The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department will stock approximately 15,000 trout below Fort Randall Dam this month.
The first stocking of about 7,500 trout in the boat basin below the dam is scheduled for Friday, March 16, according to Jason Sorensen, GFP fisheries biologist. The remaining trout will be stocked on March 23.
Trout are stocked annually below Fort Randall Dam to provide a unique fishing opportunity, in addition to other fishing opportunities in the area.
Crews from McNenny State Fish Hatchery in Spearfish will stock brown trout and two strains of rainbow trout below the dam near Pickstown.
“There are 5,000 each of brown trout, Shasta strain rainbow trout and McConaughy strain rainbow trout scheduled to be stocked,” Sorensen said.
“The trout range between 9 and 12 inches in length and bite readily, providing excellent angling opportunities for kids of all ages, as well as adults,” he said. “Excellent shoreline access and boat launching facilities provide angling opportunities for both boat and shore anglers.”
One strain of rainbow trout has been marked with a fin clip to aid in differentiating them for an ongoing research project that hopes to help maximize stocking efficiency, Sorensen said.
“We will again be evaluating the return of these different species/strains to the angler creel to provide insight into which species should be stocked in future years to give us our biggest return for each sportsman dollar invested,” he said.
Monitoring is done over the course of several years to account for the effects of variables such as weather and post-stocking survival. A main objective of the stocking is to return trout to the angler creel.