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A new aquatic invasive species known as rusty crayfish have been discovered in South Dakota waters by a South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks conservation officers in the southeastern part of the state, according to a news release.

The officer encountered an angler who had illegally trapped crayfish for bait from the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam. Among that illegal bait was what the conservation officer suspected to be rusty crayfish. Lab testing confirmed the suspicion.

While its impact may not be as immediately drastic as other invasive species counterparts such as Asian carp or zebra mussels, rusty crayfish are an extremely aggressive crayfish species.  

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Anglers are reminded that live rusty crayfish are illegal to possess and/or transport. Furthermore, anglers should be aware that no live bait may be harvested in the portion of the Missouri River below Gavins Point Dam.

If an angler believes they have found a rusty crayfish in another body of water, they should contact the local GFP office at 605-394-2310 as soon as possible to report the sighting. 

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