Paddling near Lake Waubesa

Jaeger Park through Babcock Dam to Lake Waubesa

Taking another opportunity to enjoy the waterways near Madison, we introduced our friends to this interesting local paddle gem. Started at Jaeger Park, went through the dam, “said hello” to Lake Waubesa, then returned to paddle the Yahara River towards Mud Lake.

The Launch

See map route below – they have really improved the park’s signage. GPS set to Jaeger Park in McFarland. There is a nice gravel boat launch there, but since Covid no bathroom. As usual the parking was fine. Although there can issues with muck / low water level, on this day it was really nice.

The Paddle

We went straight ahead / right to the dam which was open on the right. We ignored the scary signs since it has so far been very calm. The dam usually is open but if the water levels are low they might close it. There is a DNR web page for the Babcock dam as opened/ closed – but I do not totally trust the accuracy.

We explored the backwater of Lake Waubesa and turned right through the canal which we find interesting and picturesque. This time we noticed a concrete / stone marker which indicates the water level – note that the level (shown below in this picture) or lower will be a day that the canoe will ground before getting onto the lake. On this day we could not quite get to the lake from the canal because the canoe did ground due to low water. Our kayak friends went a couple of feet farther but also did not scooch through just to have a quick view and come back again.

We retraced our way back through the dam – it can be a bit confusing from this direction – the way through is on the far left. When we went passed Jaeger park, we saw some cute boys fishing – they caught a nice one. Then on to Yahara River. This was not exactly pretty because there is a major several-year dredging project going on (Project map July 2022). We heard that the dredge boat we had seen last time sank! We continued down almost to the Mud Lake then returned to exit.

I think this paddle was just shy of 2 hours.

The Photos