Seasons of Fish Camp

© Photographed August 15, 2015
Erected by Fish Camp County Park and Dane County Parks
McFarland, Dane County, Wisconsin
42° 58.968′ N, 89° 15.913′ W
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Seasons of Fish Camp
McFarland's Fish Camp never slept. In good and bad weather, there were carp to catch. If fishing conditions were impossible, equipment and personal gear needed repair. Crews also fed carp in the holding pen or drove loads of fish to the railroad station.
The marker is located at Fish Camp Park and is accessible from eastbound Fish Camp Road, east of its intersection with County Highway AB, at or near 3383 Fish Camp Road, Mc Farland Wisconsin 53558.

Dane County Parks: Fish Camp Park

Click here to view all markers at Fish Camp Launch (there are several).


Spring
Barge and crew leave Fish Camp for a day of seining in 1959.
Soon after lake ice thawed, large numbers of massing carp could be caught in a single haul. But early spring weather was unpredictable. Sometimes the crew returned to camp wet and close to hypothermia.
Summer
Using an electric fence at Fish Camp's holding pen, August 1938.
Though carp spawned from April to August, summer was not ideal for seining fish. Nets could not be easily pulled through thick plants, and carp were less predictable in warm water. Summer seining caught small, newly hatched fingerlings.
Fall
Moving rough fish caught in the seine net (in front) to the crib (background).
Fall was peak seining season, as fish moved into shallows to feed before freeze-up. Single hauls of fish could top 100,000 pounds. When carp schooled together in fall, crews seined them intensively, placing them in holding pens so they could continue fishing.
Winter
Cutting a 20-ft. x 30-ft. landing hole for a seine net at Lake Muskego in 1941.
In winter, some Fish Camp crew members left McFarland to catch carp under the ice at lakes such as Winnebago and Koshkonong. Others harvested carp in the Rock, Bark or Crawfish rivers, where fish concentrated in winter. With nets placed upstream and downstream of the school, carp could then be seined.
FISHING CHALLENGE: OPEN WATER vs. ICE
Pros
+larger amounts of fish can be harvested
+in good weather, conditions are ideal

and Cons
-spring and fall water temperatures are cold
-large lakes are dangerous in wind

Pros
+trucks and winches could be placed on the ice
+fish easier to catch because schools are less active

and Cons
-setting and pulling nets under ice is difficult
-takes time to find carp schools through a layer of ice and snow

All photos courtesy of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
With Lake Kegonsa in the background.

Looking west towards the boat launch parking lot.

Pass by the Net Warehouse to access the marker.

Plenty of parking to access the marker.

 Follow the signs to the Canoe Launch to access the marker.

The marker is located at Fish Camp Park in McFarland, Wisconsin.

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