Step Outside - South Dakota WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - South Dakota 144 144 Wed, 15 Aug 2018 19:52:19 -0500 9 Best Archery Outfitters in South Dakota True sportsmen know the calm of sitting in a blind all morning with just a bow and a cup of hot coffee. Whether bow hunting is more your speed or if you’re simply into mastering the art of target shooting, South Dakota has the stores to outfit you with the very best. Find all the top-notch brands and expert knowledge at the best archery outfitters in the state. 

Black Hills Archery was established in 1988 and has tirelessly worked for the hunting and archery community ever since. They stock accessories and bows from a variety of brands including Mathews, Hoyt, PSE, Diamond, and more. 

Right near the famous Custer State Park, Top Pin Archery stocks supplies from over 50 name brand archery supplies. This family owned and operated business has served the area for over 10 years and supports local archery groups. 

Archer’s Addiction in Sioux Falls stocks a wide variety of equipment like new and used bows, bow repairs, broadheads, arrows, and lots of other accessories. Try out your new gear at one of their two archer rangers, a 50-yard indoor 3D range or 20-yard spot range.

This family owned and operated archery store was opened in 1995 by a married couple, and are dedicated to promoting archery as an enjoyable and family friendly sport. Archery gear available includes bows, arrows, arm guards, broadheads, releases, rests, sights, shooting gloves, and tabs. Archery lessons are also available. Services include arrow, bow, crossbow, and string services. No matter what you need, you can find it in Mitchell’s K&B Archery store.

This pro archery shop has everything like archery equipment and accessories, archery ranges, bow and arrow service and repairs, custom arrows like dipped/crest or wraps, birthday and business parties, and leagues for youth, ladies, and men. Ranges include an outdoor practice range from 10 to 80 yards, two-level shooting tower, and party room with 10 lanes.  

Yankton’s Xpedition Archery is dedicated to providing customers with only the highest quality bows and archery equipment. Every bow is custom made with care and patience so that high performance is guaranteed. In addition to unbeatable bows, they have a selection of other archery accessories.  

Yankton’s Dakota Archery & Outdoor Sports has everything a hunter, fisher, or archery needs like game calls, bows, tree stands, guns, and more. They’ve been serving the community for over 20 years and remain a fixture in the community. This shop has the largest selection of rifles, shotguns, handguns, and bows in the area. In addition, the store also has a 20-yard indoor archery range to test your new gear.

Larry’s Archery Barn in Elk Point has been serving the local archery community since 1981, with over 50 years of combined experience in the industry. From sights to slings to broadheads to stabilizers, they stock all the gear needed to shoot and hunt like a pro. Test your new products at their indoor shooting range, and let the staff teach you everything you need to know.

SCHEELS is not just an archery store (although they do stock plenty of archery equipment) but rather a store for every sport under the sun—from wrestling to body building to camping to canoeing and beyond. Their archery section includes a large variety of bows for both kids and adults, beginners and experts. They also have accessories and other related equipment, like a device that is used to strengthen the muscles used in archery. No matter what you need, SCHEELS in Sioux Falls and Rapid City are sure to have it.

]]> Tue, 24 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0500
9 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in South Dakota Unwinding after a long week can best be done through fishing. Head out to the pristine lakes of South Dakota to catch all the crappie, walleye, bass, and trout your heart desires. But first, make sure you’re properly equipped for your trip. Here are the best bait and tackle shops in the state.  

Located in the heart of downtown Rapid City, Dakota Angler & Outfitter has the largest selection of fishing gear in the Black Hills. In addition to bait and tackle, they offer fly fishing classes, casting classes, and guided trips, as well as rods from Sage, ECHO, Scott Fly Rods, and so much more. Only a few short miles from their doorway is Rapid Creek, the perfect place to test your new equipment!

Finn the fly shop dog. #dakotaflyangler

A post shared by Ryan Gabert (@longlinehobo) on

With over 30 years of experience, Hagen’s in Mitchell is a tried and true fishing shop with a large customer base. Hagen’s offers a large variety of products such as Colorado spinner blades, casting spoons, Mustad hooks, clevises and swivels, and, of course, tackle. Their inventory is priced very reasonably—it will be harder to find better deals in Mitchell! 

Wheel In Bait Shop serves the entire northern Black Hills region with fishing and other sportsmen supplies. In addition to bait and accessories, they offer a wide variety of tackle. After stocking up on cutting edge equipment, head over to Orman Dam right outside of Belle Fourche for unbeatable northern Black Hills fishing.

Sportsmans Cove has fishing equipment as well as rentals, guide services, and hunting equipment. Services include bait and tackle, guns, ammunition, hunting licenses, rental boats, and a fishing guide service with a local expert to show you the ins and outs. Webster is a great fishing destination, as the glacial lakes around the area have some of the best fishing in the region. In fact, there are over 15 lakes within a 30-minute drive of this shop!

This mom and pop fishing shop has served the Sioux Falls community since 2001. They have a huge range of selection with tackle for every species of fish, open water and ice fishing reels, crankbaits, and name brands like Northland, and Berkley, among many others. Each winter, they host the Dakota Angler Ice Institute, a two-day fishing event where people can attend seminars with the nation’s best ice fishermen.

Nearby the beautiful Lewis & Clark Lake, Captain Norm’s Bait Shop is a great one stop shop for all your fishing gear. They offer rods, reels, lures, jigs, spinners, lines, weights, and a variety of bait including minnows, chubs, crawlers, leeches, crawdads, and wax worms. The shop also sells South Dakota and Nebraska resident and nonresident fishing and hunting licenses.

This family owned and operated business began in the 1940s and is open every day during the year, so it is the perfect spot to pick up equipment on a lazy Sunday or a busy holiday season. M & W stocks a variety of items like live bait, frozen chubs, smelts, frogs, and a large amount of equipment. They also make their own tackle!

For over 40 years, SoDak has been a hotspot for hunters, fishermen, and other outdoorsmen and women. They have a large selection of items including shotguns, handguns, rifles, archery, and equipment for other recreational activities like fishing. The staff members are passionate and knowledgeable about fishing and hunting, and can provide expert advice for any level of fisherman.

Spearfish Canyon is known around the nation for its fly fishing, and Spearfish Creek Fly Shop can get you prepared for your fly fishing trip! This shop has a large selection of equipment like flies, clothing, rods, bait, and more, as well as fishing classes and guided excursions.

Hooks are in! It's still early enough to tie enough flies for your season!

A post shared by Spearfish Creek Fly Shop (@spearfishcreekflyshop) on

]]> Thu, 19 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0500
A beginnerโ€™s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid



Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 





About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

]]> Tue, 26 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
7 Best Ski Destinations for Families in South Dakota When winter rolls around, South Dakotans come out to embrace the season. While snowboarding, ice skating, and snowshoeing all have their merits, skiing is a quintessential winter activity that is fun for the whole family. Head to one of the seven best ski destinations for families in South Dakota for exhilarating winter fun. See you on the slopes!

With elevations from 5,900 to 7,000 feet, snowy Terry Peak is a winter sports paradise! With the high elevations, it means that Terry Peak can get over three times as much snow as anywhere else in the area. The park offers a wide variety of trials for all skill levels, as well as equipment rentals onsite. Their website offers a trail guide with markings for beginner, intermediate, or advanced trails. Beginners should check out Stewart Slope, Little Phil, Snowstorm, Gold Run, or Millsite. There are also five lifts like Gold Express, Kussy Express, Snow Carpet, Stewart Lift, or Surprise Lift.

With over 220 acres and just minutes from downtown Sioux Falls, Great Bear Ski Valley is the ultimate winter sports destination for families. The park features 14 downhill trails, a snowboarding terrain park, family tubing park, as well as cross country and snowshoeing trails. For non-serious skiers, there is also affordable equipment rental on site. Beginners can take some of Great Bear Ski Valley’s enjoyable lessons to learn the ins and outs of skiing. No matter your skill level, Sioux Falls’ Great Bear Ski Valley is fun for the entire family!

Shreddin up that fresh pow ๐Ÿ‚โ›ท๐Ÿ˜…

A post shared by @ kayleemcmacken on

Near the South Dakota-Wyoming border, the Beaver Creek Ski System consists of six trails for a total distance of almost 13 miles, and include the Porcupine Trail, Dry Beaver Trail, Highland Trail, Mallo Trail, Sunshine Trail, and Highnoon Trail. In the winter, all of these trails are open to cross-country skiers. Be cautious when skiing on the Mallo Trail, as it is a groomed snowmobile trail.

Twenty miles west of Hill City, Deerfield Reservoir Complex is a summer hot spot with swimming, fishing, and boating, but it is even more fun during the winter months, as the trails open for cross-country skiing! There are four available trails for both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing such as Gold Run Trailhead, North Shore Trailhead, Dougherty Trailhead, and Kinney Canyon Trailhead. Entrance fees to Deerfield Reservoir Complex are $5 per vehicle per day.

Spencer Park is Sioux Falls is a great destination for any season. In the summer, there is soccer, sand volleyball, a dog park, nine-hole disc golf, and bike trails. But when things cool down, Spencer Park turns into a winter wonderland! Spencer Park has one of only three Nordic ski trails in Sioux Falls city limits. 

Sertoma Park is another one of the few Nordic ski trails in Sioux Falls city limits. The park’s trails offer something for every skill level, scenic wooded views, and unbeatable exercise opportunities. Sertoma Park also has biking trails in warmer weather, the Outdoor Campus, and the Butterfly House and Marine Cove.

Skiing is the best winter activity to enjoy at Lake Herman State Park. There are three main ski trails in the park, all with different skill levels. A daily entry license is $4 per person or $6 per vehicle. An annual pass is $30 for the first vehicle and $15 for a second vehicle.

]]> Mon, 18 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600
10 Best Ice Skating Rinks in South Dakota What’s more whimsical than ice skating in the winter? Whether you’re showing off your moves in Main Street Square or you’re practicing at the smaller, local rinks, there is a lot of opportunity to lace up the skates and hit the ice in South Dakota. Here are the 10 best ice skating rinks in the state. 

Get in the winter spirit by twirling and spinning on downtown Rapid City’s outdoor public skating rink in Main Street Square. There’s even a giant Christmas tree adjacent to the rink during the holidays! The rink is a community gathering place in the chilly winter months, and in the summer, the square is turned back into a small water park area with tables and plenty of grassy space for lounging around. The Main Street Square ice rink is open for its seventh season, and the Rapid City community loves it! Head down to Main Street Square for an unforgettable winter experience!

happiest with you<3!!!

A post shared by mad murph (@maddieemurphyyy) on

Near the Brown County Fairgrounds, the Odde Ice Arena is open for recreational ice skating as well as youth hockey and tournaments. This indoor skating rink has their hours of operation on the City of Aberdeen website. Cost for daily admission is $2 for adults, $1 for youth 17 and under, and $4 for a family. A season pass is $25 for adults, $15 for youth 17 and under, and $45 for a family.

Loml โค๏ธ #alldayeveryday

A post shared by Aaliyah ( on

Brooking’s Larson Ice Center is a community hot spot during the winter months, as it hosts open ice hockey, open ice skate, and private ice rentals. Open skating is held on Wednesdays from 7:30-9 p.m., Thursdays from 8-9:30 p.m., and Sundays from 4-6 p.m. Open skating is usually only held in the winter months from late September or early October through late February. Check their website or social media for a detailed schedule of open skate and open hockey times.

Sk8 d8๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹

A post shared by Lin (@linneakervin) on

Rapid City’s Roosevelt Park Ice Arena is the perfect ice skating haven. There are plenty of public skating opportunities as well as adult drop-in hockey, youth drop-in hockey, and a hockey mentor program. For beginners or anyone looking to sharpen their skills, take on of Roosevelt Park’s Learn-To-Skate classes. If you’re dedicated enough, try joining the arena’s figure skating club, the Black Hills Figure Skating Club. Admission to the ice rink is $6 per person or $5 for seniors (age 62 or older). Skate rentals are $3 for all ages. 

Skating in a winter wonderlandโ›ธ

A post shared by Shannon Billington (@shannongrace784) on

Established in 2014 and located in the Sanford Sports Complex, the SCHEELS IcePlex in Sioux Falls is a wonderland for winter sports. Open skate sessions and open hockey are held regularly. Admission to an open skate session is $6 per person or $4 for ages 12 and under or seniors. Ice skate rentals are $3 and skate sharpening is $6. Head to their website for a complete calendar of open skate, open hockey, and event dates.

The Yankton Ice Rink has hockey, figure skating, performances, and Learn-To-Skate classes for beginners. No matter your skill level or how serious you are about ice skating, the Yankton Ice Rink has a figure skating class for you. Practice ice times are regularly held for beginner skaters. 


A post shared by nic๐Ÿ”… (@nicolelangdonnn) on

As one of a couple outdoor rinks in Sioux Falls managed by the City of Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation Department, the McKennan Park Ice Skating Rink opens in mid-December and is subjected to changes based on weather. The rink has a warming house, concessions, and skate rentals for those who didn’t bring their own from home. Skate rentals are $1 for youth age two to 15, $2 for seniors age 55 or older, or $3 for adults age 16 to 54 years. 

The PAYSA (Pierre Area Youth Skating Association) Ice Rink is the perfect spot for families with younger children to learn how to skate. If you want to become an expert figure skater, try joining the rink’s figure skating club, the Central South Dakota Skating Club. Check their website for details about registering for skating classes.

In the summer, Memorial Park is a community gathering place with picnic areas, an accessible playground for kids, and a large green space. But in the chilly seasons, it turns into a winter wonderland with a hard surface hockey rink, ice skating rink, and warming house. Ice skate rentals are available onsite, and the rink has a concession stand.

Sherman Park in Sioux Falls also has a hard surface hockey rink, ice skating rink, warming house, concession stand, and ice skate rentals, making it the perfect spot for an ice skating outing for the family! Other seasonal amenities at the park include picnic shelters, playgrounds, league softball fields, formal garden, wedding location, bike trail access point, and soccer field.

]]> Mon, 18 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600