Best Walleye Fishing in South Dakota

Large walleye being held by an angler
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Venturing into the world of walleye fishing in South Dakota unveils an exciting realm against the backdrop of diverse and captivating landscapes. Renowned for its pristine lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, South Dakota stands as a haven for walleye enthusiasts. From the expansive waters of Lake Oahe to the tranquil settings of Pickerel Lake, each destination presents a distinctive combination of thriving walleye populations, scenic beauty, and varied angling challenges. Whether in pursuit of trophy-sized catches or seeking family-friendly environments, South Dakota’s premier walleye fishing spots cater to anglers of all skill levels, ensuring unforgettable moments amid the natural wonders that define the state. Join us as we delve into the best walleye fishing destinations South Dakota has to offer, promising an immersive and fulfilling angling experience for all.



Lake Oahe

Stretching along the Missouri River, Lake Oahe stands out as a premier walleye fishing destination in South Dakota. Its expansive waters and diverse underwater terrain make it a haven for anglers in pursuit of both quantity and size in their walleye catches. The scenic beauty surrounding Lake Oahe enhances the overall angling experience, attracting those who appreciate a blend of natural splendor and exciting fishing opportunities.

Reasons to Walleye Fish in Lake Oahe:

  • Abundant Population: Lake Oahe is known for its large and healthy walleye population, providing anglers with numerous opportunities to catch these prized fish.
  • Size of Fish: The reservoir produces sizable walleye, offering the chance to reel in trophy-sized catches.
  • Scenic Surroundings: The beautiful landscapes along Lake Oahe enhance the overall fishing experience, making it a visually appealing destination for anglers.
  • Variety of Structure: The lake’s diverse aquatic structure, including points, humps, and drop-offs, provides ideal habitats for walleye and makes it an exciting place to fish.
  • Seasonal Consistency: Lake Oahe’s walleye fishery tends to remain consistent throughout the fishing season, ensuring anglers a good chance of success.

Recommended Gear: Baitcasting Reel, Braided Line, Flashlight, Hooks, Tackle Box, Fishing Net, Rod


Lake Sharpe

Flowing downstream from its larger counterpart, Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe benefits from the richness of the Missouri River, creating a prime walleye fishing environment. Characterized by clear waters and a continuous flow, Lake Sharpe provides a unique setting for anglers. Trophy-sized walleye can be encountered against the backdrop of striking river landscapes, making every fishing expedition on Lake Sharpe memorable and rewarding.

Reasons to Walleye Fish in Lake Sharpe:

  • Continuous Flow: Being downstream from Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe benefits from a continuous flow of nutrient-rich water, contributing to a thriving walleye population.
  • Water Clarity: The clear waters of Lake Sharpe make it an excellent location for sight fishing, allowing anglers to spot and target walleye effectively.
  • Variety of Baits: Anglers have success using various bait types, providing flexibility in fishing techniques and strategies.
  • Diverse Habitat: Lake Sharpe’s diverse underwater habitat, including submerged rock piles and channels, attracts walleye, offering a range of fishing opportunities.
  • Catching Trophies: The lake has a reputation for producing trophy sized walleye, attracting anglers looking for a challenging and rewarding fishing experience.

Recommended Gear: Flashlight, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Pliers, Fishing Net, Tackle Box, Large Reel


Big Stone Lake

Bordering both South Dakota and Minnesota, Big Stone Lake is renowned as a stable and fruitful walleye fishery. Its relatively shallow depths make it an accessible and favorable location for anglers of all skill levels. Whether seeking a family-friendly fishing excursion or a quiet day on the water, Big Stone Lake offers a diverse and picturesque setting for those in pursuit of walleye.

Reasons to Walleye Fish in Big Stone Lake:

  • Stable Walleye Population: Big Stone Lake has a stable and sustainable walleye population, providing anglers with consistent opportunities for successful fishing trips.
  • Shallow Depths: The relatively shallow depths of the lake make it easier for anglers to target walleye, especially during various seasons and weather conditions.
  • Accessible Shoreline: Big Stone Lake offers accessible shorelines for anglers who prefer bank fishing, providing a variety of opportunities for different fishing styles.
  • Year round Fishing: The lake’s characteristics allow for year-round walleye fishing, making it an attractive destination for anglers regardless of the season.
  • Family friendly Environment: Big Stone Lake provides a family-friendly environment, making it a great destination for anglers of all skill levels and ages.

Recommended Gear: Flashlight, Dry Bag, Rod Holder, Cooler, Fillet Knife, Sunglasses, Sunscreen 

Lake Thompson

As the largest natural lake in South Dakota, Lake Thompson captivates anglers with its great catch rates and clear waters. Beyond its impressive walleye fishery, the lake provides a serene setting for those looking to escape the bustle and connect with nature. From ice fishing in winter to summer adventures, Lake Thompson offers a versatile backdrop for anglers seeking consistent success.

Reasons to Walleye Fish in Lake Thompson:

  • Great Catch Rates: Lake Thompson has a reputation for high catch rates, ensuring that anglers have a good chance of bringing home a satisfying haul of walleye.
  • Clear Water Conditions: The clear water in Lake Thompson makes it an excellent location for visually spotting walleye and employing sight-fishing techniques.
  • Varied Structure: The lake features a mix of aquatic structures, including points, submerged vegetation, and drop-offs, creating diverse habitats for walleye.
  • Remote Setting: Anglers can enjoy a more remote and tranquil setting at Lake Thompson, enhancing the overall fishing experience and connection with nature.
  • Consistent Success: The lake consistently produces quality walleye catches, making it a reliable spot for anglers seeking a rewarding fishing trip.

Recommended Gear: First Aid Kit, Pliers, Paddle, Fishing Net, Hooks, Live Bait, Fillet Knife 


Bitter Lake

Known for its multi-species opportunities, Bitter Lake in the Glacial Lakes region is a hotspot for anglers seeking walleye and yellow perch. This diverse fishery provides a unique experience as anglers can cast their lines for multiple species in one location. Bitter Lake is particularly popular for ice fishing during the winter months, adding an extra layer of excitement to the angling calendar. Accessible locations and consistent catches make Bitter Lake a reliable choice for anglers looking for a rewarding and varied fishing experience.

Reasons to Walleye Fish in Bitter Lake:

  • Multi species Opportunities: Bitter Lake is known for hosting various fish species, providing anglers with the opportunity for a diverse fishing experience.
  • Walleye and Perch: In addition to walleye, Bitter Lake is a hotspot for yellow perch, offering anglers the chance to target multiple species in one location.
  • Ice Fishing: The lake is popular for ice fishing during the winter months, attracting anglers seeking walleye in a unique and exciting setting.
  • Accessible Locations: Bitter Lake has easily accessible fishing spots, making it a suitable destination for both boat and shore anglers.
  • Consistent Catches: The lake’s consistent walleye catches make it a reliable choice for anglers seeking a successful and enjoyable fishing experience.

Recommended Gear: Dry Bag, Fish Stringer, Pliers, Sunglasses, UV Clothing, Fishing Net, First Aid Kit 


Lake Poinsett

With its fertile waters and extensive weed beds, Lake Poinsett offers anglers a prime location for targeting walleye. The seasonal patterns of the lake, coupled with accessible shorelines, provide a versatile experience for anglers throughout the year. Beyond the thrill of walleye fishing, the lake’s quiet setting and family-friendly amenities make Lake Poinsett an appealing destination for anglers looking to combine angling adventures with a tranquil environment.

Reasons to Walleye Fish in Lake Poinsett:

  • Fertile Waters: Lake Poinsett’s fertile waters contribute to a healthy walleye population, ensuring that anglers have good opportunities to catch these sought-after fish.
  • Weed Beds: The lake features extensive weed beds that serve as excellent feeding grounds for walleye, making it an ideal location for targeting these species.
  • Seasonal Patterns: Anglers can capitalize on the lake’s seasonal patterns, adjusting their fishing techniques based on the time of year to maximize their chances of success.
  • Accessible Shorelines: Lake Poinsett provides accessible shorelines for anglers who prefer fishing from the banks, offering a variety of options for different fishing styles.
  • Quiet Setting: The relatively serene setting of Lake Poinsett makes it a peaceful destination for anglers looking to enjoy the tranquility of nature while fishing.

Recommended Gear: Rod Holder, Bucket Seat, Cooler, Lip Gripper, Scale, Tackle Box, Sunglasses 


Deerfield Reservoir

In the Black Hills, Deerfield Reservoir provides anglers with a unique walleye fishing experience surrounded by stunning natural beauty. The clear waters of the reservoir make it an excellent location for sight fishing, enhancing the challenge and excitement of angling for walleye. Anglers can also enjoy extended stays with camping opportunities, turning their fishing trips into immersive adventures in the heart of the Black Hills.

Reasons to Walleye Fish in Deerfield Reservoir:

  • Black Hills Scenery: Situated in the Black Hills, Deerfield Reservoir offers anglers the opportunity to fish in a picturesque and scenic environment surrounded by the beauty of the hills.
  • Clear Water Conditions: The clear waters of the reservoir make it an excellent location for sight fishing, allowing anglers to spot and target walleye effectively.
  • Stream Inflows: The reservoir benefits from inflows from nearby streams, creating dynamic conditions that attract walleye and provide a diverse fishing experience.
  • Camping Opportunities: Deerfield Reservoir offers camping facilities, allowing anglers to extend their stay and enjoy a multi-day fishing adventure in the Black Hills.
  • Multi species Fishing: In addition to walleye, the reservoir supports various other fish species, providing anglers with the chance to diversify their catch.

Recommended Gear: Cooler, Fillet Knife, Sunglasses, Bucket Seat, Live Bait, Sunscreen, Fishing Gloves


Pickerel Lake

Recognized for its clear water quality and varied structure, Pickerel Lake is a gem among South Dakota’s walleye fishing destinations. The lake’s diverse underwater terrain, including submerged humps and drop-offs, creates ideal habitats for walleye. With consistent catches and angler-friendly access points, Pickerel Lake caters to both seasoned anglers and those looking for family-friendly amenities. Its proximity to the Black Hills adds an extra layer of allure for those seeking a well-rounded fishing experience.

Reasons to Walleye Fish in Pickerel Lake:

  • Clear Water Quality: Pickerel Lake is known for its clear water, creating favorable conditions for sight fishing and making it easier for anglers to locate and target walleye.
  • Structural Diversity: The lake features a variety of aquatic structures, including submerged humps and drop-offs, providing diverse habitats for walleye.
  • Consistent Bite: Anglers often experience a consistent walleye bite at Pickerel Lake, making it an attractive destination for those looking for reliable fishing opportunities.
  • Angler Friendly Access: Pickerel Lake offers angler-friendly access points, making it accessible for both boat and shore fishing, catering to a wide range of preferences.
  • Family Friendly Amenities: The lake provides amenities suitable for families, including picnic areas and parks, making it a welcoming destination for anglers of all ages.

Recommended Gear: Flashlight, Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Pliers, Fishing Net, Tackle Box, Large Reel


Waubay Lake

Waubay Lake, with its steady walleye population, offers anglers consistent opportunities for successful fishing outings. Particularly popular for ice fishing in winter, the lake provides a unique and thrilling experience for those willing to brave the frozen waters. With accessible shorelines, varied structure, and the ability to capitalize on seasonal patterns, Waubay Lake remains a reliable choice for anglers seeking a range of fishing experiences.

Reasons to Walleye Fish in Waubay Lake:

  • Steady Walleye Population: Waubay Lake maintains a steady and healthy walleye population, ensuring consistent opportunities for anglers to have successful fishing outings.
  • Ice Fishing Opportunities: The lake is popular for ice fishing during the winter months, attracting anglers who enjoy the unique challenges and rewards of catching walleye on frozen water.
  • Shoreline Access: Waubay Lake provides accessible shorelines for anglers, making it a versatile location suitable for various fishing styles and preferences.
  • Variety of Structure: The lake offers diverse aquatic structures, including points, flats, and submerged vegetation, creating ideal habitats for walleye throughout the year.
  • Seasonal Patterns: Anglers can capitalize on the lake’s seasonal patterns, adjusting their tactics based on the time of year to optimize their chances of a successful walleye catch.

Recommended Gear: Baitcasting Reel, Braided Line, Flashlight, Hooks, Tackle Box, Fishing Net, Rod


Francis Case Reservoir

Positioned along the Missouri River, Francis Case Reservoir offers anglers the chance to fish in a dynamic river environment known for diverse fish populations, including walleye. The reservoir’s consistent currents and variety of species create a unique angling experience. Extended fishing seasons and scenic views along the Missouri River make Francis Case Reservoir an attractive destination for anglers seeking both adventure and natural beauty.

Reasons to Walleye Fish in Francis Case Reservoir:

  • Missouri River Fishery: As a reservoir on the Missouri River, Francis Case offers anglers the chance to fish in a dynamic river environment known for its diverse fish populations, including walleye.
  • Consistent Currents: The reservoir benefits from consistent river currents, creating favorable conditions for walleye to thrive and providing anglers with a unique fishing experience.
  • Variety of Species: In addition to walleye, Francis Case Reservoir supports various other fish species, allowing anglers to target multiple species during their fishing trips.
  • Extended Fishing Season: The reservoir’s location and characteristics extend the fishing season, providing opportunities for anglers to catch walleye in different conditions and times of the year.
  • Scenic Views: The reservoir offers scenic views along the Missouri River, adding to the overall experience of fishing in a picturesque environment.

Recommended Gear: First Aid Kit, Pliers, Paddle, Fishing Net, Hooks, Live Bait, Fillet Knife 

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