Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge

South Dakota

(605) 487-7603

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

This refuge has abundant opportunities for bird and wildlife viewing, as well as offering visitors opportunities for hiking, fishing, hunting, and boating. Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is part of the Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which also includes Karl E. Mundt NWR and Lake Andes Wetland Management District. Lake Andes is a shallow prairie lake whose water supply depends entirely on natural runoff. Lake levels rise and fall periodically, with the entire lake going dry about once every twenty years. The Sioux Indians frequently made camp here during their pursuit of migrating herds of buffalo and flocks of waterfowl. Around the turn of the century, as white settlements were becoming firmly established, the lake became well known as a fine place to fish. Several resorts were built near the shoreline to accommodate visitors who arrived near the lake by train. The Complex provides for life requirements of threatened and endangered species - particularly the bald eagle. The refuge's objectives are the provision of habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds and maintenance of the natural diversity of the prairie ecosystem. The area hosts migrant waterfowl populations, which can be measured by the tens of thousands during peak fall and spring migration periods. Other wildlife species utilizing the refuge include white-tailed deer, ring-necked pheasants, bald eagles, beaver, muskrats, and a wide variety of small mammals and songbirds. Wildlife observation, hunting, and fishing are the major attractions of Lake Andes during wet years. Visitors interested in wildlife observation can expect to find nearly any species of bird or mammal indigenous to the prairie pothole country. The spring and fall migration periods offer the greatest diversity of species, but in the summer birdwatchers can see colonial nesting eared grebes, black terns, and Franklin's gulls.

Map of Lake Andes NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 43.169505, -98.451061

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Activities

  • Boating

    There is boating in the park.

  • Bird Watching

    The spring and fall migration periods offer the greatest diversity of species, with many types of birds using the refuge as a stopping place in their migration. In the summer, birdwatchers can see colonial nesting eared grebes, black terns, and Franklin's gulls.

  • Fishing

    The south and center units of Lake Andes are open to fishing. When suitable water depths are present these areas sometimes offer good fishing for northern pike, perch, and bass.

  • Hiking

    A nature trail meanders along the wooded lake shore, across marshlands in the prairie pond complex, and returns via native grassland uplands. Early morning or late afternoon walks along the nature trail offer visitors views of the blue-winged teal or of bobolinks singing territorial songs as they cling to the swaying stems of grassy plants. Guided tours are available to organized groups; however, prior arrangement must be made with the Refuge Manager. An accessible section of the trail leads to an observation platform where wildlife can be observed easily.

  • Hunting

    The center unit of Lake Andes is open to hunting. Duck and goose hunters find multitudes of waterfowl in the marshy habitat, while pheasant and deer hunters pursue their quarry along the brushy perimeter of the lake in low water years.

Seasonality/Weather

Different species of animals can be seen in different seasons, depending on migration patterns and local climatic conditions. The spring and fall migration periods offer the greatest diversity of species. The best opportunities for bird watching on the Lake Andes Refuge and District are between April 15 and October 15.

Directions

Driving

The Lake Andes NWR Complex headquarters is located on the east shore of Lake Andes. From Ravinia, South Dakota, travel 2 miles north on the county gravel road and 1.5 east to reach the Refuge headquarters. From the community of Lake Andes, travel north .5 mile then east 3.5 miles on a hard-surfaced county road, crossing the Lake from west to east before reaching the office and visitor center nestled under the cottonwoods.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(605) 487-7603

Links