Walleye, South Dakota’s fish

This month’s highlight is the emerald green, elusive and yes…quite tasty, walleye. This perch family species ranges from Canada to Colorado and has been named by South Dakota as it’s very own state fish. Walleye can be found in the Glacial Lakes region in the northeast and throughout the Missouri River.

The walleye is named for its pearlescent eye, which is caused by a reflective layer of pigment, called the tapetum lucidum, which helps them see and feed at night or in murky water. Walleye mainly feed on other fish, but are known to eat night crawlers and the occasional freshwater crayfish.

May is a specifically good month for walleye anglers in South Dakota. Becoming more active with the ice-out and spawning season, walleye tend to start feeding more aggressively. In spring, walleye can be found in shallow water where they chase shiners and minnows. Throughout the summer and fall they move into deeper, cooler water.

The fishing season for walleye in South Dakota is year-round. Anglers, however, must pay attention to size limits, and other restrictions based on the body of water they are fishing. Whether you love to eat the tasty, mild catch or try to hook the wily walleye, our state fish is truly an aqua all-star.


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