Lake Barkley

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2Tours N Iraq`

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Has anyone dove in Lake Barkley? One of my friends from church wants me to explore some fishing spots for him and I know the vis is usually bad but what can I expect the bottom to be like, average water temp, average size of the fish, etc?
 

Hagan34

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let me know if you do and if i got all my kit by then Id like to join you.
 

2Tours N Iraq`

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Cool, it would be good to have a dive buddy for it. My friend said the depths were anywhere between 5 and 25 feet deep. I'll keep you posted as the weather warms up.
 

tstormdiver

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Can't say I've dove it. You might be able to get away with it form now until about early April. Once it starts warming up in earnest, the boaters will be out in full force. The bottom, I imagine is mud & decaying plant matter (easily stirred up). The temps depend on the time of year you go. The surface can range form about 80 degrees in mid- late summer down to about 39 degrees this time of year. Below 50ft or so it is about 45 degrees year round. Like I said, I've never dove any lakes, just the quarries & a few strip mine pits, so I'm going off the pit dives. In the pits the average vis was 10ft or less. It's basically almost black water diving. As for the size of the fish, it depends on the species. Bluegill & crappie can get a couple of pounds, Bass can get 3-10lbs, catfish 5- 100lbs. If you decide to go & let me know & if I'm free, I would be glad to join you to explore. Just to let you know a couple of things to be aware of, 1. there's probably lots of fishing wire down there so have a cutting tool with you & 2. you will need to have a float with a dive flag displayed on it to warn any boats to stay away (state law & for your safety, since you will be in a public water way) & 3. there can be a current in areas,as it is a dammed up river. Let me know if you decide anything.
 

jbd

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The water can be cold, murky and depending on where you are, have a current. Viz can be quite low and the lake can feature many entanglement hazards in the form of trees and stumps with the roots exposed as well as trot lines used by both commercial and recreational fisherman. You will most likely not see any fish but if you do see fish it is usually catfish holed up under a fallen tree or a stump. Most of these will be in the 20 to 40 lb range. If you know what you are looking for you will see mussel beds but God forbid if you pick any up and get caught by the game warden. You can and will most likely lose all your dive gear including vehicles and boats. The game wardens in that area are very adept at locating and dealing with poachers.

As Tammy noted boat traffic can be an issue both from the recreational to the commercial guys and the barge companies. Of course the barge companies are reasonably restricted to the navigation channel but every now and again they miss and cut across areas outside of the navigation channel. Recreational boaters have a tendency to not know what the dive flag or any other marker means and may well use your dive flag as a slalom target.

My experiences diving in the area range from downright scary, to aggravating, to just plain enjoyable. Pick your dive sites carefully, move very slowly through the water and be fully prepared to deal with entanglements before you ever dive there.
 

2Tours N Iraq`

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I'll be diving from a boat and definitely with a buddy. Thanks for the info and I have no intention of picking up any mussels, just exploring a couple spots for fishing.
 

Hagan34

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Im just wanting to go to go. althought seeing a 20-40 lb catfish would rock. diffently figured on the entiglement issue, the trouble of Rec boats not knowing what a dive flag is. didnt know about the mussels, would hate to loss my dive gear over that.
 

jbd

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Im just wanting to go to go. althought seeing a 20-40 lb catfish would rock. diffently figured on the entiglement issue, the trouble of Rec boats not knowing what a dive flag is. didnt know about the mussels, would hate to loss my dive gear over that.
More than likely you would have a good time as well as meeting someone new. But it possible to have not such a good time also based on the conditions there and what ones experience and expectations are. When I first started diving lakes in Ky it would scare me to have something suddenly loom up in front of me. The water would be very murky, the viz maybe only a foot or two and often I would run into it before I actually saw whatever it was. I have descended into tree tops in water that was essentially pitch black and had the limbs and branches of the trees dislodge my mask and or regulator. At the time it wasn't what I considered fun but I learned from it all. As for the mussels, my youngest brother was at one time a licensed musseler but he knew many poachers and saw most all of them lose all their diving gear as well as their boat, trailer and vehicle. Even being licensed he was visited quite frequently by the game warden folks. I only point this mussel issue out because most people do not know about the legal issues involved. Also the laws are different between Ky and TN even though Lake Barkley is in both states. Diving Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley requires, IMO, a little more caution and thought than most places people are likley to go.

One small story while diving in another lake. I was towing a dive flag and was down around 25 feet skimming the bottom when I heard a boat approach and then stop somewhere close to my location. The line on the flag had gotten partially wrapped around my right leg. All of a sudden I feel myself being pulled upwards and backwards. I jerked with both my hand and leg and then all was well again for a few seconds. Once again I was pulled upwards and backwards. By now I had gotten the line off of my leg and I jerked with my arm. The boat motor started, revved to a high RPM and took off. By the time I got to the surface the boat was not in sight. Some people at the exit point told me some guys had tried to pull up a fishing marker.
 

2Tours N Iraq`

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Wow, I wonder what they thought of all the bubbles coming up from the "fishing marker?"
 
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