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South Dakota Spearfishing Rules and Regulations Reminder

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, August 11, 2014
Emily Kiel at 605.773.5913 or Emily.Kiel@state.sd.us


South Dakota Spearfishing Rules and Regulations Reminder

PIERRE, S.D. - Underwater spearfishing is a popular pursuit for many SCUBA divers in the Pierre and Ft. Pierre communities. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) would like to remind spearfishing anglers and boaters of rules and regulations pertaining to diving on Lakes Oahe and Sharpe.


General rules that apply to diving and spearfishing:

  • Divers must display a diver-down flag on a float or buoy and remain within 75’ of that flag.
  • Underwater spearfishing is not permitted within 100 yards of a designated swimming or water ski area, boat dock, power intake tube or spillway.
  • Rough fish can be speared any time of day or night year-round in areas not posted or defined as no fishing zones.
  • Game fish (except paddlefish and sturgeon):
    • Can only be taken by spear from June 15 to March 15, with the exception of catfish; which can be speared year-round for noncommercial purposes.
    • Can only be speared from sunrise to sunset.
    • Daily and possession limits of each species are the same as and in combination with the hook and line limits.
    • Individuals spearfishing shall not possess speared game fish in an area not open to the spearing of game fish.


Rules specific to boating near diver-down flags:

  • Boats may not operate using an internal combustion (gas powered) engine within 75’ of a diver-down flag.
  • Boats under the power of an electric motor may legally be operated within 75’ of a diver-down flag.


Rules specific to Lake Sharpe:

  • Game fish can only be speared (with the exception of channel catfish and northern pike) from Big Bend Dam at Fort Thompson upstream to the downstream edge of the U.S. Highway 14 bridge between Pierre and Ft. Pierre. Underneath this bridge is closed to the spearing of game fish; similar to the out of bounds line on a sports field – step on the line and you are out of bounds.
  • Rough fish, channel catfish and northern pike may be taken, in accordance with the general rules outlined above, from Big Bend Dam to Oahe Dam.


Divers on the Missouri River and reservoirs are also reminded to review pertinent federal rules and regulations that may govern where diving is allowed. For a detailed description of South Dakota’s rules, please review the spearing and archery sections of the GFP Fishing Handbook located online at http://gfp.sd.gov/fishing-boating/rules-regs.aspx.