Pactola Lake, Rapid City

South Dakota


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09/30/2016 Jeff Andrews (Avg: 2.28 Review) - Pactola Reservoir is the best dive spot in western South Dakota. The visibility is generally 15 feet but can be a little better or a lot worse depending. Temps range from 70 at the surface to mid 40s below 60 feet. Bottom is mostly silt. Best diving is along the dam face. Lights are useful below 60 feet as light diminishes quickly. As mentioned in other review, 7mm wet suit is pretty much a minimum and a dry suit is preferred. Local dive shop just opened up again so air is available to the general diving public.

08/22/2004 Nelson Stone (Avg: 2.88 Review) - This is a cold water dive and will call for either a dry or 7mm suit. There are a number of entry points and it is best to stop and ask at the camp store on the lake to get the best options for the water levels. This is also a lake that is about 3000 feet above sea level so one need to take that into consideration when setting up the dive

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Diver Averages for  Pactola Lake, Rapid City  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.00
Bottom Conditions:  2.50
Reef Conditions:  3.00
Animal Life:  1.50
Plant Life:  1.50
Facilities:  2.50
Solitude 3.50
Roads:  4.00
*Site Average:  2.58

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.50
Beginner Scuba:  2.50
Intermediate Scuba:  4.00
Advanced Scuba:  4.50
Night diving Scuba:  3.00

Number of reviews for this site: 2


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