GFP Offers Free Park Entrance and Free Fishing To Celebrate The Upcoming Summer

May 14, 2020

PIERRE, S.D.–The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks (GFP) is holding one of the traditional rites of spring, the Open House and Free Fishing Weekend, May 15-17.

The promotion grants free park entrance and free fishing statewide for both residents and nonresidents. Fishing regulations and limits as well as camping fees still apply.

While the customary park programming is still on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic, parks will still be offering online fun through the Department and specific park social media channels.

“Open House and Free Fishing Weekend is a time-honored tradition in South Dakota,” said State Parks Director Scott Simpson. “It’s a great opportunity for folks to shake off the cobwebs, check out the parks, and participate in their favorite outdoor activity. Our parks are a great place to social distance, and we all deserve some quality time in the outdoors.”

Simpson also stated that visitors will start seeing some normalcy in available amenities such as showers, bathrooms and fish cleaning stations.

“Comfort stations will be cleaned thoroughly each day and inspected often. However, taking responsibility for your own health is imperative during this time,” Simpson said.

To be as self-sufficient as possible, plan to:

Get your park entrance license online before your visit by calling or going online
Use the restroom facility in your camper rather than public facilities
Bring a personal supply of hand sanitizer, disinfectant and soap to decontaminate shared spaces before you use them
Wear masks when you interact with others
When you do use a shared facility, adhere to the following guidelines:

To limit exposure, use your own facilities whenever possible (camper, tables, etc.)
Limit contact with frequently-touched surfaces
Practice social distancing at all times; stay six feet away from others
Follow CDC personal hygiene guidelines
Leave the facility clean
Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after use
“Parks’ staff have done an incredible job of working to get our parks in good condition for this weekend and beyond,” Simpson said. “We will be taking all the recommended CDC precautions as well as extra cleaning to ensure our visitors comfort and safety.”

Camping reservations are still available for Open House Weekend in many parks. Make reservations online at or by calling 1.800.710.CAMP.