Les Davis Reef

Date Reviewed:December, 2001
Site Description:Shore dive
Main Attraction:Perch

Les Davis Reef is another of the WDFW sponsored rubble piles designed to bolster rockfish and Lingcod populations in Puget Sound. The dive site is located on the south side of Commencement Bay, and is easily accessible from shore. Although this is not one of my favorite dive sites, it does offer divers a decent shore diving experience.

The dive site itself consists of large flat concrete slabs, most of which appears to be bridge decking or concrete walls in a former life. The cool thing about these slabs is that they have a series of hollow tubes running the full length of the slab, which make for some excellent hiding spots for small marine critters. There are also numerous concrete blocks and old tire piles at this site as well. Oh yeah - like Elliot Bay there is also quite a bit of garbage in the shallow water here too, which I hate to see.

The small park at the dive site is well equipped, and has a decent parking lot. Park as far towards the back of the lot as you can - it will minimize your walk to the entry point. The entry point is past the parking lot along the jogging/biking path about 50 yards or so. You will note a stair entry of sorts - this is where you want to go in. Hopefully, the huge pieces of drift wood obstructing the entry point will be gone when you dive here - it was not fun crawling over the water-logged tree with 90 pounds on my back, a camera in one hand, and a set of fins and a mask in the other. Once in the water, head out to the north-east (to your right). Most of the structure lies in about 30-60 fsw just east of the entry point.

When diving here, please note that a fishing pier lies just to the east of the reef. If you venture too far east along the reef, you may encounter people jigging for scuba gear. When I did this review, there was no boat traffic in the area, although the train that passes close to this site sure makes a racket underwater (like a ferry boat is right overhead). Regardless, be wary of marine traffic. Also, I did not experienced any significant current at this site diving it off-slack.

Of the three WDFW fishing reefs I have dove so far (the other two being KVI and Alki), this one was by far the most disappointing. Although there are fish here, the color, abundance, size and variety of fish is no where near as extraordinary as the other two reefs. Part of the problem is that the muddy Puyallup River lies just to the east of this site, and everything at this site is covered in silt, making the topography look somewhat bland. Also, the always welcome orange and white Plumose Anemones seem not to flourish here as they do at the other two sites, again adding to the drabness. There is also a noticeable fresh water layer at this site when we dove it - vis was terrible in the top 15 feet, and the water temp was 4 degrees colder than at depth.

What you can expect to find here is perch - lots of perch. Huge schools of Shiner Perch, rather large Striped Seaperch and Pile Perch, and occasion Kelp Perch. Getting engulfed in a large school of Shiner Perch is always cool, as is cruising around with smaller schools of Striped Seaperch. In addition to the hoards of perch, expect to find an occasional Lingcod, small Brown Rockfish, more shrimp than you could eat in a lifetime, an occasional Painted and White Spotted Greenling, some small Irish Lords and other sculpins, and assorted sea stars (especially on the flats around the reef), scallops, small anemones, Sea Cucumbers, and crabs. I found four different nudibranch species here (Pink, Alabaster, Monterey, and San Diego), although I only found one or two of each species in a 67 minute dive. Also, my dive buddy found a small Red Octopus hiding in the rubble, although it was unwilling to come out an play with us. I am certain there are hundred of octopus at this site, however finding them with all the potential deep lairs is difficult.

This is definitely not a bad dive, but I would have a hard time making this my primary dive objective of the day. I would tend to only hit this site on my way back from Sunrise, as I did when I reviewed this site.

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