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Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area - Fort Sill OK

Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area is a shore accessible fresh water dive site, located at 7463 Deer Creek Canyon Rd, Fort Sill, OK 73503. This dive site has an average rating of 3.43 out of 5 from 7 scuba divers. The maximum depth is 91-100ft/28-30m. The average visibility is 11-15ft/3-5m. Training platforms are available.

Lake Elmer Thomas was originally constructed in the 1930’s. It is located just north of Ft. Sill. Access is easiest passing by Medicine Park to the wildlife refuge area and taking the road up to the parking area at the dam. It is open from 9:00 am until sunset. There are no facilities onsite so plan ahead.

It is a rock bottom lake and generally offers decent visibility (10’) in the shallow areas on the old dam area. There is a large rock platform that dive shops often use to train divers on. The surface water temps can vary from 75 F in the summer to 55 F in the winter. The lake has thermoclines in the spring, summer, and fall, so if you want to go deeper than 35’ be prepared. The space between the old dam and the new dam can hit 96 feet or so. Viz is usually better at depth, but it is generally 55 F year round. There are no gates at the bottom of the dam. In fact there is only one gate on the south side of the dam at about 60’.

One can see the old control house on the old dam, it is at about 60’. There is a channel that has some old sunken trees and some old railing from the old dam site. Also there is some steel structure that remains from the derrick that was used as a depth monitor from the days of the old dam. The old dam was decommissioned in the 1980’s and the new one built. There are many small fish that are quite friendly as they have been fed often. Also there are some large bass and catfish.

There is also another site on the lake that is a recreation area with facilities, boat ramps, picnic, playground, swimming area, scuba diving, etc. However, access to this site is through Ft. Sill, which is something of a hassle and there is even less to see in that area. However, if you have a boat, there is a sunken forest that is about due west from the dam.

Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area (LETRA) is Fort Sill’s premier recreation destination meeting your recreation and lodging needs with close proximity to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Medicine Park, and Fort Sill, LETRA. LETRA is located at the base of Mt. Scott on a 360 acre, no wake lake with year round camping availability and summer season recreation activities.

Contact LETRA
Reservations and Information, 580-442-5854
Unit and Group Reservations, 580-442-5541
Toll free, 1-800-375-8270

Getting There

Located 12 miles NW of the main post, LETRA can be reached by registered vehicles using Apache Gate on Hwy 49 and all other by Key Gate on I-44.
Enter key Gate from I-44 onto Sheridan. Turn right on Currie. Take a left on Randolph. Turn right on Tower Two Road (be cautious of the water crossing). Go approximately 1.8 miles and turn left on Deer Creek Canyon Road (this road is not labeled). Go approximately 3.6 miles and LETRA will be on the right!
Hours of Operation
Country Store •7 days a week, 9am - 6pm
Summer Recreation Activities (Memorial Day Weekend - Labor Day)
Beach Area, Waterslide, and Boat Dock •Closed For Season.
The Lodge Snack Bar •Fri - Sun, 11:30am - 6:30pm
•Open Holidays, 10am - 7pm

Dive Site Map

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NauiDiver03 - 3/21/2021 2:44 AM
Rating Added: 4
For Oklahoma Diving it’s pretty Good
halligan903 - 9/16/2019 9:38 PM
I went scuba diving here on 9/14/2019.
Vis 8-10 temp was 79 down to thermoncline at 28ft
Jayfarmlaw - 4/19/2018 9:30 PM
Dove solo 4-18-18 for my chilly Willy birthday dive. 43 minutes down to 90 feet. Coldest water I saw was 49 at the bottom of the dam but apparently my computer logged 47 degrees at some point. Surface was 59, 40 feet was 53 degrees. I expected vis to be better but it was consistent at about 5-7 feet. Dark after 40 feet so bring a light. At 90 feet.....awesomely dark. Diving a full 7.5 suit with a hood and gloves wasn’t too bad. I considered it a practice run for Bonne Terre or Blue Hole NM where the water is a consistent 58 degrees. Entry sucked, rocks were slippery and with all the weight needed for the suit plus a negative al100 walking down was more excercise than I wanted. Had the place all to myself except for one lone goose that followed my bubbles and two large bass that gave me a bit of a tour. Nice guys.... Fun dive. I wish we could put in a small dock for easy entry and exit. need to schedule a cleanup dive in the spring.
Jayfarmlaw - 8/06/2016 6:29 PM
Dove solo today 8-6-16, by OK. Lake diving standards it was really good. Water was in the 80’s to the thermocline about 20 feet deep. Another temp shift at 40 feet and it was really cold. Pockets of extremely clear water with vis past 10 feet at the deeper parts just off the bottom. Most was 5 feet or so. It seems like the sediment collects or swirls on the South side of the dam because vis sucked, even shallow, at that corner. Entry is always less than fun, but several large perch along the banks. I hit the channel about 100 yards from the dam and followed it east to the dam. Channel drops from 30 to 40 then goes straight down before the dam. I went to 62 feet but it was really cold. Pretty crowded with 4 other dive groups there. Met the game warden coming out, nice guy and interested in diving. May go tomorrow and work along the North cliffs. One of my better lake dives. A decent light makes the deeper stuff more interesting.
halligan903 - 6/26/2016 10:10 PM
I went scuba diving here on 6/24/2016. Average viz: Under 5ft/2m. Water temp: 76-80°F/24-27°C.
visibility was bad less than 5 feet. Didn’t go deep so not for sure was viz was below the thermocline.
joshuabell9780 - 6/26/2016 10:57 PM
please hit me up next time you want to dive it. 254-702-0265 text preferred
joshuabell9780 - 10/30/2015 11:44 AM
Does anyone want to dive here this weekend 10/31 - 11/1
Jayfarmlaw - 10/18/2015 7:04 PM
Dove the dam 10/18/15. First time. You do not have to get on base to dive the dam. From I44. Take the exit to Medicine Park, Highway 49. Go through Medicine Park and once you enter the Wichita Mountains, take your first Left. Dirt road goes up a gravel hill and winds around to the right. Parking for 5-10 cars, easy access to water. Steep, slick, entry at waters edge to 4 feet or so. so probably sit in water and put fins on, then scoot in. Not hard at all, but not a gradual entry either. vis was about 8-10 feet to 25 feet or less, water was 69 degrees. Supposedly 80 foot + buy I stayed pretty shallow. I spent 2 hours trying to find it because I through you had to go through the base. LETRA is on the base. It’s easy to get a visitors pass and you have to have a pass to get on. LETRA did not look like it had many easily accessible dive spots. The first gate of Highway 49 was closed and you have to get a visitors pass at the visitor center in Lawton. if you have a pass, or a military ID, you can enter at the Apache Gate , across from Burger King on Hwy 49. AGAIN....YOU DONT HAVE TO MESS WITH THE BASE TO DIVE THE DAM. saw some big perch, did not go that deep because I was solo, vis sucked( but typical for OK lake diving), and it got cold and dark below 40 ft. I only had about an hour and a half of daylight left once I got there so vis may be better earlier in the day. It’s an hour from the house so I’ll be back.
halligan903 - 8/13/2015 5:24 PM
I went scuba diving here on 8/13/2015. Average viz: 11-15ft/3-5m. Water temp: 76-80°F/24-27°C.
went crawdad hunting to feed to the fish. great day
halligan903 - 7/27/2015 4:11 PM
I went scuba diving here on 7/27/2015. Average viz: 11-15ft/3-5m. Water temp: 76-80°F/24-27°C.
halligan903 - 7/27/2015 4:08 PM
We dove the dam area today. 07/26/2015. Viz was great 12-15’ down to the thermo. Below it dropped to maybe 3’. Went to 45’ and never cleared up so we stayed shallow. We were here July 3 and didn’t see any fish. Today fish were everywhere. Tons of crappie,perch, bass, and cats. Great dive.
okcadam - 8/25/2014 7:29 PM
I went scuba diving here on 8/24/2014. Average viz: 5-10ft/2-3m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
Water level appears to be down , nice quiet no boat traffic today. Shore entry was a bit challenging considering the hydrilla was so thick. The south shoreline near the dam was much easier to access
NauiDiver03 - 8/08/2013 7:24 PM
I went and me and buddy Joe dove Elmer Thomas at dam on Monday. Visibility was very poor in some spots less then 5 foot, best visibility was about 20-25 feet and it was barely 10-15 ft. Thermocline was right at 20 feet. Down to 20 ft temp was 80-84 at 20 ft dropped to 70-74. And at thirty feet was under that. But lake is pretty full from all the rain we have gotten. So it should clear up soon
Harb1456 - 2/04/2013 5:16 PM
I called them today they are under new managment and no longer do scuba diving.
J0SH - 5/10/2013 8:46 PM
Not sure who you talked to, but we dive out by the damn all the time