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South Dakota Panfish Fishing

All about fishing for sunfish in SD lakes and ponds.

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Panfish fishing in Colorado

Throughout the state of South Dakota you can find waters with populations of sunfish, including bluegill, green sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, spotted sunfish, white bass and yellow perch.

One or more species of sunfish populate virtually all warm water streams, ponds and lakes throughout South Dakota, and around the world for that matter. They can survive in waters that provide their natural food source of minnows, insects, crustaceans and worms. Their competitive nature amongst themselves, for food, makes them relatively easy to catch.

Panfish Fishing Lakes In South Dakota

Try to find fishing waters in SD without one or more species of panfish. It's not easy. Sunfish are found in ponds, creeks, rivers and lakes of all sizes including major lakes like Angostura Reservoir, Belle Fourche Reservoir, Big Stone Lake, Bitter Lake, Lake Albert, Lake Francis Case, Lake Kampeska, Lake Madison, Lake Pelican, Lake Poinsett, Lake Preston, Lake Sharpe, Lake Thompson, Lake Traverse, Lake Whitewood, Lewis And Clark Lake, Shadehill Reservoir and Waubay Lake.


The South Dakota state record bluegill was taken out of Stock Dam and the South Dakota state record green sunfish was caught in Minnehaha County Stock Pond. Lake Carthage was home to the state record pumpkinseed sunfish and Bitter Lake produced the state record yellow perch. Test your local waters to see if you can catch a state record sunfish.

Panfish are prolific spawners and repopulate the waters as fast as they are harvested. A common problem with panfish fishing is that the waters are under-fished causing panfish to overpopulate. As a result they tend to stay small in size due to lack of food source.

The list of panfish is comprised of many fishes each called by a variety of names. The bluegill tops the list and is the most common.

Fishing for panfish in South Dakota



World record: 4 lbs 12 oz

SD State Record: 3 lbs 4 oz

Green Sunfish

Green sunfish

World record: 2.1 lbs

SD State Record: 1 lbs 5 oz

Pumpkinseed Sunfish

Pumpkinseed sunfish

World record: 2 lbs 4 oz

SD State Record: 0 lbs 12 oz

Rock Bass

Rock bass

World record: 3.0 lbs

SD State Record: 2 lbs 0 oz

Soptted Sunfish

Spotted sunfish

World record: N/A

SD State Record: 0 lbs 5.5 oz

White Bass

White Bass

World record: 6.8 lbs

SD State Record: 4 lbs 12 oz

Yellow Perch

Yellow perch

World record: 4 lbs 3 oz

SD State Record: 2 lbs 12 oz

By clicking on the images and links above, you will be taken to a page offering more information about the selected species.

Panfish fishing information for other states.


Learn the lifecycle of a panfish

There is a host of panfish anglers can pursue. Visit the panfish fishing page for details on many of these sunfish you might encounter in South Dakota fishing waters. The panfish fishing videos offer a first hand look a anglers catching panfish.

Contribute SD Sunfish Fishing Knowledge

If you have information, articles or photos relating to panfish fishing in South Dakota, which you would like to see published here, please submit them for consideration.

Best panfish fishing lakes in South Dakota!