Fisher Grove State Park is a tranquil place with lots of shoreline to explore, outdoor activities galore and 22 campsites with electricity for RVs. Located seven miles east of Redfield, South Dakota, Fisher Grove State Park is situated near a horseshoe bend along the banks of the James River. Created in 1968, the park encompasses Belcher’s Ford across the James River which was part of the original Watertown-to-Pierre stagecoach route. Fisher Grove State Park was named after Frank I. Fisher who was the first permanent European settler in the area.
The surrounding area of the park was originally the homeland of several Plains Indian Tribes including the Sioux and Dakota. The tribes first encountered European fur trappers in the early 1800s including members of the Lewis and Clarke Discovery Expedition. The tribes used a traditional rock crossing at Belcher’s Ford to cross the James River. The original rock crossing was removed by the WPA in the 1930s and the rocks were used to build a dam. In the late 1870s, Fisher Grove contained a post office, hotel, and a schoolhouse which was restored for the public to see.
Today, Fisher Grove State Park is playground for RVers with plenty of outdoor activities for travelers to enjoy. Watersport activities include kayaking, boating, and fishing and there is hiking and golfing at the Fisher Grove Country Club which manages the state park.
The weather at Fisher Grove State Park brings summer time temperatures in the mid-80s along with up to three inches of rain. RVers in the winter time will experience temperatures in the 20s and up to seven inches of snow per month.
RVs, campers, and trailers can access Fisher Grove State Park from U.S. Highway 212 and Fishers Lane. Traveling east on U.S. 212 from Redfield, you will find no significant problems with turns but you will encounter undulating grassland terrain and there is a high probability of high winds that can hamper your driving speeds. If you are traveling west from Doland along U.S. 212 you will find similar prairie terrain and high winds. There is also two turns after you pass Frankfort where you will find congestion along the highway.
Once inside the park you will follow Fishers Lane past the damaged bridge to the old campground before you reach the campground. Do not travel over the damaged bridge to the former campground. The bridge and the old campground are closed. The road continues onward to a day use area that is not advised for RVs or motorhomes. There will be congestion and a limited number of parking spaces at the day use area. You may also find congestion near the boat ramp which is located just before the campground loop road. While driving within the park, please adhere to all posted speed limits. Be cautious of sharing the road within the park with bicyclists, pedestrians, and children playing in the road.
Fisher Grove State Park Campground is situated along one loop and contains 22 campsites with 50 amp electrical hookups for RVs. There are three pull-through spots available with rest of the campsites being back-in. The campsites in the campground within the center do not offer shade or privacy. Outer campsites along the loop sport more privacy and shade from trees.
Each campsite features a fire ring, picnic table and gravel parking pad that may require leveling. RVs and trailers are limited to 65 feet in length and not all campsites can accommodate larger rigs. There is a dump station available near the entrance to the campground. You are encouraged to fill your water tank while dumping.
Other amenities within the campground include flush and vault toilets, fresh water spigots, and a playground. Generators may be used from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Pets must be restrained by a six-foot leash at all times. Although the campground is open year round, there is water between October 1st and April 30th each year.
Most people usually have their rod and reel in their RV and fishing at Fisher Grove State Park can be quite enjoyable and rewarding. The best time of the year for fishing is spring where the walleye action is hopping. Once the ice clears the river boasts excellent opportunities for walleye and larger catfish. Water levels are lower in the summer and you will find more carp, bullhead, rock bass, and freshwater drum. Before throwing your line in the water check South Dakota fishing regulations for licensing, restrictions, and bag limits.
Make sure you packed your binoculars in your campervan before visiting Fisher Grove State Park. Bird watching opportunities at the park are excellent. The banks of James River attract many different species throughout the year, especially around Motley Island and the former campground area. Bird species you can expect to see include great horned owl, belted kingfisher, sparrow hawk, red-headed woodpecker, and Baltimore oriole. Wildlife is also plentiful and the best area to see animals is the old campground. Watch for red and gray fox, beaver, muskrat, badger and white-tailed deer.
Once the snow starts to fly, you will find plenty on the ground to help you go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. You can swish through the older campground loop before setting out on the Dakota Trail. The trail is easy to follow in the winter with plenty of interpretive signs standing tall above the snow levels. You can also find plenty of room on the golf course for snowshoeing that offers options for tubing too. Winter time also brings ice fishing opportunities for walleye.
Bringing a kayak or canoe in your camping trailer is a great idea when you visit Fisher Grove State Park. Navigating the James River in the summer is perfect for all types of paddlers from beginners to expert. One of the better places to paddle around is Motley Island where you can stop for a nice picnic and along the horseshoe bend of the river. Kayakers and canoers will find plenty of spots to put in the river. There is a boat launch at the park which helps with bigger floating crafts that are used for fishing and pulling inner tubes.
Hiking at Fisher Grove State Park is easy and rewarding. The Dakota Trail is a nice one-mile nature trail from the campground that takes you first across the bridge to the older campground. From here you wind along the horseshoe bend of James River before returning to your starting point. There are plenty of interpretive signs along the trail that explains wildlife, the ecosystem and the James River. The hike is perfect for families with children.
Yes, you can pack your golf clubs in your rig and play some golf while you visit Fisher Grove State Park. The semi-private Fisher Grove Country Club is within the park’s boundaries and offer ten holes with a par 35 for you to conquer. The ten holes play over 2,700 yards from the back tees with water hazards along the James River on four holes. The fairways are nicely groomed but you can find tree trouble on each hole when you are not shooting accurately. Check with the course for tee times and dress restrictions.