Lake mead has many great dive locations. It's a great training area rich with Nevada history.
Above: Sedimentation tank used for processing aggregate during Hoover Dam construction (1930's era)
Above: Aggregate processing site for cement during Hoover dam construction. This site is Beneath lake mead. (advanced divers only)
Aggregate Pile dive site as seen today (above)
Lake Mead General Diving Conditions
Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, is a unique freshwater diving area. It offers a wide variety of diving environments for both novice and advanced divers.
The degree of visibility on both lakes fluctuates throughout the year. During the cool winter months, October to April, visibility is usually good (20 feet to 50 feet). During the summer months, May to September, algae growth is stimulated by warmer water temperatures that results in reduced visibility (30 feet to less than one foot, depending on location and depth.)
Visibility also varies with depth: the deeper one goes, the darker it gets. This is particularly pronounced in the summer months when the thermocline formed by warmer surface waters is present. During the summer months the first distinct thermocline usually occurs near the 30 foot to 40 foot depth. From surface level to 30 feet in depth, the temperature may range from 70° to 82° Fahrenheit, and this layer supports the majority of algae growth. The second distinct thermocline usually is found near the 60 foot depth. Between 30 feet and 60 feet the temperature ranges from 70° to 60° F with less algae present due to cooler water. Below 60' in depth, the water temperature is 60° to 52° F. At this depth the water is usually clear but much darker in summer than in winter due to the dissipation of the light caused by the presence of algae in the warmer water above. During the winter there is usually no thermocline, with the entire water column in the low 50 degrees.
There are several exceptions. Where rivers or streams flow into Lake Mead, visibility is poor year round due to high silt content or excessive algae growth. Examples are: Iceberg Canyon where the Colorado River flows into Lake Mead; north of Overton Beach where the Virgin and Muddy Rivers flow into Lake Mead; and Las Vegas Bay near the terminus of Las Vegas Wash. The reverse is true, however, from Hoover Dam to mid-way between Willow Beach and Eldorado Canyon. The colder water released from Hoover Dam (52-55 degrees F) provides clear water and good visibility throughout the year.
Most of the currents in Lake Mead and Lake Mohave are slow and undetectable. From Hoover Dam to mid-way between Willow Beach and Eldorado Canyon, however, the current ranges from 3 to 12 miles per hour. This current is variable, depending on the volume of water released from Hoover Dam and the water level in Lake Mohave. At Ringbolt Rapids, the speed of the water may reach 16 miles per hour on week days.
Navigational and cove name maps are available at Alan Bible Visitor Center and all marinas.
Fish - the following species of fish may be found in the two lakes:
Largemouth Black Bass: During the spring and summer they can be observed guarding their egg nests or schools of fry. During this period their behavior is aggressive. (No spearfishing)
Striped Bass: impressive silver fish seldom seen by divers. Up to 50+ pounds. Legal to spear.
Channel Catfish: average 4 pounds. (No spearfishing)
Black Crappie: average one pound. (No spearfishing)
Rainbow Trout: up to 5 pounds in Lake Mohave. (No spearfishing)
Razorback Sucker: usually found only in Lake Mohave. Under federal law, it is classified as an endangered species, and is one of the few remaining original Colorado River residents. (No spearfishing)
Bluegill Perch: found in shallow waters around rocks and vegetation. (No spearfishing)
Green Sunfish: found in shallow waters in rock holes and cracks, very shy and colorful. (No spearfishing)
Threadfin Shad: about 3 inches, the predominate "food" for game fish, usually found in large schools.
Carp: up to 20 pounds, legal to spear.
Other Aquatic Life
Crayfish: found in heavy bottom vegetation, rarely seen.
Asiatic freshwater clam: found in abundance in both lakes. Legal to collect.
Eel Grass: usually found above Willow Beach on Lake Mohave, often grows to 15-20 feet long, undulating in the current.
Algaes, growing or hanging from submerged bushes and trees, are often found hanging on strands of monofilament fishing line.