GFP Looking for Help from Salmon Anglers

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is encouraging anglers to turn in the heads of tagged Chinook salmon caught on Lake Oahe and the Oahe tailwaters.

“Research projects are underway, evaluating salmon return to anglers,” said Robert Hanten, a GFP fisheries biologist. “Having anglers report tagged salmon is a crucial part of the research.”

Thousands of specially tagged Chinooks have been stocked in Lake Oahe. A small, coded-wire tag only 1 millimeter long—the diameter of human hair—was implanted in the fish. Although anglers cannot see the tags, a tagged fish can be identified by the absence of a tiny fin on its back.

“Salmon have a small fleshy-lobed adipose fin directly in front of their tail, but this fin is removed as part of the tagging process,” Hanten said.

If anglers catch a salmon missing the adipose fin, Hanten asks that they turn in the fresh or frozen head of that salmon at the GFP Fort Pierre Office, Oahe Marina, Spring Creek Resort and Deep Water Marina, Carl’s Bait Shop or West Whitlock Recreation Area.

Information on where and when a salmon was caught along with the angler’s address and phone number must be included when submitting salmon heads. In addition, a coded-wire tag must be found in the head of the fish to be entered in the cash drawing.

“Even though every salmon missing an adipose fin was implanted with a coded-wire tag, some fish lose their tags during hatchery rearing, meaning not all fish without the fin will contain a tag,” Hanten added.

Ten, individual $100 cash allotments will be issued each calendar year with a maximum of three rewards per person, per year.

For more information visit or stop in at the office. Their address is: GFP Fort Pierre Office 20641 SD Hwy. 1806, Fort Pierre, SD 57532 or call them at 605.223.7681.