This weekend is an open house of sorts at South Dakota State Parks and lakes.
South Dakota has an abundance of natural beauty and natural resources. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department wants everyone to get a chance to experience them. That's why this weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the summer outdoor season, with no fees to enter state parks and free fishing for everyone.
"Here's an opportunity. If you haven't been in South Dakota's outdoors, here's an opportunity to get out there and experience and do it at our expense and see if you like it," Regional Fisheries Supervisor Todd St. Sauver said.
As with all outdoor experiences, weather always plays a crucial role. But with the wild flooding of 2011 a thing of the past, this year should be one of the most enjoyable times in recent years.
“We have really good water levels throughout the state. The Missouri River system is recovering from the flood and already producing good fishing. Eastern South Dakota lakes are just excellent this year," St. Sauver said.
While entering state parks is free, camping fees still apply. Fishing is also free, but you must know and follow all fishing regulations. The state's goal is that this won't be the last time you enjoy the great outdoors this year.
"By all means, get out there, enjoy the weekend and hopefully you'll have a great experience and you'll come back for many more weekends to come," St. Sauver said.
And with some luck, you'll have a fish story to tell next week.