Madison's Lakes - There are five lakes that make up Madison's waterways.
Above: Lake Mendota from the University of Wisconsin Union pier.
Above: Lake Mendota shoreline looking back at State Capitol building.
Above: Lake Mendota as viewed from the top of Observatory Drive on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Photo by Scottyb2017 [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons.
Lake Mendota - The northernmost and largest lake in the Yahara chain with nearly 26 miles of shoreline, 9,781 acres in size and 83 feet at its deepest, Lake Mendota is the largest lake in Dane County and the eighth largest in Wisconsin.
The shorelines of Lake Mendota and Lake Monona define the isthmus upon which Madison was built, with the lakes connected by the Yahara River.
Lake Mendota has been called the most studied lake in the United States, with the UW–Madison Center for limnology resting on its southern bank.
Visit the Clean Lake Alliance - Mendota website at Clean Lake Alliance - Mendota.
Above: Lake Monona with view of the Wisconsin State Capitol building and Monona Terrace.
Above: Lake Monona and Monona Terrace at sunrise.
- The second largest in the Yahara chain of four lakes with 3359 acres and a maximum depth of 74 feet.
Visit the Clean Lake Alliance - Monona website at Clean Lake Alliance - Monona
Above: Lake Waubesa at sunset.
- 2074 acre lake with a maximum depth of 38 feet.
Visit the Clean Lake Alliance - Waubesa website at Clean Lake Alliance - Waubesa
Above: Lake Kegonsa from docks at Lake Kegonsa State Park.
- 3200 acre lake with a maximum depth of 32 feet. It is the southernmost lake in the Yahara chain although it was referred to as the "First Lake" by early settlers
because it was the first of the four Madison lakes that they encountered traveling north up the Yahara River.
The name Kegonsa is attributed to the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) Indians who once lived in this area. Kegonsa means "Lake of Many Fishes."
Visit the Friends of Lake Kegonsa Society website at kegonsa.org
Visit the Clean Lake Alliance - Kegonsa website at Clean Lake Alliance - Kegonsa
Above: Fishermen on Lake Wingra in late August (2018).
Above: Lake Wingra late August (2018).
- Lake Wingra is spring fed and is not on the Yahara River chain of lakes. It is a 336 acre lake with a maximum depth of 14 feet (althought the Clean Lake Alliance - Wingra
reports the maximum depth at 21 feet).
Lake Wingra is bordered by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum on the south and west and the City of Madison on the remaining shoreline.
The lake is considered an important fishery and is known for spring runs of large muskellunge. Henry Vilas Zoo, Wingra Boats, Wingra Park, and Edgewood College are located on the Lake's northern shoreline.
Historically, Native Americans made extensive use of the lands surrounding Lake Wingra, which takes its name from the word for "duck" in the language of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
View the Lake Wingra picture blog
(Includes photos of Lake Wingra through the seasons).
Visit the Friends of Lake Wingra website at www.lakewingra.org
Visit the Clean Lake Alliance - Wingra website at Clean Lake Alliance - Wingra
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