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Bass Fishing In South Dakota

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Guide to fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass in SD lakes.

By Rick Seaman

Bass fishing At Daybreak

South Dakota Bass Fishing

Bass fishing in South Dakota is a beloved pursuit, cherished by anglers of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. Few experiences rival the thrill of hooking into a largemouth or smallmouth bass, making it a timeless pastime that transcends cultural boundaries. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice angler eager to learn the ropes, mastering the art of bass fishing can be immensely rewarding. That's why this page is dedicated to offering invaluable insights and tips on bass fishing, providing a comprehensive guide on everything from bass fishing techniques to essential bass-catching strategies. Whether you're seeking advice on selecting the perfect lure or honing your casting skills, we're here to equip you with the knowledge and expertise needed to excel on the water. Dive into our wealth of information to discover the secrets of successful bass fishing and unlock the full potential of your angling endeavors.

Bass Fishing Favorites

Smallmouth Bass Fishing In South Dakota

Smallmouth Bass

While smallmouth bass don't grow as large as their cousin the largemouth, they make up the difference with tenacious fights. Known for long battles and spectacular jumps, smallies grow fat and strong but rarely exceed ten pounds. Their range and locations are often with or nearby the largemouths. The state record smallmouth bass is over 11 pounds.

Smallmouth bass prefer cool and clear waters, making them prominent in the state's rivers and reservoirs. They are known for their tenacity and acrobatic leaps when hooked, providing a thrilling fight for anglers. Rocky areas, ledges, and points are prime spots to find smallmouth bass, and lures like jigs, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits are effective in catching them.

Largemouth Bass Fishing In South Dakota

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass are the most abundant, and most pursued bass in South Dakota. They are available in most warm-water lakes in the state, they tend to thrive in most water conditions and grow to bragging size in relative short order. Often called big mouth bass, or wide mouth bass, they are savvy predators that feed on most things that live in their territory. Bass in the 5 to 10-pound range are common in South Dakota. The state record largemouth bass is over 9 pounds.

Finding & Catching Bigmouth Bass

Anglers can target big mouth bass in various lakes, reservoirs, and rivers. Spring and early summer are typically the best seasons for targeting largemouth bass as they are more active and feeding in the shallows near shoreline cover. Start with topwater baits, as they cover the water most efficiently. Reaction baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits are the next choice. For finicky bass, plastic worms and jigs may entice a bite as you can move them very slowly around cover. In the heat of summer and the cold of winter bass move to deeper water, usually following the baitfish. Jigs, drop shot rigs and spoons are a good approach for bass holding in deep water. Vary your retrieve speed and action to find what the bass like today!

Largemouth bass can be found in many of South Dakota's warmer waters, particularly in lakes with abundant vegetation and structure. Anglers often target them around submerged logs, weed beds, and other cover where they can ambush prey. Techniques such as topwater lures, plastic worms, and crankbaits are popular choices for enticing these powerful and aggressive fish.

Fishing From The Bank

The best time for bass fishing in South Dakota varies with the seasons. Spring and fall are generally the most productive times, as bass become more active in search of food and suitable spawning grounds. During these seasons, the water temperature is ideal for bass to feed aggressively, making them more responsive to anglers' presentations.

South Dakota's diverse bass fishing opportunities, combined with its scenic landscapes and serene waters, make it an attractive destination for bass enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you're seeking the thrill of reeling in a largemouth bass in a tranquil lake or challenging yourself with a smallmouth bass battle in a pristine river, South Dakota has something to offer every bass angler.

Bass fishing basics video.

Best Bass Fishing Lakes In South Dakota

You have some very fine choices for bass fishing in South Dakota. Angostura Reservoir, Belle Fourche Reservoir, Big Stone Lake, Lake Albert, Lake Francis Case, Lake Kampeska, Lake Oahe, Lake Pelican, Lake Poinsett, Lake Sharpe, Lake Thompson, Lewis And Clark Lake, Shadehill Reservoir and Waubay Lake all have healthy populations of bass. Additionally, bass can be found in smaller lakes, rivers and ponds throughout SD.

Fishing Boats For Rent In South Dakota

Bass In South Dakota

Largemouth Bass

Largemouth bass

World record: 22 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 9 lbs 5 oz

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth bass

World record: 11 lbs 15 oz

State Record: 7 lbs 3 oz

Click the images and links above for species details.

Top 5 bass fishing lures for South Dakota this year

When bass are shallow, spinnerbaits, crankbaits and stickbaits are the most productive. As they move deeper, worms and jigs are among the top producers.

South Dakota State Record Bass

The state record largemouth bass was caught from Indian Scout Lake.

The state record smallmouth bass came from Horseshoe Lake.

Bass are one of the most sought after of all the game fish. Its appeal spans cultures, age groups and genders to tap on the heart strings of anglers everywhere. Join us in our endeavor to offer information about bass fishing on your favorite bass lake in South Dakota.

Bass fishing book

Catch big bass!

Understanding the primary seasonal movements of smallmouth bass and largemouth bass is key to locating them on local lakes in the Mount Rushmore State.


Bass fishing information by state.

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