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Lake Oahe walleye continue post-2011 flood rebound

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outdoors Mitchell, 57301

Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — Wildlife officials say walleye are rebounding in Lake Oahe after millions of rainbow smelt baitfish were flushed through the Oahe Dam during 2011 Missouri River flooding.

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Rainbow smelt is the primary baitfish in the Dakotas lake, especially for big walleyes. Biologists began seeing Oahe's bigger walleyes die off in 2012, but the lake's mid-size fish were able to survive on other prey such as zooplankton, shiners, young perch, white bass and crappies.

Brett Afdahl with Walleyes Unlimited tells the Argus Leader that it's going to be years before anglers start catching 24-30-inch walleyes again. But Geno Adams with the state Game, Fish and Parks Department says there should be lots of 15-16-inch walleyes.

This year's daily limit is four fish with only one 20 inches or more.

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