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laws and regulations

The GFP Commission made significant changes to the AIS regulations in early 2017. These regulations work together as a package not only to protect South Dakota lakes and rivers from new AIS introductions, but also to make compliance faster and easier for boaters, anglers and other sportsmen and women.

  1. Red-swamp cray fish were added to the AIS list in South Dakota. These crayfish are prized as table fare, but can have significant impacts to the ecosystem if they make it into a lake or river.

  2. Removed the term “immediately adjacent” from the AIS rules pertaining to plug removal and live bait and fish transport. This term was very confusing for boaters, anglers and GFP staff and it became difficult to understand when and where plugs should be removed. In order to make this easier for everyone to understand, the new regulation states that all plugs need to be removed before leaving the boat ramp parking area.

  3. Similarly live bait and fish may not be transported in lake or river water beyond the boat ramp parking area. 

These changes should help everyone to easily do their part to ensure that they aren’t moving water from one lake to another.

  1. The first new rule will create a list of waterbodies that will be classified as Containment Waters. These are waterbodies that have an AIS of concern in them and require special designation to facilitate management efforts.

  2. The next new rule builds off of the containment water list and allows GFP to create Local Boat Registries at Containment Waters. The Local Boat Registry program will give boaters that participate the freedom to more easily transport and store boats locally in areas with Zebra mussel infestations, while restricting their movement to other waterbodies unless they are decontaminated.

  3. Also related to the Containment Water list, boats are required to be decontaminated if they are used on a containment water and either have a ballast tank with undrained water (like a wakeboard boat) or are moored in the containment water for more than three days.

The purpose of these rules is to ensure that water that may hold mussel veligers and boats with very small mussels attached to the hull are properly cleaned before they are used in a different waterbody.

Always remember the following:

    1. Drain Plugs: Boaters and anglers are required to open or remove all drain plugs or similar devices; except when in the boat ramp parking lot or when the boat is being launched or loaded.

      1. What this means: Plugs have to be pulled when a boat is not on the water. Boaters and anglers may keep fish or bait in a livewell while transporting the boat from the water body to the cleaning station if the cleaning station is located within the boat ramp parking lots area. If there is no cleaning station located within the boat ramp parking area, then the plugs need to be pulled before leaving the boat ramp parking lot.

    1. Transporting Bait or Fish: Bait and fish may not be transported in water taken from a lake, river or stream. Bait may be transported in water taken from a lake, river or stream while in route to a fish cleaning station only if the cleaning station is lcoated within the parking lot area and must be drained prior to leaving the fish cleaning station.

      1. What this means: If anglers wish to transport their aquatic bait and fish in water, they can only be transported in domestic water (tap water, well water, bottled water, ice). Most domestic water must be treated to remove chlorine prior to putting fish in it. However, when leaving a water body, boaters and shore anglers can wait until they reach a fish cleaning station to put their bait in domestic water if that fishing cleaning station is located within the boat ramp parking lots area.

TRANSPORTING FISH

Anglers have three options for transporting whole fish for cleaning at home or at a cleaning station that is not within the boat ramp parking lot area.

    1. In a container (not a part of the boat), that is filled with domestic water (tap water, well water, bottled water, ice).

    2. On ice - in a cooler or pull the plug on their livewell and fill it with ice (plug must remain out).

    3. Dry - put fish in an empty bucket or pull the livewell plug before leaving the boat ramp and let it drain when traveling.

MINNOW USAGE AND TRANSPORT

Bait can only be transported away from a water body in domestic water (tap water, well water, bottled water, ice). Most domestic water must be treated to remove chlorine prior to putting fish in it.

Boat anglers can wait until they reach a fish cleaning station to put their bait in domestic water only if that fish cleaning station is located within the boat ramp parking lot area. They can dump out the lake water and fill their bait bucket up with water from the cleaning station or water they brought with them.

A shore angler can do the same if they are able to access the domestic water source at a fish cleaning station that is a part of a boat ramp parking lot or if they bring domestic water with them.

RE-USING MINNOWS

Minnows may be used in multiple lakes as long as they are transported between lakes in domestic water. Lake water must be drained before leaving each lake.

DISPOSING UNUSED MINNOWS

Unused minnows should be poured into the fish grinder at a cleaning station or drained and disposed of in the trash containers at the boat launch or cleaning areas. It is a violation of state statute to dump unused minnows into a water body.

NO CLEANING STATION AVAILABLE

If there is not a cleaning station located within the boat ramp parking area, drain plugs must be opened and bait containers must be free of lake water before leaving the boat ramp parking area.