Free entrance and fishing at state parks this weekend

A news release from the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks:
PIERRE, S.D. – To kick off the summer season, the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks encourages families to spend the weekend outside during the Parks’ Open House Weekend and Free Fishing Weekend May 21-23.
During the annual three-day event, anglers can fish without licenses anywhere in the state, and entrance fees are waived for all visitors to South Dakota state parks and recreation areas. However, camping fees still apply, and fishing regulations and limits apply, too.
As a way for campers to give back to the community, the parks are hosting a food drive during the Open House Weekend. Campers are asked to bring canned goods to entrance stations of their favorite parks for donation to local food pantries.
Parks will host a variety of Open House Weekend special events across the state. Several events will be held on Saturday and include the following:
  • Walk in the Park: GPS and Geocache Basics, Oahe Downstream Recreation Area near Fort Pierre, 10 a.m.
  • Geocaching 101, Pierson Ranch Recreation Area near Yankton, 1 p.m.
  • Introduction to Model Airplane Flying, Farm Island Recreation Area near Pierre, 1 – 4 p.m.
  • Pie Iron Cooking is a Piece of Cake, Chief White Crane Recreation Area near Yankton, 4 p.m.
  • 30th Annual Trail Tour 5k, Big Sioux Recreation Area near Brandon, 9 a.m.
  • Kids’ Fishing Tournament, Indian Creek Recreation Area near Mobridge, registration starts at 2 p.m.
On Sunday, Palisades State Park near Garretson will host Fantastic Family Fishing, beginning at 10 a.m.
Custer State Park will host a number of family activities both Saturday and Sunday, including cookouts, nature hikes, free hayrack rides, a fishing derby, nature programs and demonstrations. A full schedule of events can be found on the Custer State Park website.
The weekend also marks the first weekend that campsites can be reserved in South Dakota state parks this year, and officials say many campsites are still available. Make reservations by calling 1-800-710-CAMP (2267) or online at
South Dakota state parks offer a wide variety of outdoor fun, including camping, picnicking and boating. Many parks also offer trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
For information on fishing, fishing licenses and fishing regulations, or the South Dakota state park system, visit or call 605-773-3391.

About Author

Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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