Water inherent optical properties (IOPs) contain integrative information on the optical constituents of surface waters. In lakes, IOP measurements have not been traditionally collected. This study describes how high-frequency IOP profiles can be used to document short-term physical and biogeochemical processes that ultimately influence the long-term trajectory of lake ecosystems. Between October 2018 and May 2020, we collected 1373 high-resolution hyperspectral IOP profiles in the uppermost 50 m of the large mesotrophic Lake Geneva (Switzerland-France), using an autonomous profiler. A data set of this size and content does not exist for any other lake. Results showed seasonal variations in the IOPs, following the expected dynamic of phytoplankton. We found systematic diel patterns in the IOPs. Phases of these diel cycles were consistent year-round, and amplitudes correlated to the diurnal variations of dissolved oxygen, clarifying the link between IOPs and phytoplankton metabolism. Diel amplitudes were largest in spring and summer under low wind condition. Wind-driven changes in thermal stratification impacted the dynamic of the IOPs, illustrating the potential of high-frequency profiles of water optical properties to increase our understanding of carbon cycling in lake ecosystems.