Your guide to a day on the lake in Madison

Whether you want to learn a new skill or spend a casual day on the lake, Madison has plenty to offer when it comes to water activities.

608 boat day

Enjoy the isthmus from the water this summer. | Photo by Chris Malchow

Being surrounded by lakes means that Madisonians have a plethora of options when it comes to water activities. From angling to champagne cruises, here are a few H2Options for your next lake day.

Safety first

Madison lakes are notorious for blue-green algae blooms. When on the water, keep an eye out for murky patches that can appear blue-green, red, purple, or brown.

If you plan on sticking to the shores, be sure to check the city’s beach water quality page before your outing.


Madison Angling Guide Service | 608-210-9350
Groups of four can sign up for a four- or eight-hour fishing excursion.

Pike Pole Fishing | 608-290-3929
Learn about fish behavior, weather effects, and a variety of fishing techniques. Open water rates include two people.


Hoofers | Memorial Union, 800 Langdon St.
Sign up for Ground School to start your sailing journey.

Mad-City Ski | 6516 Monona Dr.
Learn from the pros during this two-hour training session.


Madison Boats | Multiple locations

  • Pontoons: Marshall Boats and Edgewater
  • Fishing boats: Marshall and Brittingham
  • Kayaks
  • SUPs
  • Paddle boats
608 wingra duck boat

Rent the duck boat at the Wingra branch of Madison Boats.

Photo by Wingra Boats

SkipperBud’s | 5381 Westport Rd.

  • Pontoons
  • Sport boats
  • Skis, tubes, and toys

Capitol Boat Club | 5339 Lighthouse Bay Dr.

  • Luxury pontoons
  • Deck Boats

Pro tip: Book a captain for your voyage for an additional $40/hour.

Betty Lou Cruises | 1001 Arboretum Dr.

  • Themed group cruises
  • Private charter cruises

Bon voyage

Already have a waterborne vessel? Here are a few boat launches around the 608. Note: Some of these launches require a lake access permit to use.

powered by Proxi

More from 608today