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Picnic Point

United States

The Habitat Dive Site

The Habitat is an old diving bell formerly used for lake research by UW Limology Department but has been abandoned for 30 years. It sits on a slope in Lake Mendota just off Picnic Point.

Site details

This dive site is usually a boat dive as getting to the dive site from Picnic Point requires a long walk out to the point followed by a long swim to the dive site. Not advised.

Within the dive site, there is the diving bell along with lines to seeveral other interesting artifacts including two old cars (Model T type) and several barrels.

Entry into the diving bell is not advised (nearly forbidden). The potential for unintended enclosed situations is high.

We usually leave from the Marshall Park, 2101 Allen Blvd, Middleton boat dock where there is ample parking on the street. Plan on arriving at least 30 minutes prior in order to drop off your gear, park your car and load onto the boat.

Visability can be 20′ or 18″ (yes, inches) dependant on weather, winds and algae conditions. Water temps of 55F in the early spring and near 75F in summer. There will be a thermocline around 25′-30′ that can bring get down to 55F.

If you follow the lines to the cars, your dive will range from 40′-50′ (The Habitat) to 20′ (cars).

Wetsuit – 7mm most of the year, 5mm in late July and August
Hood, gloves, boots – Boots all of the time. Hood and gloves in the early season, late season and if you plan to dive beneath the thermocline.
Light – Yes, so you can see the cool stuff.

Fish – Laake Mendota has a wealth of species including bass, crappie, bluegill and perch in the shallower parts with walleye, northern, musky and sturgeon beneath the thermocline.


The dive site coordinates for your GPS are:

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