Scuba Diving at Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan

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Lake Diefenbaker is named after John G. Diefenbaker, Canada’s former prime minister and is Saskatchewan’s largest body of water (in south Saskatchewan). The lake is located about 1 hour south of Saskatoon. It is a reservoir and bifurcation lake. It was formed through the construction of both the Gardiner Dam and the Qu’Appelle River Dam across South Saskatchewan and Qu’Appelle Rivers. The lake is 225 km (140 mi) long with around 800 km (500 mi) of shoreline. It has a average depth of 66 metres (217 ft), though water levels fluctuate regularly by 3–9 metres (9–27 feet) annually.

Lake Diefenbaker
Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan Courtesy of Wikipedia

Diving in Lake Diefenbaker cannot expect to be a warm dive. Saskatchewan is a cold province in the winter, (with strong cold winds blowing across the open prairie land), and takes a bit to warm up in summer. A drysuit or a full 7mm wetsuit setup is recommend for divers to avoid hypothermia when diving. The conditions at this famous Saskatchewan dive spot vary. Provincial Park Danielson and the dam downstream are popular for divers.

Lake Diefenbaker is home to 26 species of native and stocked fish. These include the burbot, walleye, northern pike, lake whitefish, lake trout, sauger, goldeye, cisco, yellow perch, rainbow trout, lake sturgeon, longnose sucker, white sucker, shorthead redhorse and Atlantic salmon, and is a large fishing area alongside diving. Also, on your dive in the lake, you can expect to see an underground forest, which existed before the damn was built in in the late 60’s.

Lake Diefenbaker

Unfortunately, there was a scuba diving death at Lake Diefenbaker in 2018. A 46-year-old man drowned on a Sunday morning after he lost contact with his fellow divers near the Danielson Provincial Park boat launch about 180 metres offshore. His body was recovered by RCMP. No foul play/alcohol/drug impairment was considered a factor, and his death was considered a “drowning”.

Planning to visit Lake Diefenbaker, and take a “dive?” There are motels, camping grounds, golf courses, shorebird rides, a brewery, a drive-in theatre drive and a rodeo (Oct 2021) in nearby Swift Current to visit to round out your Lake Diefenbaker diving experience.

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Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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