots for you to help you experience South Dakota’s fishing experience at its best!

Horsethief Lake

fishing horsethief lake south dakota

Horsethief Lake

Located in Keystone in Pennington County, the Horsethief Lake is the closest fishing spot to Mount Rushmore. It lies at an elevation of 4,905 feet and offers a wide variety of fish species. You may expect to catch brown and rainbow trout, perch, walleye, and crappie here at the Horsethief Lake.
A gang of horse thieves used to operate in this region. It is due to this the place has been named as the Horsethief Lake. People from all around the globe head to this place during the winter as it offers the most amazing ice-fishing experience. You may expect to catch trout here throughout the year in this region. For fly fishing, you may visit the Horsethief Lake in October and November. 

Reausaw Lake

fishing reausaw lake south dakota

Reausaw Lake

Located in Lawrence County, South Dakota, this lake is 5 acres in size. Situated at a distance of 9 miles northwest of Nemo, Reausaw Lake does bring you not only the best quality of rainbow trout but also has a restroom and an excellent shoreline to facilitate you during the adventure!
When talking about the opportunities that South Dakota brings for anglers, it’s safe to say that there are many of them. Largemouth bass, Crappie, Bluegill, and Walleye are the top fish species found in the lake water. 

Iron Creek Lake

fishing iron creek lake south dakota

Iron Creek Lake

When talking about the best fishing locations in South Dakota, Iron Creek Lake is the first one that comes to mind. It is located 10 miles south of Spearfish and covers an area of 10 acres. Iron Creek Lake not only offers a fishing pier but also easy shore access and a fully-facilitated campground.
The main species that can you expect to catch in this lake are rainbow trout, walleye, largemouth bass, crappies, and bluegills. By choosing Iron Creek Lake, you will get a chance to experience the best of South Dakota fishing.

Little White River Project

fishing little white river south dakota

Little White River Project

Little White River Project is a tributary of the white river and is 234 miles long, covering an area of 167 acres. Located in Bennett County, South Dakota, Little White River is considered as one of the best shoreline fishing spots of the state as there are multiple fishing spots here for anglers. The environment here is great and promises the fishing lovers an out-of-this-world fishing experience.
Fishers may catch Crappie, White Crappie, Yellow Perch, Saugeye, Largemouth bass, Walleye, and Northern pike here at this river. 

Curlew Lake

fishing curlew lake south dakota

Curlew Lake

Curlew Lake in South Dakota is a dream destination for fishing fanatics! Whether you are a seasonal-angler or a fishing-pro, this place is a perfect option for you. Lying 25 miles away from the U.S Canada border and covering an area of 126 acres, Curlew Lake is rich in fish species. Walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, black bullhead, northern pike, and channel catfish are the fishes you can find in the region.
It is not only home to a diverse fish species but also offers the most scenic views that keep the fishers captivated throughout their trip. The best thing about this lake is that it allows anglers to fish from a Kayak, Motorboat, and a Canoe. 

Lake Oahe

fishing lake oahe south dakota

Lake Oahe

Lake Oahe, the fourth largest reservoir, located on Missouri River behind Oahe Dam, links both South and North Dakota. It is 370,000 acres of the reservoir with a maximum depth of 295 feet. It lies just a mile away from Mobridge; it offers the perfect fishing opportunities.
When you come to Lake Oahe for fishing, the most popular fish here is striped white bass. Other popular fish species are Chinook salmon, Northern pike, White bass, Walleye, Smallmouth bass, and Channel catfish.

Spearfish Canyon

fishing spearfish canyon south dakota

Spearfish Canyon

For people who love fishing in a region where they can spend the whole day in complete solace, visiting the Spearfish Canyon in South Dakota is exactly what they need. It is the best fishing destination in the state that lies close to the Spearfish town. It is located in the Black Hills and is the second-largest stream in the region.
Rainbow trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, and walleye are some of the fish species that you can find in the waters of Spearfish Canyon. For the most productive fishing experience, time your trip in the early morning or late evening hours. It is a treat for the pro-anglers as the river offers tough challenges such as rapids, lazy ponds, and boulders.

Brakke Lake

fishing brakke dam south dakota

Brakke Lake

Brakke Lake is located in Lyman County, South Dakota; this lake covers the area of 130 acres. Hiding under the water of Brakke Lake, there is a vast population of fish that is a prime attraction for anglers.
The diverse fish species, which include Largemouth bass, Walleye, Bluegill, Musky, Yellow perch, and Yellow bullhead, offer a great chance to get the best of your fishing trip!

Pactola Lake

fishing lake pactola south dakota

Pactola Lake

The broadest and deepest reservoir in South Dakota, Pactola Lake, is a fishing haven. It is an exquisite location that boasts the most majestic views. If you wish to plan a fishing trip amidst the gorgeousness of nature, Pactola Lake will not disappoint you. Lying 11 miles north of Hill City, this lake is located deep within the Black Hills.
The deep blue water of the Pactola Lake is home to rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, largemouth bass, and black crappie. The 14-mile shoreline offers many facilities to help the visitors enjoy the most phenomenal fishing experience in South Dakota.

Lake Vermillion Recreation Area

fishing lake vermillion south dakota

Lake Vermillion Recreation Area

Located in McCook County, close to Canistota, the Lake Vermillion Recreation Area offers the most exciting fishing experience in the state. The lake covers an area of 513 acres, and not only does it provide an excellent game fish variety, but even allows the visitors to enjoy other adrenaline-rushing recreational activities.
Bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass, walleye, white crappie, yellow bullhead, and yellow perch are the common fish species that you can find in the lake. It even offers you a fish cleaning station and allows you to prepare your fish for the pan. You can then enjoy your fish while relaxing at the beach!
A fishing day trip means relaxing day at a lake, away from the discomfort of the city, amidst the art of nature. The phenomenal fishing spots in South Dakota offer you exactly that! Not only do you get a rich bank of fish but you also get the peace and tranquility, the purpose of a fishing trip. Enjoy fishing in South Dakota’s breathtaking fishing spot and experience the highest form of relaxation on the water!








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