Fishing Brings Big Catch For South Dakota

Study By GFP Shows Industry Supports Multi-Million Dollar Impact

YANKTON, S.D.—There are millions of days spent in South Dakota like this Saturday at Gavins Point National Fish Hatchery in Yankton.


Data compiled by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks over the last year shows more than three million days were spent on their managed waters.

Yankton resident Dave Mingo said the fishing opportunities in the state continually get better.

“The walleye fishing down the Missouri River, even the glacial lakes areas, walleye, small mouth bass fishing has been tremendous, especially over the last ten years,” said Mingo.

Time isn’t the only thing spent on those days.

Money is, too.

In the last year, fishing participants spent more than $270 million directly on the sport.

That brought in more than $17 million in state and local tax revenue.

Yankton resident Timothy Petersen said the sport of fishing is a part of the South Dakota lifestyle.

“Fishing in South Dakota is kind of like football in Texas. It’s very important. It’s something that’s been integrated in our kids, within the community, the culture,” said Petersen.

In recent weeks, however, there’s been some concern for fishers in the state.

A recent state Supreme Court ruling has forced Game, Fish and Parks to close boat launches on non-meandered bodies of water, siding with private land owners.

It’s closed or limited access to more than 20 lakes, primarily in the northeast part of the state.

Mingo said he hopes something can be done to work out a compromise.

“I’ve fished some of those lakes and I’m hopeful there can be a long-term resolution that sportsmen can have access to those waters in the future again,” said Mingo

Some worry the decision will sink the economic impact fishing brings to the state.

Petersen, however, said he doesn’t see it changing much.

“I always try to respect everybody, whether it be the state’s property or land owners, to always ask permission or always know you’re okay to go in a certain spot,” said Petersen.

On Thursday, Game, Fish and Parks announced Cottonwood Lake in Sully County was added to the list of non-meandered waters they could not allow access to.

The ruling also puts how the waters can be used and accessed in the hands of the state legislature.

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