Category Archives: General Outdoors

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Filed under Biking, Camping, Fishing, General Outdoors, Hiking, Hunting, Winter Sports

Enjoying South Dakota’s Open Waters

I am not native to the Pierre area but when I moved here for the summer it didn’t take me long to realize that the cool May and June weather and the unexpected and devastating flooding of the Missouri River really took a jab at residents and visitors alike.

However, for the last few weeks life has seemed to be getting back to a sense of normalcy. The flooding seems to be under control and the levees are continuing to hold. And as far as the weather goes, summer finally feels as though it has arrived! Although recreation restrictions are still in place for the protection of the levees, my recent experiences that boating above the dam has been great!

The last few weekends and weeknights I have spent my days soaking up the sun, and enjoying the recreation opportunities that South Dakota waters have to offer. While out on the river I have seen others begin to get back and enjoy opportunities that the river has to offer as well.

Trying to reel in the big one!

Both enjoying time boating!

The sound of boats and jet skis, partnered with sites of tubes, water skis, wakeboards, and fishing lines are back in action on the Missouri River near Pierre.

Getting on the river and enjoying these water activities is still simple. Public boat ramps in the area include Cow Creek State Recreation Area, and Spring Creek State Recreation Area. More available public boat ramps are located throughout the entire state. To find out which boat ramps are open visit the Game Fish and Parks website.

Gas up your boat, grab your fishing poles, and spend time enjoying South Dakota’s open waters.

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A New Adventure

Our resident South Dakota “outdoor guy” Joey Hockett has answered the call of adventure. He has moved on from his position with the South Dakota Department of Tourism but his impact on combining South Dakota outdoors and tourism will not be forgotten.  

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Danica and I am a summer intern for the South Dakota Department of Tourism. You might be asking yourself what business a 21 year old girl, in college, has in contributing to the SD Outdoor blog. To be honest, I initially wondered this myself when I got this assignment. 

However the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I really have spent a lot of time enjoying one of South Dakota’s greatest resources, the outdoors. I may not be the full-fledged outdoorsmen that Joey is, but I was raised with a great appreciation of South Dakota’s natural beauty and to take advantage of all that it has to offer.

Whether I was taking in the recreation opportunities at my grandparent’s lake home, trekking through fields on South Dakota’s prairies with my uncles for my first pheasant hunt, camping with my dad, or boating sections of the Missouri River with friends, some of my most fond memories were and currently are spent enjoying outdoors in South Dakota.

I invite you to come along with me as I explore more of the great South Dakota outdoors for the remainder of the summer.

Look for new blog, Twitter, and Facebook posts to hear more about my take on the South Dakota outdoors.

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Boating limited on the Missouri River

from KOTA radio news:

To protect the public and limit additional damage to homes and other private property along the flooding Missouri River, Gov. Dennis Daugaard has closed boating access facilities in South Dakota below Gavins Point Dam in the Yankton area, effective immediately.

The Governor has also banned boating on Lake Sharpe, from immediately below Oahe Dam to the downstream Antelope Creek area.

The restrictions will be in effect until rescinded by the Governor.

State law gives the Governor authority to prohibit or restrict recreational use or navigation on any portion of a river, lake or stream in order to protect the public peace, health, or safety, according to Jeff Vonk, Secretary of the State Department of Game, Fish and Parks.

“Record discharges through the mainstem dams on the Missouri River are creating hazardous conditions for boaters and anglers. In addition, boat operation on these waters can cause unnecessary and additional damage to homes and other private property affected by flood waters,” Vonk said.

Notices of the closures of the boating access facilities will be posted at those sites along the Missouri River. A violation of the public waterway restriction is a Class 2 Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine, or both.

“Fishing and boating are popular spring and summer family activities in South Dakota,” Vonk added. “In addition to these closures, we are asking boaters and fishermen who plan to recreate on the Missouri River to focus their activities to those reservoir areas above the mainstem dams where boating safety risks are reduced and impacts to private property are more limited.”

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South Dakota Triathlons

As the summer heats up, so do the triathlon competitions in South Dakota. Our shorter summers allow just enough time for utilizing our beautiful bodies of water for the swim portion, not to mention utilizing our own bodies for competition.

Some of the triathlons are easy to register for and provide a great place to start for the beginning tri-athlete. The courses in South Dakota vary from full Olympic courses to sprint courses, and some are based on whatever distance is available for a good tri-course, i.e. not your standard race but fun nonetheless.

Here is a good link for a full list of Tri’s in South Dakota:

Not all of the triathlons are listed here, so if you know of one not listed please send a comment to me. I will be sure to post the event.

Ready your swim caps and get that spandex stretched out, it’s tri-time.

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Filed under Biking, General Outdoors

Governor Lifts Recreational Ban on Big Sioux River

PIERRE, S.D. – As spring flood waters recede in South Dakota, so do the dangerous conditions on area waters.

Because of the diminished threat, Gov. Dennis Daugaard has lifted the ban on recreational use of the Big Sioux River in eastern South Dakota.

“I want to thank the outdoorsmen and women of South Dakota for their patience,” the Governor said. “Boating, fishing and water recreation are popular with many South Dakotans, but the concern for public safety always takes precedence in these situations”.

Even though the ban has been lifted, Department of Game, Fish and Parks officials are asking people recreating on the Big Sioux to remain cautious.

“We ask those who will be using the river for recreation to watch for logs and other debris,” said GFP Regional Supervisor Doug Alvine. “There are culverts and a spillway that kayakers and canoeists should avoid in Codington County near 457th Avenue (south of Walmart in Watertown).”

Boaters are advised to take special care near dams in rivers and streams. High water flowing over those structures create hydraulics that can trap boaters immediately below the dams, and escape may be virtually impossible.

High water levels persist on most bodies of water across South Dakota, and outdoor enthusiasts are asked to remain cautious wherever they are boating.

A 300-foot “no wake” zone is in effect on both Lake Poinsett and Blue Dog Lake. Boaters within 300 feet of the shoreline anywhere on these two lakes must operate their boats at a slow enough speed – about 5 miles per hour – to not create any wakes.

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Kayaking South Dakota

South Dakota contains a plethora of places to kayak. Spread across the state, are rivers, huge lakes, and small ponds on which to float. Many provide campgrounds and concessions for the perfect kayaking getaway. The state provides everything from calm, clear water to raging rapids. No matter your kayaking comfort level, you will find the perfect body of water for floating.                                                                                                    

Of new and special interest is the South Dakota Kayak Challenge, making it my adventure of the month. The kayaking endurance race covers 70 miles of the lowerMissouri Riverfrom Yankton toSioux Citywith four checkpoints and a 30 hour time limit. Racers of all ages are welcome to compete.

Here is the official link:

 Below you can find listings of my other favorite kayak locations.


Any of the lakes in the Glacial Lakes Region

All of the lakes in the Black Hills 


Missouri River

James River

Cheyenne River

BigWhite River

Belle FourcheRiver

Moreau River

Grand River 


There are also a handful of locations in South Dakota listed with class V rapids. Here is a link for more information:


Filed under General Outdoors