The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission is proposing rules changes in areas open to spearing of northern pike and channel catfish.

The changes would allow northern pike to be taken by underwater spearing, dark-house spearing and archery on all inland waters of the state, except those waters actively managed for muskies.

“There are currently limited opportunities to participate in dark-house spearing for northern pike throughout South Dakota,” said Geno Adams, GFP fisheries program administrator, “This proposal gives pike spearers additional opportunities to take advantage of pike populations around the state during both the open-water and ice periods of the year, without negatively impacting our resources.”

Opportunities to spear channel catfish would also increase under a commission proposal that would open areas to catfish spearing on the Missouri River below Oahe, Big Bend, and Ft. Randall dams, which are currently closed to all game-fish spearing.  Channel catfish can already be taken year-round by spearers and archers without limits on the inland waters of the Missouri River in South Dakota, except for the designated areas below dams that are closed to spearing and archery of all game fish.

“Allowing catfish to be speared in these areas will expand opportunities  to harvest an underutilized species on the Missouri River,” Adams said.

The GFP Commission proposal also includes lengthening the game-fish spearing season from the current June 15 through Feb. 29 to June 15 through March 15.   Season dates for northern pike spearing would match the proposed game-fish season dates.  The date after which ice shacks may not be left overnight on the ice will remain unchanged at Feb. 29, but portable shacks could still be used until March 15 if removed from the ice daily.

To view the full proposals, visit:

To comment on the spearing proposals, email . Include your complete name and physical address to be part of the public record.  The commission will take public comment at its Nov. 1 meeting at Camp Lakodia near Madison.  The public forum portion of the meeting will begin at 2 p.m. CDT.

Logo courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks

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