South Dakota Paddlefish Snagging Extended to Lake Francis Case

   01.26.12

Applications are now available from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks for a paddlefish snagging season that will take place on Lake Francis Case from May 1 through May 31, 2012.

There are 350 tags available for the resident-only season. Tags will be issued by lottery drawing, with a first application deadline of Feb. 17. In addition, the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Sioux tribes will each issue 25 paddlefish snagging tags to tribal members for those season dates.

Annual paddlefish stocking efforts initiated in the early 1990s have resulted in good numbers of paddlefish in Lake Francis Case. Jason Sorensen, a GPF fisheries biologist in Chamberlain, said one of the original goals of the stocking program was to develop a paddlefish sport fishery.

“Due to the success of our stockings over the years, we can be confident that conservative harvest from this paddlefish stock will not have profound negative implications on the population of these unusual fish,” Sorensen said.

The season will be open reservoir-wide on Lake Francis Case, and anglers also may snag paddlefish in the White River, from the mouth upstream to the Highway 47 bridge, he said.

“Since this is a new season on Lake Francis Case, we cannot be sure where anglers will concentrate their efforts, but we feel most activity will take place in the tailwaters below Big Bend Dam and near the White River confluence,” Sorensen said.

Anglers will not be allowed to snag paddlefish from immediately below the Big Bend Dam powerhouse to the downstream chain link fence (about two-tenths of a mile). Snagging hours will be 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. CST daily.

The season offers a unique opportunity for anglers to pursue paddlefish along a stretch of the Missouri River that hasn’t been fished for paddlefish in over 30 years,” Sorensen said.

Biologists will collect information from anglers and harvested paddlefish during the season to aid in managing the new fishery.

Paper applications for the paddlefish drawing are available at license retail agents, GFP offices or by printing them from the GFP website. Additionally, anglers can apply online at www.gfp.sd.gov.

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