U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Completion Report (2000) 1-137


The 2000 Missouri River recreational use survey ran 1 April 2000 through 31 December 2000 and covered the Fort Randall Dam to Big Sioux River reach. Recreational user data was collected from postage paid post cards left on vehicles and through personal interviews. Pressure data was collected during a roving survey from ground counts of vehicles, boat trailers, recreational users. Aerial counts were made to compare angling and recreational boating data with ground count data.

Recreational users spent an estimated 745,303 hours on the Missouri River survey reach during 2000. Fishing accounted for an estimated 458,749 hours, or 62% of all use. Boating accounted for an estimated 255,736 hours, or 34% of all use. Hunting, camping, picnicking, sightseeing, observing wildlife, outdoor photography, and other uses combined accounted for only about 4% of the total use.

Anglers caught an estimated 455,988 fish, and harvested an estimated 159,420 fish from Fort Randall Dam to the Big Sioux River during the survey period. Walleye was the Single most harvested species at an estimated 29,676 fish and supported a catch rate (harvest rate and released rate combined) of 0.22 fish/hour. Freshwater drum was the second most harvested species at an estimated 20,638 fish, with a catch rate of 0.10 fish/hour. Catfish (channel, blue, flathead, and bullheads) was the most abundant species group in the creel at an estimated 36,500 fish, with a catch rate of 0.21 fish/hour.

Anglers from 29 states were contacted during the survey, with approximately 88% of them being from either Nebraska or South Dakota. Walleye were sought by approximately 45% of the anglers fishing the survey reach, followed by catfish at 21 %. Over 60% of the anglers expressed some degree of satisfaction with their angling experience. The majority of the anglers were in favor of the 15 inch minimum length limit for walleye, sauger, and hybrids.

Over 69% of all recreational users indicated they would access the river eight or more times per year. Nearly 79% indicated that the access facilities met their needs. Approximately 42% of the recreational users were involved in trips that required an overnight stay. Most users stayed at state park campgrounds (25%), followed by motels, state park cabins, private cabins, and private campgrounds in that order.