Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

Yahara Chain of Lakes Seasonal Changes-Navigational Markers, Lake Access Piers and Tenney Lock Hours

October 05, 2011
Kevin Connors, Director Land & Water Resources Dept. 608-224-3731
Land & Water Resources

Seasonal Changes Will Affect Boating

Madison -- Dane County Land & Water Resources Department Director Kevin Connors has announced that Department staff will begin drawing down the water levels for the winter starting November 1, 2011 in lakes Mendota, Monona, Waubesa, and Kegonsa.  "I want to make sure that boaters have time to plan for the seasonal water level change," stated Connors.

Property owners who store their boats on lifts during the summer months should plan to get their boats off accordingly.  Owners of land near shallow areas in the lakes may want to remove their boats within the next couple weeks.  After November 1, removing boats from lifts will be even more difficult, because winter levels could be an additional 6-12 inches below summer minimum lake levels.

Lake levels are drawn down in winter in order to prevent ice damage to the shoreline and to provide for flood storage capacity during spring runoff. 

Connors also announced that navigational buoys in the Yahara Lakes will begin to be removed starting the week of October 10th, and that they will be completely out by November 1st.  Piers at County Lake Access Sites will be removed after November 1st.

Tenney Lock operations will be only open on weekends from 12:00 Noon to 6:00 PM Saturday and Sundays in October.  Boaters who need to access through the lock after that date or when the Lock is not in operation may call Dane County Parks at 608-224-3730 to make arrangements.  There is a $25 fee to be locked through during closed times.

Citizens can monitor current lake levels, which are updated daily, at the Dane County Land and Water Resources Department web page:   Tenney Lock hours can be found at