The Lake

Lake Waubesa was formed, as were all the lakes of the Yahara River, by ‘The Wisconsin Glacier’ when the glacier melted and retreated at the end of the Ice Age. The name of the lake is credited to the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) Indians who once lived near the lake. Indian artifacts and mounds are still found close to the lake. The name, Waubesa, means white bird or swan. And, still today swans and pelicans regularly visit the lake.

Lake Waubesa covers 2,080 acres with a maximum depth of 38 feet. The shoreline is approximately 15 miles. The Town of Dunn encompasses the majority of the land around Lake Waubesa. The Village of McFarland comprises about 1/3 of the land; and, the Town of Madison makes up a small area of land at the northwest end of the lake. The lake has three Dane county parks, one Village of McFarland park and one undeveloped state park on its shores. There are three well maintained boat launches located at the county parks. Lake Waubesa is well-known for easy access for great fishing, boating, sailing, kayaking and other recreational water sport activities.

Lake Waubesa is connected to three other major lakes (Mendota, Monona, and Kegonsa) in the Madison area by the Yahara River. Waubesa is the third lake in the ‘Yahara Chain of Lakes.’ The lake is fed fresh water by Swan, Big Spring and Murphy’s Creeks, as well as, large natural springs including Bogholt Deep Spring located in the southern wetlands of the lake. The surrounding wetlands are considered a phenomenal habitat of springs, flora, fauna, water fowl, and fish, as well as other fresh water creatures. Map & Navigational Guidelines