*If you would like more information on Local Diving, Check out this blogpost from January 2018 on Local Diving by Dan La Due.
Beaver Lake, Arkansas
Our primary dive location is Beaver Lake, Arkansas.
Most summer weekends we can be found at Indian Creek Campground (13325 Indian Creek Road, Garfield, AR 72732). Among other things, there are 4 boats, several small statues, a boat lift, a cart rack, and a flower garden to see during your dive. Most items are in 15′-35′ and the max depth of the cove ranges from 45′-60′ depending on lake level. Indian Creek also have camping available and in the area we dive from there are picnic tables and a swim area so it is a great time for the whole family!
In addition to the cove at Indian Creek, there are a few other great spots for diving at Beaver.
The Foundations (only accessible by boat) is a great location for both shallow diving and deep diving. The foundations themselves are located in 5′-20′ (depending on lake level) and are the rock/concrete foundations left behind from when they flooded the area to make Beaver Lake. Right with the foundations is several other items that have been placed their for diver enjoyment including a School Bus. The foundations area is relatively shallow but for those that prefer a deeper dive, you can descend at the foundations and a short swim away is a wall that you can drop over and go deeper if you wish. As mentioned before, the foundations are only accessible by boat.
There are also several Bluff Areas and islands that you may dive off of. Some are accessible by land and some are boat only access.
Mermet Springs, Illinois
Mermet Springs is a great place to go diving for a weekend. It is a 5 1/2 – 6 hour drive so it is better suited for a weekend trip. The Extreme Sports Scuba takes an annual group trip to Mermet and we have a blast.
Mermet Springs is a Rock Quarry, owned and operated by Glen Faith and his wife and their staff, that has been filled with many awesome things for divers to enjoy. They have boats, a school bus, fire engine, ambulance, underwater petting zoo, train car, several Cessna airplanes, many other attractions, and most importantly, the Boeing 727 airplane featured at the start of the movie US Marshals.
The attractions are set are various depths around the quarry making Mermet Springs a great place for both shallow and deeper divers.
SWEPCO Lake, Gentry, Arkansas
SWEPCO Lake, a cooling lake for Southwestern Electric Power Co. Gentry, AR.
Located in northwest Arkansas’ Benton County, south of Highway 12 near Gentry SWEPCO Lake is an acceptable choice for wintertime diving in the SW Missouri/NW Arkansas area. The lake provides the cooling water needed for the power generation at the Flint Creek Power Plant outside of nearby Gentry, AR. As the weather turns colder and more people rely on electricity to heat their homes, SWEPCO has to generate the electricity needed to warm the homes In NW Arkansas. As a part of the generation process, water is drawn from the lake to the power plant and discharged back to the lake. Summer water temps near the discharge have been recorded as high as 110° F.
Diving here in late December thru February divers are can expect water temps in the 75-80° F range, as long as the weather has been cold. The colder the weather the more homes are heated. Visibility around the boat ramp and courtesy dock has ranged from 3 ft to up to 20 ft, allowing for a diver to compete the limited visibility requirements for the Night/Limited Visibility Course.
The terrain is mostly a thick muck mud bottom with numerous lures and other fishing items scattered throughout. We have found several fishing poles, a few tackle boxes, anchors, trolling motor batteries, all kinds and sizes of lures, lawn chairs (blown off the courtesy dock), and a Flat Screen TV.
When you dive here don’t expect great visibility, but do plan on working on your buoyancy to stay off the bottom. Work on staying with your dive buddy because he can be out of sight before you pick up that lure off the bottom. Not the greatest dive site in the area, but I can definitely be the warmest when the weather is the coldest. Diver Dan and Chris Parrish have dove here several times and always find stuff laying on the bottom.