The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department is asking anglers to assist in an evaluation into how stocking salmon at different locations might improve survival and catches, and anglers could earn $100 or more in the process.

GFP is encouraging anglers to turn in heads of tagged Chinook salmon caught on Lake Oahe and the Oahe Tailwaters.

“Research projects are underway evaluating salmon return to anglers. Reporting of tagged salmon by anglers is a crucial part of the research,” GFP Fisheries Biologist Robert Hanten said.

According to Hanten, thousands of specially-tagged Chinook salmon have been stocked in Lake Oahe and implanted with small, coded-wire tags, only a millimeter long and the diameter of human hair. Although tags cannot be seen by anglers, tagged fish can be identified by the absence of a tiny fin on their back.

“Salmon have a small fleshy-lobed adipose fin directly in front of their tail, but this fin is removed as part of the tagging process,” Hanten said. “If anglers catch a salmon missing the adipose fin, we would like them to turn in the fresh or frozen head of that salmon at the GFP Fort Pierre District Office, Oahe Marina, Spring Creek Resort and Deep Water Marina, Carl’s Bait Shop or West Whitlock Recreation Area.”

Information on where and when a salmon was caught, along with the angler’s address and phone number, must be included when submitting salmon heads. In addition, a coded-wire tag must be found in the head of the fish by GFP staff to result as an entry in the contest.

“Even though every salmon missing an adipose fin was implanted with a coded-wire tag, some fish lose their tags during hatchery rearing, meaning not all fish caught by anglers without an adipose fin will contain a tag,” said Hanten.

Ten $100 rewards will be issued each calendar year, with a maximum of three rewards per person per year. The annual drawing for winners of the $100 prizes will occur by Jan. 1.

For more information, visit:, write to the Fort Pierre District Office, 20641 SD Hwy 1806, Fort Pierre, SD 57532 or call 1-605-223-7681.

Logo courtesy South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department

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