Catfish, walleye, sauger, paddlefish, and many more game species await your angling skills along the two reaches of the Missouri River, 20 miles of the lower Niobrara River, and 8 miles of the lower Verdigre Creek.
So, where are the fish biting? Bait shops and other anglers are your best sources, but they won't always share the best spots. Here are some helpful hints:
Enjoy yourself! Remember, the fishing is always good; the catching just makes it better.
Live bait: Please use caution when using live bait. Follow all existing regulations. Due to the presence of asian carp, South Dakota prohibits seining of bait from the rivers below Gavins Point Dam. Empty all bait buckets in the water they were filled from or on land.
Threatened and Endangered Species: The Pallid Sturgeon, a fish native to the Missouri River, is listed on the federal Threatened and Endangered Species List. It is difficult to differentiate the pallid sturgeon from the more common shovelnose sturgeon and the lake sturgeon, and the season is therefore closed year-round on all sturgeon species.
Wild & Scenic River regulations: Hook and line fishing may be done only with a single attended pole. Chumming (bating) is not allowed.
Bowfishing for Silverfin
Silverfin, more commonly known as bighead or silver (Asian) carp, are a tasty and plentiful non-native invasive species. Unlike the common or grass carp, which are bottom feeders, silverfin are primarily plankton feeders. The meat is white, light, and flaky.
Silverfin are normally taken by archery, but occasionally are accidentally foul-hooked while pole fishing. Live or dead, they should not be returned to the river, nor left on the bank. While they can be discarded in trash or used as fertilizer, a far better solution is to eat them! The meat is high in Omega-3 and, due to the fish's feeding habits, is believed to be much lower in accumulated toxins than other fish.
Preparing and Cooking Silverfin
The delicate meat can deteriorate quickly, so it is essential that fish be gutted and iced immediately upon catching. These fish can be used in many tasty dishes. The following links will provide detailed instructions on cleaning, deboning and preparing silverfin.
Missouri National Recreational River and the National Park Service are not responsible for the recipes in the links above, nor do the links constitute endorsement of organizations, individuals, their views, products or services.
Last updated: August 31, 2021