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Spearing Game Fish (walleye) in SD proposal

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This proposal appears to be INSANE. Spearing gamefish!?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 14, 2014

CONTACT: Emily Kiel at [email protected]

GFP Commission Proposal on Statewide Spearing of Game Fish

PIERRE, S.D. — The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) Commission is proposing to open up game fish spearing statewide. The proposal was made as a result of an outside petition received from spear fishermen. The Commission will consider adoption of the proposal at their Dec. 11-12 meeting in Fort Pierre.

The Commission proposed the following rule amendments for game fish spearing for 2015:

• Allow spearing and bowfishing of all game fish species (except paddlefish and sturgeon) in all inland waters.

• Establish a year-round game fish spearing and bowfishing season.

• Make game fish spearing and bowfishing regulations on boundary waters match those of adjoining states.

“No inland waters are exempt from the current Commission proposal, meaning spearing and bowfishing for all species (except paddlefish and sturgeon) could occur in all inland waters including urban fisheries, small impoundments, trout streams and large lakes and reservoirs,” stated John Lott, GFP administrative chief for fisheries. “Harvest of game fish by spearers and bowfishers is not a biological issue. It is a social issue.”

Currently, the following regulations pertain to game fish spearing on inland waters:

• Game fish spearing and bowfishing season is open from June 15 to March 15, inclusive.

• Waters open to the spearing and bowfishing of game fish (except sturgeon and paddlefish) during the established spearing season in 2014 included:

o Lake Oahe;

o Portions of Lakes Sharpe and Francis Case;

o Angostura and Belle Fourche reservoirs.

• Spearing and bowfishing of northern pike was open in all inland lakes in 2014, except those managed for muskies, during the June 15 – March 15 game fish spearing season. As of last week, the Commission finalized that for 2015, the spearing and bowfishing of northern pike and catfish in all inland lakes (except those managed for muskies and areas of the Missouri River system closed to game fish spearing) and the Grand River immediately below Shadehill Reservoir, is allowed year-round. The Commission also added Shadehill reservoir to the list of waters open during the June 15 – March 15 game fish spearing season.

“By proposing a statewide, year-round season for spearing and bowfishing of game fish, the Commission has provided the public an opportunity to comment on how much spearing and bowfishing opportunity for game fish there should be,” concluded Lott.

The GFP Commission will act on this proposal Dec. 11-12 at the Fort Pierre Holiday Inn Express in Fort Pierre.

Written comments on this proposal can be sent to 523 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, S.D. 57501, or emailed to [email protected] or [email protected] To be included in the public record, comments must be received by 12 p.m. CST on Dec. 11 and include a full name and city of residence.

A public hearing before the Commission will be held for those who want to publically comment at 2 p.m. CST at the Fort Pierre Holiday Inn Express on Dec. 11.


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Spearing walleyes for eating would likely lead to fewer fish being killed overall since there is no catch and release from deep water, and no hook mortality. Once your legal limit is obtained, or you have taken what you want for a meal, you are done, left with look and release.

Speaking of walleyes in the spear hole, they would be harder to spear than pike. The ones I have seen have not stopped moving through the hole to lay there or to size up a decoy like a pike. They might come back a few times but they are always moving, much like a whitefish, but usually closer to the bottom under, but rarely level with an artificial decoy.

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I see no problem with it. Your limit is your limit. Do you really believe that on a hot walleye or pike bite you catch and release 30 or 40 fish and none die from hooking mortality? Think of it this way you and group of friend have tip ups out and C&R 25 pike keeping none in 0 degree weather. Some are hooked deep some are measured and photoed etc what happens to their eyes and slime when it freezes? a spearer spears say 2 24 inch inch pike and 2 walleyes they are dead for sure. But the spearer did not touch any other fish so he can absolutely say I only killed 4 fish. How many fish did the group tip up fishing kill? Say some of the tip up are in 30 ft of water we have all experienced fish with swim bladder problems that shouldn't be released but are. What happens if they are fishing in -20 below weather outside of a fish house? How does that affect gill tissue eyes etc being dropped in snow. That is my take on it. Also my observation show that walleye cruise right thru never really giving a hittable target. You can scuba dive and spear in SD currently. You can also spear most game fish Montana


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I agree with early riser. I have seen lots of walleye in a spear hole but they never stop and they do not really lift off of the bottom. I do not think they would be very easy to target spearing but then again I have never speared in SD or tried to target walleyes.

Doesn't Montana already allow you to spear eyes, trout, etc...? I thought I heard that somewhere. Never been out there but I have heard that Montana allows spearing of multiple game fish species from friends that go fishing at Fort Peck (sp?)

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I see the dark house people are replying like its no big deal. Hopefully the angling people viewing this post take the time to send an email opposing this. Angling is selective harvest. Spearing is just estimating the size. if you want to spear walleye I suggest you drive to Montana. Fort Peck is full of walleye. Lol.

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