Lake Monona is a freshwater drainage lake in Dane County, Wisconsin surrounded on three sides by the city of Madison, Wisconsin and on the south side by the city of Monona, Wisconsin. It is the second-largest of a chain of four lakes along the Yahara River (also including Mendota, Kegonsa, and Waubesa) in the area and forms the south shore of the isthmus that forms downtown Madison. The name 'Monona' is a Chippewa word believed to mean 'beautiful', although the lake was originally named by the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago) 'Tchee-ho-bo-kee-xa-te-la' or 'Teepee Lake'.
Lake Monona rests at 43°4′9″N 89°21′34″W. It measures 3,274 acres (13.2 km²), has a mean depth of 27 ft (8.3 m) and a maximum depth of 74 ft (22.6 m). Its volume is approximately 28 billion US gallons (110,000,000 m³) and it has 13 miles (21 km) of shoreline, about 40% of which is publicly owned. The elevation of the lake is 845', regulated by locks at the mouth of the Yahara River at Lake Mendota. Monona is fed by three tributaries; The Yahara River (from Lake Mendota), Starkweather Creek, and Wingra Creek. Lake Monona is typically frozen for 107 days a year, give or take 10 days depending on the season. Access to the lake is by boat ramp.
Monona is home to many species of fish and is a popular lake for fishing. Sport fish species include bluegill, lake sturgeon, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, muskellunge (muskie), northern pike, and walleye.
26-year-old soul singer Otis Redding died when his plane crashed in Lake Monona on December 10, 1967 during a storm en route to a concert in Madison. The pilot, Redding's manager, and four out of the five members of the Bar-Kays (then Otis's backup band) who were on the plane also died; with the sole-survivor being trumpeter Ben Cauley.
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