Eureka Springs, Arkansas – June, 2016 A couple of our friends wanted to dive a local lake. I’m not a huge fan of lake diving so it’s got to be pretty near perfect conditions for me to agree. We picked a beautiful weekend and the clearest lake in our vicinity and made it happen.
Here is the Beaver Dam with Beaver Lake behind it. The arrow shows where we dove. Beaver Lake generally has the best visibility of any of the local lakes.
On this trip the vis averaged 15-20 feet. We chose to dive on a Friday and arrived at the site around 8 am. Luckily we had it entirely to ourselves for a couple hours.
The site which I believe is called Dam Site North Bluffs Park had many items purposefully sunk by local divers. There was a large houseboat, a jet ski, and an airplane fuselage among other things. Our favorite was a VW Beatle.
I know that is a horrible pic but it is a fairly good representation of what things look like in the lake. We were able to find most of the items that were there and then we returned along the shore and stopped to feed hot dogs to the fishies. Here is our dive buddy, Danielle, with one of the many fish friends she made.
I was enjoying the fish immensely until one of the perch mistook my ear for a piece of dog. I didn’t realize they had teeth! We did see several really big fish but none of the larger ones stopped for a snack.
This is one of the two best lake dives I’ve ever experienced. The other was also in Beaver Lake where they have sunk a school bus and placed mannequins in and around it. The bus is only accessible by boat though. If you want to dive any of these places C&J Sports will turn you on to all the details.
More friends joined us on Friday night and we planned a float for Saturday morning. The White River flows from the Beaver Dam when the Corp of Engineers chooses to release it. There is no current to speak of when they are not releasing water.
We put in just below the dam. All of the following pictures were taken by our friend Amy who had the foresight to bring a phone. Here’s a pic she took of us at the put in with fly fisherman wading behind us.
The water is incredibly cold because it is released from the bottom of the lake. It actually hurts to wade in it. But on a hot June morning floating through the mist created by that cold stream was like having outdoor air conditioning.
We planned a short 2 mile float since there would be no current. They were scheduled to release water that afternoon but we had no intention of floating past lunch. Being on a river too cold to comfortably swim in on a 100 degree day was not our idea of fun.
So we slowly paddled the two miles in a couple hours. There were plenty of places to stop. The rocks at one stop looked like they had been purposefully placed there.
We saw lots more fisherman but only saw one fish caught all day. Jim didn’t have any luck at all and soon quit and just enjoyed the view. The scenery all along the float was breathtaking.
The water was crystal clear as well. So the scenery under the surface was equally intriguing.
In the afternoons we stayed cool by hanging out in the lake. Our favorite spot is the gravel bar on the island where the Dam Site Lake Campground is located. Since only campers are supposed to use it, it is never crowded.
We weren’t able to get a campsite on the island this particular weekend so we were staying at the Dam Site River Campground in the Parker Bottoms loop. This gave us access to the gravel bar on the island however.
Even though this campground wasn’t our first choice, it turned out it probably was the best alternative for us. Did I mention it was HOT? The lake campground has little shade and we likely would have baked. All the sites at the river campground were under a canopy of very tall trees. The electric only sites were just $20 per night.
The river ran beside the campground but there was no reasonable access to the river from it. But a short ways down the road past the campground was a beautiful access where you could fish, enjoy the cool breezes off the chilly water, or even dip your toes in if you were feeling really brave.