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:

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Joining the South Dakota Canoe Association


It is easy to become affiliated with the SDCA, and membership is a good way to network with other area paddlers, find out about cruises and training sessions, and participate in SDCA events. You can just submit the following information and a check for your annual membership dues:



City, State, and zip code:____________________________________

Telephone Number:_____________________________________________

E-mail address if you would prefer to receive the newsletter via e-mail):______________________________________________________

Enclose $10.00 for annual dues for an individual, $12.00 for a family, or $25 as a contributing member and mail to:

South Dakota Canoe Association
Box 90227
Sioux Falls, SD 57109

For those who would like to just call in a membership application or renewal and use a credit card to pay for the annual dues, Pete Larson, the SDCA Membership Chair, has provided the following toll-free number to facilitate the process:

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Rescue Training in YWCA Pool

The South Dakota Canoe Association sponsored a pool training event today at the YWCA swimming pool in Sioux Falls. The focus of this activity was to practice self- and assisted kayak rescue techniques. The event was planned and organized by Jarett Bies, SDCA Board member, and follows a similar activity last winter. With temperatures rising above 30 for the second day in a row, hints of actual on-water activity are in the air. Most of the area paddlers expect to be able to get out on the rivers and lakes within seven or eight more weeks.
There were eight kayaks in the YWCA pool on this morning before the big Super Bowl parties planned around the area. While some of us were satisfied with practicing a “wet exit,” others used the opportunity to experiment with re-entry or rescue techniques. Jarett had a paddle float, which several paddlers used to assist with reentry moves. For me, just going through a wet exit is enough. It is so much better to practice flipping over in a pool with colleagues available to watch over the capsize rather than having a first experience alone far from shore on a big lake. One of the participants in the pool training exercise last year learned techniques that helped him manage a rescue operation that occurred during the SDCA water monitoring event last spring on Grass Lake.
This was also a networking and social event as paddlers made new friendships and discussed cruises ahead for the spring and summer.
For those who have not yet joined the South Dakota Canoe Association, I suggest going to the club website, getting the address, and mailing in the $10 membership fee. You can check the club website for future pool or cruise information: