The Best Bass Fishing Lakes In South Dakota


What Are The Best Bass Fishing Lakes & Rivers In South Dakota?

South Dakota, a hidden gem in the heart of the Midwest, is a sanctuary for bass fishing enthusiasts. With its pristine lakes and flowing rivers, the state offers a plethora of opportunities for anglers looking to land their next big catch. This guide uncovers the top destinations for bass fishing in South Dakota and provides expert tips to enhance your bass fishing adventure.

The Top 5 Best Bass Fishing Lakes In South Dakota

  • Lake Oahe
  • Enemy Swim Lake
  • Horseshoe Lake
  • Roy Lake
  • Lewis and Clark Lake

Learn more below about each body of water mentioned and what makes them the best bass fishing lakes in South Dakota.

Lake Oahe

Lake Oahe in South Dakota is a premier destination for bass fishing enthusiasts, offering a vast expanse of water that stretches over 231 miles from Pierre, South Dakota, to Bismarck, North Dakota. This reservoir on the Missouri River is the fourth largest in the United States, with a surface area of approximately 370,000 acres. Its average depth is around 62 feet, while the maximum depth near the dam reaches over 200 feet, providing diverse habitats for various fish species, including both smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Worth mentioning Lake Oahe recently had a state record smallmouth bass caught.

The sheer size of Lake Oahe and its varied underwater structure, such as sharp drop-offs, submerged timber areas, and rocky points, create an ideal environment for bass to thrive. These conditions not only support a healthy bass population but also challenge anglers to refine their techniques and strategies to successfully navigate the lake’s vast waters. With numerous access points and boat launches, particularly around the Pierre area, Lake Oahe is accessible to anglers of all skill levels. The lake’s vastness ensures that it rarely feels crowded, offering a serene fishing experience amidst the stunning backdrop of South Dakota’s rolling prairies and rugged bluffs.

Enemy Swim Lake

Nestled within the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation in Day County, South Dakota, Enemy Swim Lake entices bass anglers with its diverse fish population and ample space. Spanning approximately 2,150 acres, this natural wonder boasts a moderate average depth of 16 feet, reaching depths of up to 26 feet in certain areas. Enemy Swim Lake’s location near Waubay Township and Roberts County provides convenient access for fishing enthusiasts.

The lake’s healthy mix of aquatic vegetation and rocky areas creates ideal habitats for both largemouth and smallmouth bass to thrive. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks actively manages the fishery, ensuring a sustainable bass population for future generations. Additionally, Enemy Swim Lake supports a variety of other fish species, making it a potential location for multi-species fishing adventures. With its combination of size, diverse habitat, and healthy bass population, Enemy Swim Lake stands as a compelling destination for bass fishing enthusiasts in South Dakota.

Horseshoe Lake

Nestled 9 miles south of Webster, South Dakota, Horseshoe Lake is a renowned destination for smallmouth bass fishing. This glacial lake, covering roughly 1,200 acres, boasts a moderate average depth of 12 feet, with a maximum depth of 30 feet in specific areas. Its location in Day County makes it easily accessible for anglers traveling from the surrounding region.

best bass fishing lakes in South Dakota

Horseshoe Lake’s reputation stems from its exceptional smallmouth bass fishery. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks reports a population dominated by larger fish, with most exceeding 14 inches and a significant portion surpassing 17 inches. This translates to a higher chance of catching trophy-sized smallmouth bass compared to other lakes in the region.

Beyond its impressive size distribution, the lake’s diverse underwater terrain, characterized by rocky areas, submerged vegetation, and drop-offs, provides an ideal habitat for bass to thrive. This combination of factors, coupled with ongoing fisheries management from the state agency, makes Horseshoe Lake a premier location for smallmouth bass fishing enthusiasts in South Dakota.

Roy Lake

Located 2 miles south of Lake City in Codington County, Roy Lake offers a well-rounded bass fishing experience. This natural lake spans approximately 1,900 acres, providing ample space for anglers to explore. Its average depth sits at a comfortable 10 feet, with a maximum depth of 20 feet in some areas. The lake’s proximity to Watertown and other nearby towns makes it easily accessible for South Dakota anglers.

Roy Lake is managed as a multi-species fishery, but it shines for its healthy populations of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. While specific size distribution data may not be readily available, reports suggest a good mix of various sizes, offering opportunities for both seasoned anglers seeking trophies and those aiming for a fun day on the water.

The lake’s diverse underwater terrain plays a crucial role in its appeal. Rocky outcrops, weed beds, and shallower coves provide ideal habitat for bass to spawn, feed, and hide. This variety allows anglers to employ various techniques and target bass in their preferred locations. Additionally, Roy Lake State Park offers convenient amenities like boat ramps, camping areas, and picnic shelters, making it a great option for a weekend fishing getaway in South Dakota.

Lewis and Clark Lake

Lewis and Clark Lake, straddling the border between South Dakota and Nebraska, is a significant reservoir formed by the Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River. This expansive body of water covers over 31,000 acres and reaches depths of up to 45 feet, with an average depth of around 15 feet. Its large size and varied landscape make it a prime location for bass fishing, particularly for those targeting largemouth and smallmouth bass.

The lake’s diverse habitat includes rocky shores, sandy beaches, and submerged vegetation, providing ample cover and feeding grounds for bass. The presence of numerous creeks and inlets adds to the lake’s appeal, offering anglers a range of environments to explore. Located near Yankton, South Dakota, Lewis and Clark Lake is easily accessible and equipped with multiple boat launches, making it convenient for both local and visiting anglers.

What makes Lewis and Clark Lake exceptional for bass fishing is not only the abundance of fish but also the scenic beauty and recreational opportunities it offers. Anglers can enjoy a peaceful day on the water surrounded by picturesque cliffs and rolling hills, making it an ideal destination for a fishing trip that combines sport with the enjoyment of nature.

Why You Should Consider Bass Fishing In South Dakota

South Dakota’s unique blend of scenic beauty and rich aquatic ecosystems makes it an ideal destination for bass fishing enthusiasts. With renowned lakes such as Lake Oahe, Enemy Swim Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Roy Lake, and Lewis and Clark Lake, the state offers diverse fishing environments that cater to both novice and experienced anglers. These lakes are known for their healthy populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass, providing ample opportunities for memorable catches.

Whether you’re seeking the thrill of landing a record-breaking bass or simply enjoying the serene beauty of South Dakota’s natural landscapes, bass fishing in this region promises an unparalleled outdoor experience. The state’s commitment to conservation and sustainable fishing practices ensures that these waters will continue to thrive, offering exceptional fishing adventures for generations to come.

Additional Resources for Bass Fishing in South Dakota

More to explore

Find Your Next Fishing Spot

Local Knowledge is Key – Engaging with the local fishing communities and resources can provide insights into current conditions, effective techniques, and hidden spots. Local bait shops and our bass fishing near me map are valuable resources for up-to-date information that can give you an edge on your next fishing trip.

Translate »