2020 Fishery Report for Walleye & Yellow Perch

from Northeast Area Fisheries, SD Game, Fish and Parks, Webster, SD.

Good News, the walleye have shown strong natural reproduction with such consistent good numbers that stocking walleye is not necessary for 2021. Poinsett was the only lake surveyed in NE South Dakota that had strong naturally produced walleye last fall. This is another indicator that the health of the lake continues to show improvement and it is in a good place right now.


Electrofish sampling for young of year walleyes was completed on Poinsett last fall. During that survey we found 526 age-0 walleye/hr., which represents a very high abundance of naturally produced walleyes in Poinsett during 2020.


Walleye. Relative abundance (5.3/gill net) was considered moderate in 2019. Gill net captured walleyes ranged in length from 7.5 to 26.4 inches, of those that were at least 10 inches 22% were>15.0 inches and 5% were 20.0 inches or longer. Fish from six year classes produced between 2009 and 2018 contributed to the catch, those from the 2015 cohort were the most numerous accounting for more than 50% of walleyes sampled. Growth of the 2015 year class has been slow through age 4 (mean length = 13.4 inches).


Yellow Perch. Although fewer yellow perch were sampled in 2019 than 2016 – 2018, they remained the most abundant species in the gill net catch. The 2019 mean gill net CPUE was 9.3 and suggested moderate relative abundance. Sampled yellow perch ranged in length from 5.1 to 13.0 inches, most (87%) were >8.0 inches and 69% were 10.0 inches or longer.

Individuals from seven cohorts (2011 and 2013 – 2018) contributed to the catch, those from the 2013, 2016, and 2017 year classes were the most abundant accounting for more than
80% of fish sampled. Yellow perch growth appears to be 
good with age-3 yellow perch exceeding 9.5 inches from 2010 to 2019. In 2019, the mean length at capture of age 3 fish 
was 10.3 inches.



This fish generally prefers large, deep, cool open water

areas with rocky shoals. Walleye are bottom dwellers

during daytime hours. The lake needs to be well

oxygenated, and have a good supply of natural food

(plankton, insect larvae, crayfish or minnows, bass, perch,

and to a certain extent bluegill), so a strong forage base is


Walleye Fish Stocking

Lake Poinsett is stocked with walleye fry according to its management plan with SDGF&P. The eggs are harvested from wild caught walleye and transported to Blue Dog Fish Hatchery in Waubay, SD. After hatching, the one day- old fry are stocked into Lake Poinsett in May. They can live three days without food by absorbing nutrients from the still connected yolk-sac. They survive by hiding amongst rooted aquatic vegetation. The typical South Dakota spring lake environment can be a tough world for walleye fry survival.

Year        Species       Size       Number

2012       Walleye       Fry       4,000,000

2014       Walleye       Fry       4,000,000

2019       Walleye       Fry       2,000,000


Yellow perch provide good forage for most predator fish,

especially walleye. This is because perch are prolific breeders

and there needs to be a natural predator to help control the

population. Yellow Perch consume a wide variety of food

items, but fish do not become a major component of their own
diet until after reaching 7" in size.


• Feeds primarily on fish, crustaceans, and 
• Males construct nests and guard the eggs and 
• Young-of-year have three distinct vertical bands on

   the tail (caudal) fin
• Popular sport fish that preys on smaller 
fishes, insects
   and crayfish.



The Northern Pike is one of the largest freshwater

game fish feeding continuously throughout the

day and night. They can eat fish up to 18" long,

ducks, and even fully-grown muskrats.




South Dakota Fish Consumption

Fish from South Dakota lakes and rivers are tested for metals, pesticides, and PCB's as a collaborative effort of the South Dakota Departments of Game, Fish & Parks, Environment & Natural Resources, and Health.

Click the interactive map for Fish Advisories where limited consumption is advised.

RED triangles indicate bodies of water with consumption advisories.

GREEN fish indicate a body of water where fish tested low in mercury and other contaminants.

Mercury in Fish Advisories Map

Mercury in Fish

South Dakota Mercury - Total Maximum Daily Load Report (TMDL) - 2016

This report was developed to address the pollutant mercury, which through various pathways and process accumulates in fish tissue. TMDLs are being put into place throughout the United States to help limit mercury emission on statewide and region-wide levels.

South Dakota Mercury TMDL Report - 2016