Seal of Dane County County of Dane

Boat Launch Sites

Dane County has a number of boat launch sites ranging from paved boat landing areas with fish cleaning stations to secluded canoe launches. A permit is not required for paddling on Dane County lakes or waterways unless you are using a boat launch that requires a permit. See the descriptions and links below for more information about each type of site.

Boat Launch Sites (permit required)

A daily or annual Lake Access Permit is required year-round to park at all Madison, Monona, and Dane County improved boat launch sites, even if you are not launching a boat. These sites offer many visitor amenities including boarding piers, concrete ramps, paved parking, and restrooms. Select locations also offer fish cleaning stations. A list and map of improved boat launch sites can be found in the lake access brochure linked below. 

Please note:

  • A cooperative agreement between the county and state, allows either a Dane County Lake Access Permit or a state park sticker to be used to park at the W.G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park boat launch.
  • Launch sites at Lake Kegonsa and Governor Nelson State Park require a state park sticker rather than a Dane County Lake Access Permit.


Canoe/Kayak Launch (no permit required)

Dane County offers a number of launch sites that provide direct water access or access via a carry-in trail for small boats, canoes, and kayaks. A permit is not required for these sites. Some sites include parking areas, others only offer a gravel shoulder or mowed grass area to park. Many of these sites provide access to designated water trails (Capitol Water Trails) or lakes that do NOT allow gas motors. See our park system brochure for locations.