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I've seen plenty of people using 7.0mm wetsuits diving in Lake Tahoe. It's been many years since I have dive at Lake Tahoe during the summer but I thought that a 7.0mm was a bit too much. Would I be alright using a 3.0mm wetsuit with a hooded vest if I stayed in the shallows (20-30 feet) and above the thermocline? Also, when is the water at its warmest?
Anyone dive in Pyramid Lake? Are the conditions the same as in Lake Tahoe?
Would I be alright using a 3.0mm wetsuit with a hooded vest if I stayed in the shallows (20-30 feet) and above the thermocline? Also, when is the water at its warmest?]
I've been at Lake Tahoe the last two years in September and water temps between 0 and about 40 ft are consistently 63-64 degrees f. That's 7mm country for me. (I just spent a week diving on Kauai in 73-75 degrees f in a 3mm and I was cold. Can't imagine diving Lake Tahoe in a 3mm even with hooded vest.)
I would never dive Tahoe with anything less than 7mm. In fact, I dive it in a drysuit or a 8/6 semi-drysuit. The water drops from around 60 degrees on the surface to the 50's at about 20 feet and the 40's below that. I'm going up there and will need a dive buddy on either June 26, 27 or 28. Let me know if you are interested. I'm trying to set up a dive on the ScubaMood, but I've been told it's been vandalized and may not be ready.
I have been diving lake tahoe for the last couple of weeks. Water temp in the shallows is running about 55 degrees. A 7mm works for me. In august you could probably get away with a 3mm for one dive. If you need a dive buddy email me email@example.com.
I know this post is a tad late, but I think you or someone else may appreciate my input for future reference.
I dove at Lake Tahoe (Sand Harbor's "Diver's Cove" to be exact) over this past Labor Day weekend. It was my one and only time diving there.
I used a 3mm with no gloves or hood and was perfectly comfortable. It was a 50-something minute dive with a maximum depth of 40 feet and probably at an average depth of about 30 feet. The average temperature recorded by my (accurate, Aeris) dive computer was 66 degrees. I never felt cold and there really wasn't a noticeable thermocline.
The people I was diving with had gloves, hoods, and 7mm and were envious of me. I was a bit nervous about it prior, but after hearing from many that Tahoe (or at least Sand Harbor) is typically about 70 degrees at the surface in early September and usually only about 5-10 degrees cooler at 30-40 feet I decided it was worth the gamble (I would've had to have rented a 5mm or 7mm) and boy was it. It probably wouldn't have worked out so well in June or July when the water is - I am told - significantly colder.
I dove in a quarry in Georgia on a 100 plus degree day in June and was MUCH colder at 40' there than at Tahoe on Labor Day weekend.
As for the dive itself, Tahoe is crystal clear and has amazing viz and a lot of really cool smooth boulders and such but there is nothing really worth mentioning in the way of animal life. There were some schools of small minnows and a fair amount of small crayfish (they call them "crawdads") which are an invasive species which apparently have been diminishing Tahoe's still amazing clarity over the years. Didn't see any larger freshwater fish (most of the fish in Tahoe are either introduced or invasive).
If you did happen to check out Tahoe this summer and you read this I'd be curious to know when you dove and what thickness you used and how it worked out for you.
Last edited by sbtag; September 13th, 2012 at 01:49 AM.
I will be in Lake Tahoe the second week of October. By then, the weather will have turned considerably cooler from the summer months. I'm going to bring both, my drysuit and 3.0mm wetsuit. I plan on scuba diving at Hurricane Bay, which is close to Squaw Valley where I will be staying. If time allows, I may also check out Sand Harbor, although it is on the other side of the lake. Since Sand Harbor is quite shallow, I'll probably just skin-dive there with my 3.0mm wetsuit, if the water temperature isn't too cold. I have a 3.0mm vest, my dysuit hood, which has a very short bib and gloves as well.
After the low visibility and constant surge this past month of diving has offered, it will be nice to have clarity, even if the wildlife is scarce. I'll bring my camera and will try to take some pictures.
I will 2nd the feedback from sbtag regarding temps in the shallows.
Also want to add that much of tahoe underwater is quite unremarkable and I advise you dive somewhere where there is something of interest. I have personally done dive around rubicon pt and calawee cove (DL bliss state Park) that were very interesting for topography and aquatic life (big boulders, drop offs, submerged logs trout, schools of baitfish and crayfish). Dive 100 yards north of there however and saw absolutely nothing but sand and maybe a lone pine cone.
Do a search for tahoe dive sites and you'll be in business. I know there are a few different wreck sites to check out and should be one not far from where you are staying.