Fishing Licenses in South Dakota


A recreational fishing license in South Dakota allows you to fish for “game fish” species legally in most places in the state. Also called a “sport fishing license” or “game fishing license,” this fishing permit is required for SD residents and nonresident visitors who want to fish within the boundaries of South Dakota.

You can obtain a recreational fishing license from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks department (SDGFP). A sport fishing license is attainable by anyone who meets minimum requirements, including age and residency requirements (if applicable). Fishing licenses in South Dakota can be purchased at certain local vendors or online. Prices for these licenses are higher for nonresidents than they are for residents.

Who needs a Fishing license in South Dakota?

You will need a freshwater fishing permit if you are 16 years or older and want to fish in South Dakota. However, a game fishing license is not required for youths who are younger than 16, if they are residents of SD. Nonresident youths younger than 16 need an SD game fishing license in order to fish in the state, unless their families have purchased a family fishing license or one of their parents has a valid South Dakota fishing license, in which case all catches must be counted toward the parent’s total.

South Dakota Fishing License Requirements

In order to obtain a sport fishing license in South Dakota, you will need to meet state standards. The areas of these sport fishing license standards include residency, age and citizenship.

While it is possible to get a recreational freshwater fishing license whether or not you live in SD, residents receive discounted permits. In order to qualify for a resident freshwater fishing license, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have lived in South Dakota for 90 consecutive days before applying.
  • Your South Dakota address must be your permanent home.
  • You should not reside in a foreign country.
  • You should not have a resident fishing license in any other state or foreign country.

However, resident recreational fishing licenses can be obtained by certain individuals who do not fit the above categories. For example, you can get a resident recreational fishing license if:

  • You lived in SD previously but are gone because of work for the SD or U.S. government, are serving in the armed forces or are the spouse of an active-duty military member.
  • You are a military member stationed in SD.
  • You lived in SD previously but are attending college out of state.
  • You are a high school student who has lived in SD for at least 30 days.

Other recreational fishing license requirements include providing the correct payment for license fees, providing the last four digits of your Social Security Number and being at least 16 years old.

Types of Fishing Licenses in South Dakota

The South Dakota game fishing license comes in a variety of forms. Whether it is a resident or non-resident freshwater fishing license is the most important distinction between permit types.

The following are SD resident fishing licenses:

  • Regular recreational fishing license
  • Senior fishing license (65 or older)
  • Game fish spearing & archery fishing permit
    • Permits you to catch fish with spears, spearguns or legal bows and arrows
  • Combination license (small game & fishing)
  • Senior combination license (small game & fishing)
  • Junior combination license (small game & fishing; ages 16-18)

Nonresident recreational fishing licenses come in the following varieties:

  • Regular recreational fishing license
  • Family fishing license (for immediate families)
  • Youth Annual Fishing License (for nonresident youth under 16)

What types of fish can I catch with fishing licenses in South Dakota?

A freshwater fishing license in South Dakota allows you to fish for any of the following game species:

  • Black crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Brook trout
  • Brown trout
  • Channel catfish
  • Chinook salmon
  • Flathead catfish
  • Green sunfish
  • Lake trout
  • Largemouth bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern pike
  • Orangespotted sunfish
  • Paddlefish
  • Pumpkinseed sunfish
  • Redear sunfish
  • Sauger
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Walleye
  • White bass
  • White crappie
  • Yellow perch
  • Rainbow trout




A game fishing license also allows you to take turtles and frogs in addition to the fish above.

What types of fish require special fishing permits or tags in South Dakota?

A sport fishing license does not permit you to bring live fish or fish eggs from outside of South Dakota into the state. In order to do that, you need a Fish Importation Permit.

How long is a fishing license valid in South Dakota?

Recreational fishing licenses can be purchased for one day or one year for residents. Non-residents can purchase a recreational license for one day, three days or one year. There is no lifetime fishing license in SD.

How much does a South Dakota fishing license cost?

“How much is a sport fishing license?” is a common question for SD anglers. Find a freshwater fishing license cost breakdown below:


  • Regular resident
    • $8 for one day
    • $28 for one year
  • Senior fishing license – $12
  • Game fish spearing & archery fishing permit – $5
  • Combination license
    • $55
    • $40 for seniors
    • $27 for juniors


  • Regular nonresident
    • $16 for one day
    • $37 for three days
    • $67 for one year
  • Family fishing license – $67
  • Youth Annual Fishing License – $25

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Are fishing license discounts available in South Dakota?

Recreational fishing license discounts are available to disabled individuals as well as seniors and juniors. Military members stationed in the state may also not have to have a license to fish.

Where can I get a fishing license in South Dakota?

Fishing licenses are available at many local retail stores, bait shops and certain County Treasurer offices. You can also purchase them online.

How can I replace my South Dakota fishing license?

You can replace a game fishing license at any storefront agent, although they can charge up to $4 for the service. Or you can print a new one at home.


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