State Fish Of South Dakota

Walleye Is The Official State Fish Of South Dakota. South Dakota Adopted walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) as the official South Dakota State Fish in 1982. The walleye is a large freshwater perch (not a pike, as is commonly thought) with a long, olive-colored and gold-flecked body. There is a distinct black mark on its dorsal fin, and its tail has a white tip on the lower fork. It is a highly prized sport fish due to its size, fighting ability, and flavorful meat. National Fish Of South Dakota Walleyes migrate to suitable spawning grounds, sometimes as far as 100 miles away.



Length: Up to 42 in (107 cm); average of 36 in (90 cm)

Weight: Up to 22 lbs (10 kg); average of 11 lbs (5 kg)



Large, cool lakes and rivers with low to moderate clarity and sand or gravel bottoms.

Range: Throughout Canada and in the United States from the Dakotas to Arkansas, east to North Carolina, and up the Atlantic Coast to Maine. The State Fish Of South Dakota walleye have been widely introduced all over the U.S.

Water type: Freshwater

Water temp: 65-75°F (18-24°C)

Elevation: Down to 89 feet (27 m)

Conservation Status: Secure



Young South Dakota State Fish walleye eat insect larvae and plankton. As they mature they switch to insects and then fish like yellow perch, ciscoes, and freshwater drum. They also eat insects, crayfish, snails, leeches, worms, mudpuppies, crayfish, frogs, snails, and even small mammals like mice.



Fertilization: External

Spawning frequency: April to June

Mating behavior: Several males will pursue females in the evening and circle them repeatedly with their fins erect.

Egg-laying: A female lays up to 500,000 eggs. The eggs adhere to rocky lake bottoms in relatively shallow water, where they are dusted by the male’s milt to become fertilized. The “fry” hatch after 20 days. Adults National Fish Of South Dakota do not protect or care for the eggs or fry.

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