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:

Monday, April 09, 2007

Very Early Cruise on Lake Alvin

I have invited other area paddlers to contribute to this blog, and the first person has now taken me up on the offer. Steven Dahlmeier took his new kayak out to Lake Alvin even before the official arrival of spring this year for a first cruise on the cold waters. The following is his narrative and photos of the cruise:

Guest Narrative by Steven Dahlmeier

Attached are a few picks of my kayaking visit to Lake Alvin on Monday, March 19, 2007. I took my old camera on the trip - hence the "not-so-clear" photos. This was my first kayaking trip to Lake Alvin. I have scouted this location earlier in the year after reading your postings about your trips. I launched at the public access ramp on the southwest corner. The lake was abandoned, except for two men fishing along shore.


This was the maiden voyage of my new Old Town Cayuga 146. I have never manned a vessel of this size before, so I was rather anxious to see how she maneuvered. I have also never piloted a sea kayak before, only a recreational one.


When I hit the water, I realized that it was much windier than I first thought when I left home. It was about 50 degrees with a 15-20 mph wind. I headed off the ramp south and across the open water. I took on many waves, which made me realize the importance of a spray skirt - which I have yet to purchase.

I paddled toward the creek across the lake and noticed my paddle scraping the bottom, and I was 50 feet from shore! Apparently I was in a flooded area; and since this was my first time at Lake Alvin, I was unaware of the boundaries. I explored for about 45 minutes, then loaded up and headed home.


Overall, I was very pleased with what the lake had to offer. I can't wait to get back when the weather becomes more accommodating for kayaking and exploring.

Steven Dahlmeier


Unknown said...

I just joined the local club but still dont see how to be notified of these events or get togethers. The newsletter I have was for January and there are no contacts listed.
Is there a local events website? I hope to explore some of these rivers before the water levels go down to much.
Ches Cain

Anonymous said...

Ches -

Make sure you plan to participate in the Earth Day Regatta this Saturday at 11am in Egan. Jay talks about it in the below post.


Anonymous said...

Took another trip on Alvin tonight. Covered end to end this time - spending over 1 1/2 hours on the water.

It was good to see to young kayakers out breaking in their new boats.