South Dakota Smallmouth Bass State Record Falls


A 7 pound smallmouth bass caught by Derek Valnes of Brandon, S.D., in Horseshoe Lake on Oct. 26 is the new state record for that species of fish.

Horseshoe Lake is located in Day County. The smallmouth bass was 21-1/2 inches long and had a girth of 18 inches. The fish topped the previous record of 6 pounds, 9 ounces taken from Lake Poinsett in 2008 by Darin Laue.

The first smallmouth bass entered into the record books in South Dakota weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces and was caught from Orman Dam in 1968. Since that time, the state record smallmouth bass has been bested 19 times.

Smallmouth bass are native to the Minnesota River basin in South Dakota but have been widely introduced elsewhere. They prefer rocky, clear-water habitats of lakes, impoundments and small to medium-sized streams.

State fishing records for South Dakota can be viewed on the Game, Fish and Parks website at

If you believe you have caught a qualifying fish, the state record fish application and guidelines can be found at the same location.

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