Fish and seafood are an important part of a healthy diet. Fish and shellfish, collectively referred to as fish, contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. You should eat 8 to 12 ounces of a variety of fish every week from choices that are lower in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids. The nutritional value of fish and seafood is important during growth and development before birth, in early infancy for breastfed infants, in childhood, and in adults.

Women who are pregnant might become pregnant, are breastfeeding, and young children should consume fish based on 3 categories:

  1. Best Choices

  2. Good Choices

  3. Fish to Avoid

  • Eat 8-12 ounces (2-3 servings) of a variety of fish a week from the “Best Choices” list OR 1 serving from the “Good Choices” list
    • The “Best Choices” have the lowest levels of mercury
    • A serving for an adult is 4 ounces
  • The “Fish to Avoid” list includes 7 types of fish that typically have higher mercury levels
    • Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish, orange roughy, bigeye tuna, marlin, and king mackerel
  • For young children, 1-2 servings of fish a week starting at age 2
    • Serving sizes should be smaller and adjusted for age and total calorie needs.
    • A serving for children aged 4-7 is 2 ounces
  • When eating fish you or others have caught from streams, rivers, and lakes, pay attention to fish advisories on those water bodies. Please check the table below for species and sizes of fish from South Dakota bodies of water where limited consumption is advised.
    • If advice isn't available, eat only one serving and no other fish that week.
    • Clean and trim fish of fat and skin, since locally-caught fish may contain contaminants besides mercury that can be reduced by proper trimming and cooking (e.g. broiling instead of frying can reduce some contaminants by letting fat drip away from the fish).

Find more details on this mercury and fish consumption FAQ.

Fish from South Dakota lakes and rivers are tested for metals, pesticides, and PCBs as a collaborative effort of the South Dakota Departments of Game, Fish & Parks, Agriculture & Natural Resources, and Health. Please check the table below for species and sizes of fish from South Dakota bodies of water where limited consumption is advised.

Read a complete table of water bodies tested in SD


County Lake Fish Species
Brookings/Kingsbury Twin Lakes Walleye - 18" & larger Northern Pike - 19" & larger
Brown Elm Lake Walleye - 25" & larger
Butte Newell Lake Walleye - 18" & larger Northern Pike - over 18"
Clark Reid Lake Swan Lake   Dry #2 Walleye - over 23" Walleye - over 21"   Walleye - 22" & larger
Codington Long Lake Walleye - over 17"
Corson Pudwell Dam Walleye -18" & larger Black Crappie - over 12"
Day Bitter Lake   Hazeldon Lake Lake Minnewasta Lardy Lake Lynn Lake Middle Lynn Lake Opitz Walleye - all sizes Northern Pike - 30" & larger Walleye -21" & larger Walleye -18" & larger Walleye -25" & larger Walleye -18" & larger Walleye -18" & larger Northern Pike - over 26"
Dewey Lake Isabel Little Moreau Northern Pike - 25" & larger Largemouth Bass - 17" & larger Northern Pike - 26" & larger
Kingsbury/Brookings Twin Lakes Walleye - 18" & larger Northern Pike - 19" & larger
Marshall North & South Buffalo Lake Walleye - 21" & larger
McCook/Minnehaha North Island Lake Walleye - 18" & larger Smallmouth Bass - 18" & larger
McPherson Kiesz Lake Walleye - over 16"
Minnehaha Twin Lakes Scott Lake Walleye - all sizes Walleye - 25" & larger
Pennington New Wall Lake Black and White Crappies - over 13"Largemouth bass - over 16"
Perkins Coal Springs Reservoir Northern Pike - over 25"
Potter Lake Hurley Largemouth Bass - 18" & larger
Tripp Lake Roosevelt Largemouth Bass -18" & larger Northern Pike - over 24"

For more information, contact:

Aaron Leingang, SD Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 605-773-3351

John Lott, SD Dept. of Game, Fish & Parks, 605-773-4508

John Osburn, SD Dept. of Health, 605-394-6064