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Montana?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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M-2

New Member
Jun 28, 2002
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can't wait to see the responses on this one! with any luck i'll be moving out there next year for a temporary stay. obviously not for the diving, but anyone out there with info would save me some hunting. thanks for posting blade!

-m
 

sinkweight

fat flotilla
Supporter
Aug 16, 2004
1,005
287
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Bladerunner,

I'm glad you asked that question! I was just thinking about that earlier this year, when I went with my non-swimming family to Yellowstone area town, Big Sky. I'd been to Yellowstone the previous year and wondered if there was any water warm enough to swim in during the late summer months.

I'd taken a couple of areas to interest and also did a little bit of research for you, too.

My initial plot for a dive area was Hebgen Lake, part of the lower Madison River. A man-made lake, with the help of the Hebgen Dam, it looks to be rather clear, with dark blue water. I've seen people water-skiing there, so you might want to bring a dive buoy for the ski boats to dodge. It's really pretty and wouldn't mind just sitting on the shore taking in the scenery. Well, I say that now, but it's never long till I'm in the water. You might also want to bring a 5 mm suit, as the water tends to be quite nipply, and no, I didn't mean nippy.

Just on the other side of the dam, and the actual reason, or partial reason for the dam, is Earthquake Lake. I'd love to tell you the history behind it, but a reply posting just isn't the right place or way to tell you, so here's a link:

http://www.billingsgazette.com/magazine/990815_mag01.html

and just to see if you have more luck with info...

Earthquake Lake Visitor Center
P. O. Box 520, Highway 191
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
Phone: 406-682-7620

Let me tell you, it's a pretty eerie place. Trees that once stood tall amongst the river bed, now stand like ghosts, barely above the waterline. Cabins stand in random places, after floating around before the water subsided some after they built the spillway. It might be a good place to dive for 1959 Airstream Trailer underwater booty!

I've really been interested diving there, but you'd have to call the visitor's center there. The nice lady in the brown uniform wasn't quite sure, but estimated that Earthquake Lake was probably 150 ft deep, or so. She might have just said that to get me the hell out of her face. I do tend to have a 3rd grader-like fascination about that stuff. I'm still not sure if you can dive there. You might need special permission. Again, I dunno.

Flathead Lake, from what I gathered, has camping, fishing, and swimming facilities. It is 27 miles long, 15.5 miles wide and 370 ft. deep with 5 cubic miles of water. I haven't heard of any freediving there, much less scuba......even less anyone who has been there. It might be nice, and it might not be. You'll have to check it out for yourself. I'm just throwing these out, here. It'd be cool to say you're the first person who's freedived(dove?) there.

There's another lake called Lake Mary Ronan. I've tried to get the stats about it, but I couldn't find any immediately. It also has camping and swimming facilities.

There are a bunch of beautiful rivers, such as the Yellowstone, and Madison that are fun to swim in, if you can have fun without diving. There's one spot right down the road from Big Sky that me and my older sister like to jump from the bridge with the locals...Just watch out for rocks, I damn near sprained my ankle on one. Let me tell you it's hard to fight off hypothermia, fight a current with one foot, and use profanities all at the same time.

I hope I helped a bit. I didn't even ask you where in Montana you were going to be staying. If you haven't already, go see Yellowstone Park...for the people-watching if not for illegally feeding the cutest, Frito-addicted chipmunks this side of the Earth.

Good luck!
 
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Pinggene

WisconsinFreshwaterSpearo
Aug 9, 2006
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I'm going to Billings next week (Son is getting married). May have time to squeeze in a dive or two...we'll see what I can find.

Gene
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
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I've had some nice dives in Idaho, but never hit Montana.

I did a little work back in college for a couple of prof's who were diving Yellowstone lake for research, but I don't know if they had to have any special permits to do it?

Isn't there some lake in Montana that is 72F degrees year round and the locals put tropical fish in it 30 years ago so that there was something to look at in there? I know I read about it in Skin Diver magazine back in the early 80's.

Jon
 

fogish

Ashvagosha | Bucephalus
Mar 13, 2006
166
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I have a friend on my Slinging forum who used to dive in reservoirs in Montana, I will ask him about them. I am going up to his place in N. Wyoming late this summer and will get a little diving in while I am there, I really look forward to it.
 

fogish

Ashvagosha | Bucephalus
Mar 13, 2006
166
20
0
This is from my friend, I have no idea how much he is into diving or what kind:

Mostly Canyon Ferry Reservoir but also a bit in smaller lakes around Kalispell Montana.

I went in August and was NOT wetsuited... don't really recommend
that as there are lots of thermo-clines in the freshwater lakes
and you can go from comfortable to freezing in a hurry. There
is also the usual cycle of algae growth which can get quite
severe by the time September comes around. Best diving is
always in the winter whether it's Powell River, BC or mountain
lakes... er... mountain lakes after the ice clears in the
Spring. Diving is good through May in the freshwater lakes
after that it gets progressively harder to see. There are some
areas where you can shoot Carp but that's pretty lame compared
to Ling Cod in Puget Sound and North. Fresh water is so dead
compared to saltwater but finding anchors and fishing gear is
always good for a while. Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho (North of
Cord de Leine (sp?) is good too.
 
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