This blog is designed to highlight the paddling opportunities within South Dakota, mainly within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls. While Sioux Falls is far from the adventure of coastal regions, there is a certain satisfaction in utilizing the available waterways to observe weather, water conditions, and the landscape along the shoreline. In addition, there is a wealth of animal life on the waters of small South Dakota lakes, rivers, and creeks, including geese, ducks, pelicans, great blue heron, egrets, hawks, owls, perching birds, deer, raccoons, and beaver. Eagles, fox, and coyote are also sometimes spotted.

The sites described are places where I have kayaked over the past few years, mostly in South Dakota but sometimes including locations in Iowa and Minnesota. One of the best sources of information on the accessibility of small lakes is the South Dakota Atlas and Gazetteer, the large map book of South Dakota. Lakes with a public access are generally identified by a boat symbol marking the location of a launching site on public land.

You will notice the menu of paddling locations on the right side of the blog. Each of the postings is linked to one of the areas, and my intention is to provide a continuing review of the places where I paddle. Perhaps these narratives will help readers select waterways of interest to them. Please feel free to offer a comment regarding any of my postings; I would welcome the dialog.

I also maintain a companion blog that describes hiking opportunities within the Sioux Falls area. You can access that blog at:

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Water Sampling at Diamond Lake 2009

This year, as it did last year, the South Dakota Canoe Association took part in monitoring an area waterway through the collection of water samples and making observations under the direction of Dakota Water Watch. A fleet of seven kayaks and three canoes gathered at the public access area for Diamond Lake for an orientation to the mission. In teams, the boats set out to designated spots on the lake to collect samples, determine water depth, clarity of the water, weather conditions, and make other observations of the lake. The data will be analyzed by Dakota Water Watch to provide baseline information that should facilitate the ongoing monitoring of water conditions on the lake.
Each team was equipped with a depth-sounding device to determine both depth and clarity of the water. Each team also collected samples of water at assigned positions on the lake.
This lake is fed by a creek at the northern end and ends in a dam at the south end. The dam is wide enough to handle vehicle traffic including farm equipment. Diamond Lake is a popular spot in the area for fishing, and there were fishermen on the dam as well as in boats.
As always in an event of this nature, solitude is replaced with camaraderie, and there was a sense of fellowship among the paddlers as they moved about the lake.
When I set out from Sioux Falls this morning, the winds were calm and the temperature was in the high 50s. On the lake, the wind came up a little and was blowing about 10 miles an hour – just enough to produce some small waves. Such a large crowd on the water must have discouraged the pelicans. The island at the south end of the lake where they tend to hang out was deserted.
This was a pleasant morning, a good time to laugh it up with paddling pals. It was also a good public service project that keeps the SDCA engaged in doing good works.

Upcoming Service Project: This Wednesday, July 22, in the late afternoon, the SDCA will be engaged in a river “clean-up” project along the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls. Details of this project can be found on the SDCA web site: For those who can get away for an hour or so, this is a good opportunity to contribute toward this public service event.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My thanks to everyone for the clean-up efforts tonight, as well as in the past. I have been canoeing the Big Sioux in SF for about ten years, and have looked foward to participating, but it just never seems to work out. I just moved to a new house, and have a baby due in three weeks so my better half isn't ranking this as high priority as I. Let me know if you ever need a "mother-ship" to haul garbage, and hope we meet someday. Thanks again! - Jeremey