Fishing the Fifty

My Quest to Fish All 50 States

South Dakota

South Dakota was another of the states that pleasantly surprised me.  The stereotype I heard most often was that South Dakota is boring and flat.  Oddly enough, the only other thing that people associate with South Dakota is Mount Rushmore, so clearly the topography has to change at some point.  My favorite parts about South Dakota were the Badlands, which are unlike anything I have ever seen, and Bear Country U.S.A., one of those drive-through parks with animals, including bears.  Lots of bears.  Bears that walk alongside your car and make you second-guess not having bought the insurance that the person at the rental car desk told you about.  There is also a large play area where dozens of bear cubs hang out and roughhouse.


As for the fishing, I fished with Karl Palmer ( on a dammed up part of the Missouri River called Lake Sharpe.  Both Lake Sharpe and the upstream Lake Oahe are absolutely gorgeous, and both are renowned fisheries.  The temperature reached 106 degrees, but the ceaseless Midwestern breeze and lack of humidity made it feel more like 85.  Fortunately, the near-constant action I had had in North Dakota followed me to South Dakota.  I caught 22 walleye, with the biggest three being 17 inches, as well as two freshwater drum, the bigger being 19 inches.  Karl is a fellow history buff and I had a great time talking with him while reeling in fish after fish.

Welcome to South Dakota

Lake Sharpe

My first South Dakota fish

Freshwater drum

Another walleye

The Missouri River

Visiting the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

An elk at Bear Country U.S.A.

Hanging out at Bear Country 

Black bears on the side of the road

Some playful bear cubs

Bear pile!

More bears playing in Babyland at Bear Country U.S.A.

The Badlands