The AOCA maintains a website with the daily water levels in the Winnebago Pool.

The numbers are in relation to the Oshkosh Datum which is at Lat 44°00’49”, long 88°32’27” in SW 1/4 SW 1/4 sec.24, T.18 N., R.16 E., Winnebago County, Hydrologic Unit 04030201, on right bank about 400 ft downstream from U.S. Highway 45 and State Highway 26 bridge, at Oshkosh.  (Between the Main St. bridge and the rail road bridge and you can find this location on our Hot Spots Map.)

This information can be used to adjust depth charts and depth sounders for the day to day and month to month variations in the water levels.

This web site will also have the schedules for the meetings on what the spring re-fill and fall drain down plans are. Thanks to RumRunner for providing the link!




I’ve set up a Facebook Fan page for Boating Lake Winnebago.

I know, I know…all this stuff is coming pretty fast.  Bare with me….I’m still setting up everything here.

Here is the Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/#!/pages/Boating-On-Lake-Winnebago/330474511661



We’ve set up a Twitter account for those of you that can’t get enough up to date info…lol.

Here’s the Address: http://twitter.com/BoatOnWinnebago




LORAN-C was originally developed to provide radionavigation service for U.S. coastal waters & was later expanded to include complete coverage of the continental U.S. as well as most of Alaska. Twenty-four U.S. LORAN-C stations work in partnership with Canadian and Russian stations to provide coverage in Canadian waters and in the Bering Sea. They system provides better than 0.25 nautical mile absolute accuracy for suitably equipped users within the published areas. and provides navigation, location, and timing services for both civil and military air, land and marine users. It is approved as an en route supplemental air navigation system for both Instrument Flight Rule (IFR) and Visual Flight Rule (VFR) operations. The LORAN-C system serves the 48 continental states, their coastal areas, and parts of Alaska. Dedicated Coast Guard men and women have done an excellent job running and maintaining the LORAN-C signal for 52 years. It is a service and mission of which the entire Coast Guard can be proud.

LORAN-C Termination Information

The Coast Guard published a Federal Register notice on Jan. 7, 2010, regarding its intention to terminate transmission of the LORAN-C signal Feb. 8, 2010. A LORAN Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision stating that the environmentally preferred alternative is to decommission the LORAN-C Program and terminate the North American LORAN-C signal was published in the Federal Register on Jan. 7, 2010.

The Homeland Security Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2010 allowed for termination of the LORAN-C signal on January 4, 2010, after certification from the Commandant of the Coast Guard that it was not needed for maritime navigation and from the Secretary of DHS that it is not needed as a backup for GPS. Full details are contained in Section 559 of this act which can be found at the Government Printing Office website (clicking on the link will open a new window).

In accordance with the DHS Appropriations Act, the U.S. Coast Guard will terminate the transmission of all U.S. LORAN-C signals effective 2000Z 08 Feb 2010. At that time, the U.S. LORAN-C signal will be unusable and permanently discontinued. This termination does not affect U.S. participation in the Russian American or Canadian LORAN-C chains. U.S. participation in these chains will continue in accordance with international agreements. The Canadian Coast Guard has also issued a statement, which is shown on their website.

You may view the estimated remaining LORAN-C signal coverage areas of these international chains in Appendix B, pages B-6 through B-9 of the Specification of the LORAN-C Transmitted Signal, COMDTINST M16562.4A. The entire Specification may be downloaded also.

The Coast Guard strongly urges mariners currently using LORAN-C for navigation to shift to a GPS navigation system and become familiar with its operation as soon as possible. Mariners will not be able to rely upon LORAN-C for navigation as of Feb. 8, 2010.

LORAN-C has, as a result of technological advancements in the last 20 years, became an antiquated system no longer required by the armed forces, the transportation sector or the nation’s security interests and is used only by a small percentage of the population. The Coast Guard understands that LORAN-C is still used by a small segment of the public and that those users will have to shift to GPS or other systems; however, continued use of limited resources to operate LORAN-C is no longer prudent use of taxpayer funds and is not allowed under the 2010 DHS Appropriation Act.

The Coast Guard has enjoyed a long and close relationship with the many communities located near LORAN-C facilities and we value those relationships. The Coast Guard will continue to honor those relationships by working to minimize any adverse impacts to communities caused by site closures.

The decision to cease transmission of the LORAN-C signal reflects the president’s pledge to eliminate unnecessary federal programs.

Pertinent Documents Regarding Termination of LORAN-C

* Signed Federal Register Notice (1-4-2010), Docket No. USCG-2009-0299

* Signed Record of Decision on U.S. Coast Guard Long Range Aids-to-Navigation Program (1-4-2010)

via LORAN-C General Information – USCG Navigation Center.



Wakeboard Wednesday – Free first-time wakeboard lessons

4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Fort Fremont Marine

For more information:



As recently as last month, the Coast Guard indicated that Lake Winnebago and the Fox River are federally recognized as navigable waterways and, therefore, fall under the agency’s jurisdiction.

But whether the Coast Guard rather than local groups should be responsible for maintaining dozens of buoys to help safely steer boaters remains unclear.

“The entire Fox River system from Portage … to its outlet into Lake Michigan at Green Bay … remains navigable waters of the United States generally subject to Coast Guard jurisdiction,” Cmdr. Andrew Sugimoto, a military attorney in the Ninth Coast Guard District, based in Cleveland, Ohio, wrote in a Jan. 12 memo obtained by The Post-Crescent this week.

A coalition of public and private agencies in the Fox Valley wants the Coast Guard to resume responsibility for the buoys on the lake and lower Fox River after a 23-year absence. Anticipated increases in boat traffic with the opening of the river’s locks system, along with plans to establish a state park along the river, drove the request, made in a letter Feb. 2.

“While I’m not an attorney, it sounds fairly clear that the Coast Guard has the authority for navigation aids and everything else with regard to the waterway, at least from Lake Butte des Morts to Green Bay,” Walt Raith, assistant director of the East Central Regional Planning Commission, wrote in an e-mail to The P-C in response to the memo.

The memo, which Raith shared with the newspaper, was addressed to the Coast Guard station in Sheboygan. In it, Sugimoto refers to the agency’s authority “to conduct recreational boating safety inspections relating to vessel equipment, manning, and safe operations,” but he does not directly address buoys.

Along with the commission, the Fox River Navigational Authority, Friends of the Fox, Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway backers and Outagamie and Winnebago counties are soliciting the Coast Guard.

Although the groups had been in earlier talks with the agency, the deaths of two Appleton snowmobilers Jan. 9 has increased attention on the issue.

Keith Ebben and Jay Luniak ran off the lake ice and into open water in the dark and drown near a fixed, concrete navigation platform known to lake travelers as Buoy 100 at the mouth of the Fox River in Menasha. The light on the structure was not working.

Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris later ordered that the light be immediately fixed, and a county committee met to study maintenance responsibility.

William Ottow, former chief of the Coast Guard’s Menasha station, said he has closely followed the debate about keeping Buoy 100 aglow during the winter.

“It was never meant to be lit in the winter,” Ottow said. “Usually a light means safety, and that (mouth of the Fox River) is a pretty dangerous area.”

In addition to Buoy 100, the county owns and maintains 120 buoys on the lake system and lower Fox River. The Appleton Yacht Club augments buoys placed up to the Memorial Drive bridge in Appleton with about two dozen buoys of their own.

The Coast Guard’s obligation to place and tend those buoys could rest on 30-year-old concerns regarding lack of dredging in the river’s boating canal, said Ottow, who during his tenure in Menasha oversaw the end of the agency’s buoy involvement.

“We stopped placing and maintaining buoys in the fall of 1987 not because the locks were closed but because the channel was not being dredged,” Ottow said.

Harlan Kiesow, chief executive officer of the Fox River Navigation System Authority, said dredging of the river channel stopped in the early to mid-1970s.

“I’m just speculating, but if they (Coast Guard) pulled out because the river had not been dredged, nothing has changed,” said Kiesow, whose group focuses on restoration of the boat locks.

He said measurements indicate the channel is generally 6 feet deep.

But Ottow, who retired from the Coast Guard in 1990, said the lack of dredging back then caused the grounding of some boats, including the Coast Guard’s buoy tender.

“I finally called in crews from district headquarters in Cleveland to inspect the river,” Ottow said.

The boat carrying the Cleveland crew ran aground in the middle of the river, he said. “Finally, the Coast Guard said, ‘That’s enough.’”

Ottow said the buoys were turned over to local units of government. Some of those buoys still are being used despite being in various states of disrepair.

Former Appleton Yacht Club commodore Gary Long, who annually places more than two dozen club-owned buoys in the river, said he would welcome the Coast Guard’s return to handle buoy operations.

“I would trust the Coast Guard over anyone to do the buoy work. That is what they do,” Long said. “If they did return, we would likely give them everything (buoys) that we have.”

Original Source: http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20100225/APC0101/100225156/1979/Coast-Guard-acknowledges-Lake-Winnebago-Fox-River-under-its-jurisdiction



Thanks to the work of forum poster Bekosh we are able to offer an interactive map of all the hot spots on the entire Lake Winnebago pool of lakes!

Please see this link: http://www.boatingwinnebago.com/boating-hot-spot-map/ or just click on the “Boating Hot Spots Map,” at the top of any page!

Thanks Bekosh!!!



The N. Illinois boat show is March 4th through the 7th.

Its being held at Lake County Fairgrounds: 1060 E. Peterson Rd, Grayslake, IL 60030


  • Thursday March 4th 12pm-9pm
  • Friday March 5th 12pm-9pm
  • Saturday March 6th 10am-9pm
  • Sunday March 7th 10am-5pm


  • Adults: $6
  • Children: FREE
  • Seniors: $4
  • Veterans: $4
  • FREE Parking

For more information go to:  http://www.illinoisboatshow.com/index.html



News Release Published: February 9, 2010 by the Northeast Region

Contact(s): Rob McLennan, DNR Basin Supervisor, (920) 424-7894
Tom Turner, DNR Public Affairs Manager, 920-662-5122

OSHKOSH – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is proposing new construction and permitting guidelines for off-shore, rock breakwater structures built in the waters of Lakes Winnebago, Poygan, Butte des Morts, and Winneconne, in Winnebago, Waushara, and Calumet counties. The new guidelines are intended to improve habitat features, public safety for boaters and snowmobilers, and to enhance the appearance of the structures.

A public informational meeting on the environmental analysis (EA) will be held on February 23, 2010, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. in meeting room A at the J.P. Coughlin Center, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh.

More than a dozen of these structures have already been constructed and are placed parallel to the shoreline to protect eroding wetlands from the damaging forces of waves and ice. They typically extend about two feet above the ordinary high water mark, are built in two and half to three feet of water, and are located from 10 to 200 feet from shore.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is responsible for authorizing the construction of structures on the bed and bank of navigable waters under ch. 30 of the Wisconsin Statutes. NR 328 subsection II, Wisconsin Administrative Code, provides regulations for the construction of rock breakwaters.

Department staff has prepared a draft environmental analysis, Rock Breakwater Creation in the Winnebago Pool Lakes, to examine the individual and cumulative impacts of these structures on the resources of the Winnebago Pool lakes and to ensure that public interest issues are properly addressed. Public interests include safe navigation, fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, and natural scenic beauty.

The environmental analysis summarizes the impacts of these structures, compares potential alternatives, and makes recommendations that will be a guide for future permit decisions and conditions.

Department of Natural Resources permitting of future breakwater structures following these guidelines is not anticipated to result in significant adverse environmental effects. DNR has made a preliminary determination that an environmental impact statement will not be required for this action.

Copies of the environmental analysis are available for public review at the Winnebago County Land and Water Conservation Department, 625 E. County Road Y, Oshkosh; the Oshkosh Public Library, 106 Washington Avenue, Oshkosh; the Winneconne Public Library, 31 S. Second Street, Winneconne; the Fond du Lac Public Library, 32 Sheboygan Street, Fond du Lac; and the Menasha Public Library, 440 First Street, Menasha.

Copies of the environmental analysis that led to the department’s preliminary determination can be obtained from Rob McLennan, DNR Watershed Supervisor, 625 E. County Rd. Y, Suite 700, Oshkosh, WI 54901; 920-424-7894; Robin.McLennan@Wisconsin.gov.

Public comments, either written or oral, on the environmental analysis are welcome and must be submitted to Rob McLennan no later than 4:30 p.m., Friday, March 5, 2010.



Boating safety courses start this month – WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports.



Original Source:  http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20100220/APC0101/2200493/1004

It’s time for the U.S. Coast Guard to resume placement and maintenance of buoys on Lake Winnebago and the Fox River after a 27-year hiatus, a coalition of public and private agencies says.

Anticipated increases in boat traffic with the opening of the Fox River system of locks, along with plans to establish a state park along the river are driving the request, said Walt Raith, assistant director of the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, in a Feb. 2 letter to the Coast Guard.

Raith authored the letter on behalf of the commission, the Fox River Navigational System Authority, Friends of the Fox, Fox-Wisconsin Heritage Parkway backers and Outagamie Winnebago and counties.

“We are trying to get them to come back on the waters of the lower Fox River. It’s a federal waterway. That is not in question,” Raith said Friday.

The letter to Coast Guard Chief Marcus Evans was sent out less than a month after two Appleton men died Jan. 9 when their snowmobiles entered open water near Jefferson Park in Menasha just yards from Buoy 100, which had a broken light bulb.

Winnebago County Executive Mark Harris later ordered the Menasha buoy be immediately fixed.

Buoy 100 is one of 121 buoys owned and maintained by Winnebago County on the Lake Winnebago system and the lower Fox River up to the Memorial Drive bridge in Appleton.

The Coast Guard abandoned buoy placement and maintenance on Lake Winnebago and the Fox River when the locks were closed to commercial boating in 1983.

A hodgepodge of government and private groups, with one group counting on annual rubber duck races to participation in river navigation, take responsibility for ensuring boater safety by placing and maintaining buoys, some up to 35 years old.

Representatives of the local agencies met with Coast Guard officials on Nov. 17. More meetings are expected beginning this spring, Raith said.

“We understand that a number of Coast Guard staff is aware of safety issues in the area and we would like to work through proper channels to formalize a plan and implementation schedule to restore Coast guard involvement with the placement of navigation aids,” Raith wrote in the letter.

The letter is on its way up the Coast Guard chain of command, said Evans, commander of the Coast Guard’s Sheboygan station.

“There is a lot that goes into being able to change what was put in place years ago in regards to aids to navigation,” Evans said Friday.

Evans said he is researching historical data on the Coast Guard’s past involvement with Lake Winnebago and the Fox River. The information will be forwarded to the Coast Guard’s waterway management division in Milwaukee and then to Coast Guard district offices in Cleveland, Ohio, for a final determination.

“We feel navigation safety is an important function one authority, that being the Coast Guard, should undertake and supervise,” said Peter Hensler, a spokesman for Friends of the Fox, a river advocacy group.

“(The return of the Coast Guard) is something were are interested in seeing,” said Winnebago County Parks and Recreation Director Rob Way, whose department oversees the county’s buoy program.

“It’s important for all the (buoy placement) agencies to be in sync when people are entering the pool of lakes and rivers and to be on the same page as far as coordination and safety,” Way said.

The Appleton Yacht Club for years has augmented the county-owned buoys, which club officials say are missing reflective tape and prone to sink by late summer, with up to two dozen buoys of their own.

The Oshkosh-based U.S. Power Squadron is planning to mark the boating channel through Appleton to Little Chute with its own buoys. That effort will be funded, in part, by the annual rubber duck races on the river in Appleton.

“There are so many players up and down Lake Winnebago and the Fox River (placing and maintaining buoys),” Raith said. “It’s an organizational thing, but it all comes down to safety on the waterways.”

Former Appleton Yacht Club commodore Gary Long, who annually places the club’s buoys in the river, said he would welcome the return of the Coast Guard to buy, place and maintain buoys.

“It shouldn’t be the responsibility of the club, but we want people to be safe on the river,” Long said.

On Friday, Long searched for and discovered numerous buoys stored near a Menasha factory, some in bad shape, that are used in the Fox River below the Menasha boat lock.

“Some of these buoys are 35 years old, have missing reflective tape and leak,” Long said.

Long said the yacht club has agreed, with Coast Guard knowledge, to pony up its own funds, at $500 per buoy, to replace the buoys in the worst shape.

“We are heading in the right direction (in getting the Coast Guard to resume buoy placement and maintenance), but in the meantime we have to mark the channel and make sure it is safe for boaters,” Long said.