By David Parker, The Outdoor Campus Sioux Falls

Summer is right around the corner and that means more time to spend with your family in the great outdoors! Though there are many ways to get outside this summer, we think you should entertain the idea of family fishing adventures. Aside from the obvious benefits of getting outside with your family for your health and wellness, fishing has additional benefits you may not have considered. Fishing is an inexpensive way for your family to bond. The cost of a fishing pole and some tackle for the whole family is nominal, and the gear can last you a lifetime. Also, getting a fishing license in South Dakota is easy and affordable; go to to see how you can get yours. For residents under 18 years of age, fishing is completely free!

Another benefit of fishing with your family is the relaxation factor. Spending time in the great outdoors has been shown to help with stress, among other concerns. There is nothing more relaxing than time holding a fishing pole and watching the ripples on the water.

Now, you might believe that this relaxation is not possible with kids, but another benefit of fishing is learning patience. Children (and adults) can learn patience through time spent fishing. Waiting for a fish to bite is the perfect way to practice patience, but also lends itself to some great conversations as a family.

Reel in Memories with Fishing in the South Dakota’s State Parks

This year provides a unique opportunity for you to enjoy fishing in the 63 state parks and recreations areas located throughout South Dakota ( Every year, the Parks Division of the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks sponsors an annual activity to promote the many activities the public can enjoy in the parks. The theme for 2024 is Reel in Memories.

To take part in this initiative, you will need a State Park Entrance License, which you can pick up online or at a park’s office, and a fishing license (unless you are below 18 years of age). With these two pieces in hand, you can get into the parks and go fishing. To participate in Reel in Memories, make sure you take a picture of yourself fishing, cleaning a fish, cooking what you caught, tying a lure, or anything else fishing related. You can then submit your fishing adventures to earn prizes ( These prizes include a variety of different fishing-themed decals based on the number of photos you submit starting at your first adventure going all the way up to 20+. Once you hit the 20+ mark, you will be entered for a chance to win the grand prize: the Ultimate State Park Camping Experience! This experience includes a 2-night stay at a modern lodge and an assortment of camping and fishing gear.

The Outdoor Campus Sioux Falls is once again participating in the Annual State Park theme, so any pictures you take of your catch in our classes or photos learning about fishing, you can upload to start earning your prizes!

Let the Outdoor Campus get your Family Fishing

Not sure how to get started fishing? Let the Outdoor Campus Sioux Falls help you with a variety of our FREE Family Programs! The Outdoor Campus offers programs on a yearly basis with 1/3 of these programs being about fishing. We teach classes based on the seasons which include ice fishing, dark house spearing, fly fishing/fly tying, rod building, bow fishing, shore fishing, and fishing from a kayak.

In each of our classes, we walk you through the basics of fish identification, safety, and techniques. We also include in every class time for you to get out on the water and fish. Our pond is located right outside our facility and is the perfect place for you to test your skills in a safe environment (note: our pond is limited to class use only, not open for public use).

To learn more about our classes or to register, visit our webpage ( and click on “Programming.” This will direct you to all the free opportunities for you and your family to enjoy at the Outdoor Campus, including fishing!

Also, if you don’t have your own fishing gear and would like to try some out before buying, we have loaner fishing equipment you can take out and utilize at any of the local community fisheries. To learn more about our free loaner gear, go to our website ( and click on “Loaner Equipment.”

Family Fun Fest Cruise 2024

This year we are excited to announce we are partnering with the ‘hood Magazine to be the “Swag Bag” pick up location on June 1, 2024. Aside from hosting this goody bag pick up (which might have some free fishing gear inside to help kick off your family fishing adventures), we are also hosting our Super Saturday Fishing that day. You and your family are welcome to pick up a swag bag, and then come out to our pond and fish for free with no registration required. Fishing will start at 9 a.m. and go until 3 p.m. We will provide the gear and bait; you just bring yourself and get ready to “Reel in Memories” and catch some fish!

Fishing in the Greater Sioux Falls Area

Finally, we are blessed to live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota because of our access to a variety of great community fisheries within such a short distance of driving. Sioux Falls itself boasts: Covell Lake, Family Park, and the Big Sioux River. To the South, Harrisburg has Lake Ole and Tea has Tea North and Tea South Community Fishing Ponds. Aside from these, Lake Alvin and Wall Lake are just a stone’s throw away from town.

For more ideas of where to fish near you, check out this free resource we offer: This interactive map will show you all the public fishing access locations throughout the state and giver further details on those locations.

We hope you and your family get the opportunity this summer to relax, get connected with the great outdoors, and do some fishing!