Downey Duck Summersville Lake
Summersville Lake is the cleanest, clearest freshwater lake east of the Mississippi River according to Skin Diver magazine. It is an oligotrophic lake characterized by steep rocky cliffs that go to about 100 feet below the surface. Scuba divers see huge cliffs, boulders, overhangs, and rock walls. There are swim-throughs and aquatic life including bass, walleye, and catfish to enjoy.

Summertime lake visibility is an average 20 to 45 feet depending upon rainfall. The lake is over 300 feet deep at the base of Summersville Dam. Water temperature from June through September runs from 68 to 80+ degrees respectively.

What To See

Two of the most interesting dive sites:

Winter Access Ramp

Locaated near the dam, is is one of the few places accessable for shore diving.  The bottom slopes quickley to over 100 feet and there is a small boat and a dive platform in the shallow area. This is the location where we do the Advanced Deep Dive.

Bubbles Cove

Bubbles Cove is located along a large rock wall. It's kind of like the movie Cliffhanger when you dive the site. At one point, there is a rock precipice that forms a small sump within the rock face. It has a small pocket of air in it, enough to remove a regulator and talk. But be sure NOT to breathe the air. This is the closest you will come to cavern diving without actually doing cavern diving. You may need a good light to get the full effect of the surroundings while at the base of rock face. You should expect to dive around 30 to 35 feet. The aquatic life is moderate, and the vis is about 20 feet.

Long Pointe

Long point is just like it describes. There are several rock outcroppings that are just excellent for diving. Also, there are rocks that tower out of the water and make very good swim arounds. There are several swim throughs, or semi-swim throughs. Expect to dive around 30 to 35 ft. The aquatic life is moderate, and the vis is an excellent 35+ feet on average.

Throughout the lake expect to see:

  • Rock Cliffs
  • Bolders
  • Swim-throughs that run to one-hundred feet below the surface
  • Aquatic life including bass, walleye and catfish

How to Get There

From Pittsburgh

  1. Take Route 79 South to Exit 57 in West Virginia.
  2. Go South on Route 19 through Summersville.
  3. At the bottom of a long hill turn right were the sign says "Marina" and "Airport"
  4. Turn right at the campground entrance to get to the marina.


There is no "entry fee" to dive the lake, however, a boat and experienced guide are necessary to reach the more popular dive sites.

Local Contacts

Sarges Dive Shop - It literally floats on the lake. You can drive up to Sarge's in your car or in your boat!

Mark T. Allen / Eric Allen (Owners / Operators / YMCA Instructors)

Postal address P.O. Box 98, Summersville, West Virginia 26651

Telephone 1-304-872-1782

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