The Black Hills of South Dakota are known worldwide for their scenic views and famous monuments and towns, but the region is also a mecca for outdoorsmen, as it offers many hunting and fishing opportunities to both locals and tourists. There are world class fly fishing streams for trout, lakes filled with walleye, northern pike, lake trout, crappie, and largemouth bass, and hunting for elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain lion, as well as deer and turkey. The outdoor action is present year-round, with spring and summer fishing, fall showcases most of the big game season openings, and winter brings with it mountain lion hunting and ice fishing opportunities. With spring comes turkey hunting and open water fishing.
While pheasant hunting in the fields and plains in the center and eastern areas of the state may be the biggest outdoor draw to South Dakota, the Black Hills offer other hunting opportunities not found in many parts of the region. Vast herds of elk roam the Hills, presenting elk hunters with a rare chance to bag one of the country's largest big game animals. Deer season typically lasts the month of November each year. The season dates for elk vary depending on the county, but most begin in October and the few licenses available are highly sought after. Bighorn sheep can also be hunted from September to December, though the number of licenses are also low and highly coveted by local hunters. While controversial in the area, the resident-only mountain lion season opens in December and ends in March or earlier if the quota is met. Turkey season occurs twice, in the spring and fall, though some of the best turkey hunting occurs during the spring. Guiding services are available. Hunting licenses for both in-state and out-of-state hunters can be obtained on the SD Game, Fish, and Parks website or at outdoor retail shops, such as Cabela's and Scheel's, or various other retail and convenience stores in the area.
Fly fishing for trout has long been one of the draws for outdoorsmen to the Black Hills. While rainbow, brown, and brook trout are not native to the area, their introduction years ago has led to successful breeding populations across the region and world class fly fishing opportunities to catch them. Many local guiding services are available to take visitors out. However, fly fishing for these trout species is not the only fishing available here. Pactola Lake and Deerfield Reservoir have the only populations of lake trout living in its waters in the three state area. Other lakes across the region, from Sheridan Lake and Angostura Reservoir to Stockade Lake and Belle Fourche Reservoir, contain many different species of fish, including walleye, northern pike, perch, catfish, and bass. And there are dozens of smaller bodies of water that anglers can fish on from boat or shore. Year round fishing is always available here, be it on the open water or through the ice. In fact, Pactola and Deerfield Reservoirs have recently been featured on episodes of the Jason Mitchell Outdoors show featuring Mitchell catching rainbow and lake trout through the ice. Fishing licenses for both in-state and out-of-state anglers can be obtained on the SD Game, Fish, and Parks website or at outdoor retail stores, such as Cabela's and Scheel's, or other retail and convenience stores in the region.