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Lake Okoboji - Arnold’s Park IA


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West Lake Okoboji is the jewel of Iowa. This 4000+ acre natural lake offers great diving for everyone. Clarity ranges from 70+ feet in the winter months to 40+ feet in the spring and fall to 12+ feet during the summer months. Depths up to 136 feet can be reached, but most aquatic life will be seen from 10 to 40 feet. There are several thermoclines that can be reached so a 5-4-3 wetsuit is recommended most of the year. Dry suits are recommended for winter, early spring and late fall diving. There are many points of interest throughout the lake. There are 3 different pipelines that are enjoyable to tour: Pillsbury point, The Milford Tower and The Inn. In Smiths Bay you can find a truck that fell through the ice in the 1940’s. There are remnants of several boats in the lake. There are also many rocky points and drop offs. Aquatic life is abound everywhere. You will see fish species including bluegill, smallmouth bass, northern pike, muskies, white bass, walleye, perch, buffalo carp, and more. Blue Water Divers, a Padi 5 star dive center, is located on the lake at Arnolds Park. There you can get any supplies you need plus directions to favorite dive sites. The Milford Tower is a great shore dive in West Lake Okoboji, Iowa. The 15 foot wooden tower was built on the ice in 1929 and lowered to the bottom, about 30 feet deep, to provide a water intake for the town of Milford, Iowa. It was in service until 1949. It now serves as a great shore dive because of easy entrance, access. It provides shelter to fish, another good reason to visit the side. Beginners will enjoy following the pipeline from shore to the tower. Advanced divers will enjoy the fish. Night divers will find it challenging and spectacular at night. Local dive shops can give directions.I dove the water pipes at the entrance near "The Inn" hotel. This dive was very enjoyable, but bring a hood. There are two pipes that drop down with the natural contour of the ground. One extends out and drops down. I went to about 61 feet and was cold (didn’t have hood), so I surfaced. Overall, the site is great for a new diver. Don’t bother diving from the public beach (Terrace Park.) No vegetation, no fish. Watch out for boats!!

Comments

nomad-diver - 9/04/2015 10:53 PM
Dove here between 2011-2014 with Blue Water Divers, Arnold’s Park. Blue Water runs a pontoon boat rigged for diving - good dive shop, very friendly people and good dive masters. Not much to see down there: lots of lake fish and some artifacts - pipeline, tower, ice truck, and a couple of boats. Warm water and decent viz (10-25 feet).
Hawkeye54 - 9/21/2015 10:03 AM
Blue Water Divers is out of business, but diving is still permitted on the lake. Divers must tow a flag, and most shore access is by way of private property.
Hawkeye54 - 4/22/2014 9:43 AM
Rating Added: 3
Good for Iowa when conditions are right, but I went in July and the visibility was poor. (10-12’ at best)

I dove on a tour with Blue Water Divers and the guide kept taking off, leaving us to find our own way through the muck. I found lots of beer cans, tires, and trash. On several occasions my buddy and I were separated long enough that we had to surface and look for bubbles to reunite. We are good divers - the confusion came from trying to keep up with our olympic-swimming tour guide. I will go back and try it on my own without the hassle of the dive shop.
shadowkey - 8/24/2013 10:44 PM
Rating Added: 3
Great dive place here in the midewest
ks54 - 10/08/2012 12:36 AM
and what is the story behind the treasure
SilentDiver - 10/07/2012 11:51 AM
Rating Added: 3
The water can be a bit rough but did you know there is buried treasure here.
ks54 - 8/02/2012 2:53 PM
Rating Added: 3
did my ymca qualification dive here deepest part around 100 ft in the 60’s