The 7 Best Fly Fishing Spots in South Dakota!

With its many scenic outdoor recreation areas, South Dakota is a fantastic state to practice this unique fishing technique! For beginners who’d like in-person instruction, the Outdoor Campus East in Sioux Falls and the Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City both provide classes to teach fly fishing basics. There are both children and adult classes offered. High-quality fishing equipment can be found in stores like Dakota Angler & Outfitter in Rapid City, M & W Bait & Tackle Shop in Sioux Falls, Sportsmans Cove in Webster, and Hagen’s Fishing Tackle. Make sure to purchase a South Dakota fishing license, which can be found online or at local fishing and sports stores! Here are seven great spots for fly fishing in the state. 

1. Pactola Reservoir

Hiding under the waters of Pactola Lake are not only the submerged remains of the old town of Pactola, but also a huge population of fish! With a surface area of over 1,200 acres, it is the largest reservoir in the Black Hills. It was created by the Pactola Dam and is used for flood control, irrigation, and as one of Rapid City’s water sources. A popular walk-in fly fishing area is located on Rapid Creek right below the dam. Water levels vary widely, so check before you go.

2. Spearfish Creek

Flowing through Spearfish Canyon is the crystal clear Spearfish Creek. It is considered by many to have the finest population of wild rainbow trout in the Black Hills and is classified as a permanent cold water fishery. Despite its sizable population of fish, it is not overrun with fisherman due to the large size of the creek, which averages about 30 feet wide. Year-round fishing is possible as the creek moves so fast that it does not freeze over.

3. Sheridan Lake

Located 15 miles west of Rapid City, Sheridan Lake is a warm 375-acre lake. A variety of fish can be found here including trout, northern pike, perch, and bass. The best spot for fly fishing in Sheridan Lake is in Spring Creek below the dam. There are several other high-quality fishing areas throughout the Sheridan Lake Complex! During the winter, ice fishing is popular on the lake.

4. Palisades State Park

Flowing through unique Palisades State Park is Split Rock Creek, which is abundant in a variety of fish species. The one-of-a-kind rock formations, calming forests, and curving river make this a picturesque fly fishing destination. Fish species that call this park home include channel catfish, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, white crappie, and yellow bullhead.

5. Rapid Creek

Rapid Creek goes throughout in the Black Hills, and some of the best fly fishing in the state can be done in Rapid City. The area from the Rapid City Civic Center to Canyon Lake has a large number of brown trout. Canyon Lake itself is stocked with rainbow trout throughout the year. Fishing is permitted at Canyon Lake during every season.

6. Grace Coolidge Creek

Grace Coolidge Creek is a popular hiking and fly fishing location in the Black Hills. This scenic creek has several low-level dams that are stocked with trout. The walk-in fishing area has two trails that lead to it. It can accessed either by the trail adjacent to the swimming beach at Center Lake or the trail near the parking lot across from the Grace Coolidge Campground along Highway 16A. The surrounding rock formations and trees cast beautiful reflections in the water, and the park’s bison are often seen along the creek. While they are beautiful to observe at a distance, do not approach the bison as they can be very dangerous!

7. Whitewood Creek

Whitewood Creek flows through Lead and Deadwood, and eventually converges with Deadwood Creek. In the 19th century, Whitewood creek was widely used in mining operations after gold was found in it. Nowadays, it is a legendary fly fishing location that has been featured in fishing articles. This clear creek is not as widely known as other locations, so it is less likely to be filled with fishermen. Popular fish species in the lake include brook trout, brown trout, longnose dace, and mountain sucker.

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21176 Flood Club Road, Lake Preston, SD
Originally called Dry Woods Lake by American Indians, the lake was renamed for Jacob Thompson, Secretary of the Interior under President James Buch... Read More
13672 Hartford Beach Road, Corona, SD
Big Stone Lake provides the setting for this popular camping and picnic area nestled in the shade of a native wooded forest.Runoff from melting gla... Read More
20439 Marina Loop Road, Fort Pierre, SD
The park's three campgrounds give visitors a variety of recreational opportunities, from boating to hiking to disc golf. The Corps of Engineers beg... Read More
19425 Okobojo Point Drive, Fort Pierre, SD
Scenic rolling hills, wide expanses of prairie, and one of the most outstanding vistas along the Missouri River await those who love the outdoors.&... Read More
20439 Marina Loop Road, Fort Pierre, SD
A day-use park, Spring Creek offers water-lovers access to the Oahe Reservoir. The lake has more than 2,000 miles of shoreline and its clear waters... Read More
12980 446th Ave, Grenville, SD
Noted for its cool, spring-fed waters, Pickerel Lake is one of the deepest natural lakes in the state. The 955-acre lake bears an American Indian n... Read More
38180 297th Street, Lake Andes, SD
Located on the shores of the Missouri River just above Fort Randall Dam, North Point Recreation Area provides a spectacular river view. Lewis and C... Read More
6431 Walker's Point Drive, Wentworth, SD
Tucked along the shore of Lake Madison, this small but complete park meets the many needs of campers, anglers and boaters. Campsites offer pictures... Read More
35250 191st Street, Miller, SD
Lake Louise was made in 1932, when the south fork of Wolf Creek was dammed. Water depth in this 164-acre impoundment averages nine feet, with a max... Read More
402 Park Avenue, Mina, SD
Nestled along the wooded shores of Mina Lake, Mina Recreation Area is a water-lover's haven with plenty of room for boating, fishing and swimming. ... Read More
Hiddenwood Rd, Selby, SD
Heavy rains washed out the bridge and dam on the road to the park, which is the only way to access the area. The park is closed indefinitely as off... Read More
22154 West Bend Road, Harrold, SD
Excellent walleye and small mouth bass fishing is supported by a relatively stable lake level and cool water temperatures. With most fishing done f... Read More
1301 Farm Island Road, Pierre, SD
Located east of Pierre, Farm Island attracts all types of visitors - campers, swimmers, hikers, anglers, bird watchers and bicyclists. With easy ac... Read More
27450 Buryanek Road, Burke, SD
Buryanek Recreation Area is popular with boaters and anglers, as well those looking for scenic beauty along the Missouri River. History buffs will ... Read More
19150 Summerville Road, Shadehill, SD
Originally Big Owl and Little Owl rivers, the sheltered watersheds of the Moreau and Little Moreau Rivers provided traditional winter campgrounds f... Read More
19150 Summerville Road, Shadehill, SD
Nestled on the shores of Shadehill Reservoir, Shadehill Recreation Area offers opportunities to enjoy land and water based activities. The reservoi... Read More
1100 South Lake Drive, Watertown, SD
On the banks of Lake Kampeska, Sandy Shore Recreation Area offers just that; a long, sandy beach. The beach is a great place to enjoy Lake Kampeska... Read More
31323 Toe Road, Yankton, SD
With its 146 campsites and ten camping cabins, Chief White Crane is a great place for groups to gather to spend the weekend. Combined with its own ... Read More
31144 Toe Road, Yankton, SD
Pierson Ranch opened in 1959 and is the oldest campground in the area. It was the first campground to be constructed after Gavins Point Dam was com... Read More
410 W. Park Street, Brandon, SD
Big Sioux Recreation Area lies on the banks of South Dakota's Big Sioux River. Close to the cities of Brandon and Sioux Falls, Big Sioux is popular... Read More
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