State biologists in South Dakota are already trying to determine how many smelt avoided being swept through the Oahe Dam last summer and whether walleyes are finding enough to eat.
Record amounts of water were flushed through the dam during the Missouri River flooding, and biologists and anglers worried about a repeat of 1997. Hundreds of millions of baitfish that year were sucked through the dam and left Oahe's walleyes starving and skinny.
The issue concerns not only local anglers, but also the bait shops, restaurants and motels that depend on business from the boatloads of anglers from other states who show up every year to pursue those walleyes.
Biologists say it's too early to tell what will happen to game fish and baitfish in the reservoir.