Lake Ouachita has hundreds of miles of shoreline and more places to dive than one can visit in a lifetime. All but a small handful do require the diver to use a boat. The following are a few of our favorite sites with a brief description of what you will see. Each site will rate from Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and either Boat or Shore. Any of these dive can be more advanced as you go deeper, but these are general guidelines for typical recommended depths. All depths stated for these sites is at normal/typical pool elevation.PLEASE NOTE: GPS locations can vary depending upon device/Datum sets used. We have attached a map to help you visualize the approximate location. If your GPS unit is telling you that the location is distant from the visual map – Then go with the visual map location shown here.
- The Dam-Scuba Park- (Beg, Shore/Boat, N34.573 W93.195) The rip rap rock wall of Blakely Dam makes a nice beginner dive site due to its water clarity and gradual sloped rock bottom. There are several small boats sunk in the 20-40ft depth range along with other various items to find. Once you find one, there are ropes/cables that connect them all. Cheese wiz or a baggie of food is almost a must here as the bream and bass will gather in large numbers waiting to be fed.
- Fearless Rock Memorial – ( Beg, Shore/Boat, N34.57391,W93.19463) This is a cool memorial placed in honor of local fallen soldier/navy seal Adam Brown. it is in 25+- feet of water and can easily be found by looking for the Maroon painted rock on the face of the dam with the number 24 painted on it. Drop down at the waters edge and follow the rope to the memorial. you can read more about this memorial and see photos on the Dive teams Facebook page
- Whirlpool Rock -(Inter,Boat, N34.589 W93.195) This site was named when the river would rise it would cause a whirlpool of water in this small pocket. This is a sheer rock face rising 30 ft above the water and dropping 50-60 ft below. This can be a great place for a deep dive and there is a wooden row boat near 100 ft here.
- Crawdad Island – (Inter, Boat, N34.601 W 93.202) From the air, this small island is shaped like a crawdad, hence its name. The bulk of the island has a nice gradual slope for an easy beginner dive, but the draw here is really the “Tail” end of the island. Here you will find a steep rock slope that slides all the way down past 130ft with spire like pinnacles on each end that typically house a nice school of Kentucky black bass. Drop in on the east side of the island and dive the deep side, then finish out your dive up in the shallows.
- Zebra Rock – ( Inter, Boat, N34.611 W 93.204) This site is known for its dark rock cliffs with pure white veins of quartz running through them. The rocks are structured like a staircase of 12-15 tall stairs that allows a diver to control buoyancy fairly easily. This is a small site with many nooks and crannies to explore. When the water is high there is a swim through near the surface.Caution: Crystals are extremely sharp and will cut you if you drag your hands across them. (or shred a really nice pair of gloves…)
- Checkerboard Point– (Inter, Boat, N34.6077 W93.248) This site is at Point #48 and is characterized by its fractured rocks in perfect squares that run from the top of the island all the way down into the lake. Beside the checkerboard feature there is a ridge of boulders as large as VW’s the tumble down past 130′ to the river channel below. As a diver follows the large rocks down to 60ft you will start to see in deeper water the tops of a virgin forest of 50′ tall trees. In an around the rocks are great places to hunt for an elusive catfish with his head stuck down in a hole.
- East of #48 – (Beg, Boat, N34.609, W 93.243) This is the point directly east of Point #48 ( Checkerboard Point) This is a long gradual sloping point that has lots of natural and manmade fish habitats. The northern side of the point is fully forested and features a nice rock ridge mid forest about 40 yards along the north shore from the point. This is a nice easy entry dive, especially for those that would like to swim in a dense forest in shallow water.
- Railroad tracks -(Advanced, Boat, N34.639 W 93.226) As the lake was filled in the 1950’s they removed the steel from the railroad tracks, but they left the cross ties and many of the railroad spikes. This dive ranges from 40-70ft in depth and will follow along the old logging railroad tracks through virgin forest. Visibility on this site can be poor at times. If you listen close you can almost still here the trains go by.
- Bus Stop – (Beg, Boat, N34 36.17, W 93 18.41) Several years ago a school bus was sunk on this shallow water hump west of Hotel island. It requires a GPS to find, but is an easy dive. Make sure you have an excellent anchor and it is set! This hump also features a safe, some small boats a large satellite dish and super structure, plus other items. Depth should not exceed 35ft and the bus has all seats removed allowing a safe swim through. Off the Left rear corner of the bus is a nice drop off for those seeking cooler water. Make sure and look for the catfish hiding during the day under the bus.
- Washboard Rock – (Inter, Boat N34.593, W93.239) This site is a steep set of rocks just inside a cove on the south side of the lake known as Italy Cove due to its obvious shape. The face of the rocks look just like a washboard in a striking way. As you descend the rock face you will encounter a full stand of trees standing 40-60 ft tall. Lots of large gum and white oaks here and curious looking rock cliffs. This site can be deep so buoyancy control is key. Should hold fish year round.
- Platform Island– (Beg, Boat N34 deg 36.328, W93 deg 17.728) This site is on the west side of a turtle shell shaped island in a protected cove. It has a gradual slope with little obstructions and features a submerged wooden training platform with handrails at 25 ft. There are also several items there to swim thru to test your buoyancy control. Nice spot for training with deeper (55′) water available.
- UFO at Point #49 – (Beg,Boat N34 deg 60.872, W93 deg 20.930 ) Rumor has it that a UFO crash landed in Lake Ouachita several years ago, just off point #49. The spacecraft is resting in about 25+- feet of water just SW of the point. Government officials are denying it exists, but we know that “they” are out there. If you look for it, you can see the crash trail leading from the shallow water in front of the Point #49 sign to the craft.
- Sunken houseboat and Sailboat – (Beg, Boat N34 deg 36.479, W93 deg 18.160 )On a shall water hump west of Hotel island and North of the School bus was recently sunk a large house boat and a Sailboat. Both are setting upright and are penetrable. Max depth is approx 30ft. A GPS is a must to find this site!
- Horseshoe Island – (Beg, Boat N34.600945, W93.285547 ) This is a horseshoe shaped lonely island that offers a nice harbor from prevailing winds out of the SW. Depending upon the direction of the wind, the small bay is a nice place to find tall stands of hydrilla moss, that hold small fish. The eastern point of the island has a pretty steep drop off making for usually clear dive.
- Deep Picnic Point -( Inter, Boat N34.58405,W93.20381) Just an awesome dive. Lonely point that has a ridge that drops to the old river channel. On the top of this underwater ridge is a flat spot with one large standing tree on a nice level spot. One might picture someone having a picnic under this tree and watching the river flow by far below.
These are some of our favorite site but there are many many more. Darrell Maddox has done a nice job with a listing of many more sites and gps numbers on his site DiveSitesInArkansas.