Walleye & Sauger Fishing In South Dakota
Guide To Fishing For Walleye & Sauger
South Dakota anglers are blessed with lots of walleye fishing waters. The FLW Walleye Tournament circuit and other walleye tournament organizations, visit SD often. Ice fishing for walleye is popular in winter. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about walleye and sauger fishing and identify popular walleye waters in the state.
South Dakota is renowned for its fantastic walleye fishing, attracting anglers from all over seeking the thrill of catching these prized game fish. The state's lakes and rivers offer abundant opportunities for walleye fishing, making it a top destination for enthusiasts.
Watch this video for walleye tips and tactics.
The walleye's close cousin, the sauger, is also a popular catch in South Dakota's waters. Similar in appearance and behavior, saugers can be found in many of the same locations as walleye, and anglers often catch them together. Both walleye and sauger provide exciting challenges due to their cautious and elusive nature, making them sought-after targets for skilled fishermen.
The Missouri River system, which runs through South Dakota, is one of the prime locations for walleye and sauger fishing in the state. Lakes Oahe, Sharpe, and Francis Case are particularly known for their outstanding walleye populations, offering both excellent fishing and scenic views.
South Dakota has seen its fair share of remarkable walleye catches over the years, with impressive state records to boast. As of the last knowledge update, the state record for walleye stands at over 16 pounds, reflecting the potential for landing some truly impressive specimens in its waters.
Whether you're casting your line in a serene lake or drifting along the mighty Missouri River, South Dakota's walleye and sauger fishing opportunities promise a memorable and rewarding experience for all anglers. With an abundance of lakes and rivers to explore, South Dakota continues to be a top destination for anyone looking to reel in these sought-after freshwater trophies.
Walleye & Sauger Fishing Lakes in South Dakota
Major lakes including Angostura Reservoir, Belle Fourche Reservoir, Big Stone Lake, Bitter Lake, Lake Albert, Lake Francis Case, Lake Kampeska, Lake Madison, Lake Oahe, Lake Pelican, Lake Poinsett, Lake Sharpe, Lake Thompson, Lake Traverse, Lake Whitewood, Lewis And Clark Lake, Shadehill Reservoir and Waubay Lake all have excellent populations of healthy walleye. Many smaller lakes, rivers and deeper ponds may also contain walleye.
World record: 25 lbs 0 oz
State Record: 14 lbs 4 oz
World record: 17 lbs 7 oz
State Record: 7 lbs 7 oz
Click the images and links above for species details.
Top lures for walleye in South Dakota
Jigs with a variety of trailers and bait work well in virtually any depth water. When walleyes are shallow, spinnerbaits, small crankbaits and rip baits are the often very productive. When ice fishing, jigs and ice jigs are very popular. As they move deeper, spoons are ideal for active walleye. Understanding the seasonal movements of walleyes improves your odds of selecting the right lures for conditions on local waters.
South Dakota State Walleye, Sauger & Saugeye Records
The state record walleye was caught out of Lake Oahe.
The state record sauger came from Oahe Tailwaters.
Fishing For Walleye
This toothy fish will eat virtually anything it can catch and get in its mouth. They prefer small fish and will eat crustaceans, worms and insects. They tend to be somewhat wary and prefer the safety of deeper darker water. Trolling for walleye with deep diving crankbaits, jerkbaits, spinners and live bait provides a way to cover vast areas and locate concentrations of fish. Use of planer boards allows anglers to cover water out both sides of the boat while trolling. Try fishing for walleye from sundown to midnight, particularly during the heat of summer.
Walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.
Fishing For Sauger
Closely related to the walleye and similar in appearance, sauger are generally smaller than walleye, reaching 4 to 5 pounds (or more) and up to about 20 inches. Often found in muddier rivers, it thrives in larger, silty lakes. They spawn in the shallows at night, without creating or guarding specific nests.
Walleye prefer moderately deep lakes with gravel, rock or sandy bottoms. It is found primarily in cold water lakes but has proven to survive in warmer impoundments. It is prized for its great tasting filets. Click here to learn all about walleye fishing.
Also find information about walleye, sauger or saugeye fishing in these states.
Learn the migration patterns of walleye
Walleye become active in spring and begin the spawning process in medium-depth water. As summer arrives they move to deeper, cooler water. In fall walleye migrate into shallower water again and feed aggressively preparing for their move to deeper water where they will spend winter.