South Dakota Fishing License: Types, Fees, and Application Process (2024 Update)

Fishing is a beloved outdoor activity in South Dakota, with nearly 98% of the state’s waters being publicly accessible for anglers to enjoy. However, before you cast your line, it’s crucial to understand South Dakota’s fishing license requirements, fees, and application process. This guide will provide you with all the essential information to ensure you’re fully prepared for your next fishing adventure in the state.

Why Do I Need a South Dakota Fishing License?

Obtaining a valid fishing license is a legal requirement in South Dakota, and the fees collected contribute to the state’s conservation efforts, fishery management, habitat development, and educational programs. Fishing without a proper license can result in penalties and fines. By purchasing a license, you’re not only complying with the law but also supporting the preservation of South Dakota’s rich fishing heritage for future generations.

Types of South Dakota Fishing Licenses and Fees

South Dakota offers various fishing license options to cater to different angler needs, including residents, non-residents, seniors, and youth. Here’s a breakdown of the license types and associated fees for 2024:

Resident Fishing Licenses

License TypeFeePrivileges
Resident Annual Fishing$28*Allows residents aged 18 and older to fish, take frogs, and turtles for the entire license year.
Resident Senior Fishing (age 65 and older)$12*Allows residents aged 65 and older to fish, take frogs, and turtles for the entire license year.
Resident 1-Day Fishing$8Allows residents aged 18 and older to fish, take frogs, and turtles for one day.

Non-Resident Fishing Licenses

License TypeFeePrivileges
Non-Resident Annual Fishing$98*Allows non-residents to fish, take frogs, and turtles for the entire license year.
Non-Resident Family Annual Fishing$148*Allows a non-resident family (spouse and dependents under 18) to fish, take frogs, and turtles for the entire license year.
Non-Resident Youth Fishing (under 18)FreeAllows non-residents under 18 to fish, take frogs, and turtles without a license.

*Fees include a $6 surcharge mandated by state law for hunting access and wildlife damage management programs.

How to Apply for a South Dakota Fishing License

South Dakota offers multiple convenient options for obtaining your fishing license, including online and in-person purchases.

Online Application

  1. Visit the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks website (https://gfp.sd.gov/licenses/) and click on the “Purchase a General/Hunting/Fishing License” link.
  2. Create an account or log in to your existing account.
  3. Select the appropriate license type and provide the required personal information.
  4. Review and confirm your purchase, then complete the payment process using a valid credit card.
  5. Upon successful payment, you can immediately download and print your fishing license or access it through the GFP mobile app.

In-Person Purchase

You can also purchase your fishing license from one of the many licensed agents located throughout South Dakota. These agents can be found at various locations, including bait shops, sporting goods stores, and some retail outlets. Simply visit a nearby agent, provide the necessary information, and complete the payment process to obtain your license.

Important South Dakota Fishing Regulations and Laws

While enjoying the state’s fishing opportunities, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with and adhere to the relevant regulations and laws. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Fish Limits: South Dakota implements fish limits and size restrictions to maintain healthy fish populations. These limits vary depending on the water body and species, so be sure to consult the latest fishing regulations handbook or the GFP website for up-to-date information.
  • Aquatic Invasive Species: To prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, South Dakota has implemented specific regulations. For example, it is illegal to transport live fish or aquatic vegetation between water bodies. Always clean, drain, and dry your equipment before and after fishing.
  • Catch and Release: Certain water bodies or species may have catch-and-release regulations in place. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these rules and handle fish carefully when practicing catch-and-release.
  • Fishing Methods: South Dakota regulates the types of fishing gear and methods that can be used in different water bodies. Consult the regulations to ensure you’re using legal equipment and techniques.

Do I need a fishing license to fish in South Dakota?

All anglers 16 years of age and older need a South Dakota fishing license to fish in public waterways like lakes, rivers, and streams. Some exceptions apply for residents under 18 and nonresidents under 16.

What types of fishing licenses are available?

South Dakota offers annual, short-term (1-day and 3-day), senior, youth, and specialty licenses valid for setline and hoop net fishing. Combination licenses bundling fishing and hunting are also available to residents.

How much is a fishing license in South Dakota?

License fees start at $8 for a 1-day resident permit and max out at $67 for a nonresident annual pass. See the license fee table for a breakdown of all options.

Can I get a South Dakota fishing license online?

Yes, licenses can easily be purchased online through South Dakota’s licensing website. Create an account, pay with a credit card, and print out the license.

Where else can I buy a fishing license besides online?

Licenses can also be purchased in-person at over 400 approved license agents such as bait shops, sporting goods stores, and convenience stores across the state.

How long is a South Dakota fishing license valid for?

License duration varies. Annual licenses are valid for 365 days, while short-term options include 1-day and 3-day validity. Be sure to review the expiration before application submission.

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