Island Lake

Island Lake
Island Lake

Island Lake is a small body of water located south of Madison, Wisconsin in Dane County. Much of my youth was spent in and around Island Lake. Horseback riding, walking, swimming, hunting, (but oddly, never fishing) were all part of the spot. I still don’t know if there are fish in Island Lake. There are no fishing reports that I am aware of.
Water levels have fluctuated wildly over the years. I remember at least one season when neighboring farms grew crops almost to the island shore. More recently, water levels have gone up and the surface water area has expanded. The island is a genuine island right now. It’s just my guess, but at the time this picture was taken there was 600 or 800 acres of water. That’s just a wild guess.
For me, Island Lake was and is an inviting intrigue. The island is hard to get to because you need a shallow draw boat or kayak. There are bogs and muck to get stuck in if you’re not careful. Once when I was 10 or so, I decided to cross on the ice one cold January day. I got lucky and learned about ice, and springs, and getting soaked in sub freezing weather far from home. The ice gets thin over the top of a spring. You now know that, too! Lucky? Yeah! I got out and got home to safety so I am alive to pass my knowledge along. Or to confess my youthful stupidity.
More often, the trip to the island was made in a flat-bottom boat. Once, and only once, on a horse. Swimming a horse over was stupid, too. Boats, not so bad; just a certain amount of grunt work pulling on the oars. You can put your dog in the boat. You can hunt ducks from the boat, too.
What’s the island like? As a kid, it was mysterious if for no other reason than you had to put so much effort into getting there. Basically, it was a woods surrounded by water. While I haven’t been back in many many years, it looks the same from the road. I never spent the night out there but I knew a few people who claim they have.
One day, I plan to rent a kayak and return to its shore. Hmm, maybe I’ll take along a little tent and spend a night…

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