The hot summer days of July are the perfect time to consider exploring Jefferson County by water. In Fort Atkinson, access is easy with boat rentals and pre-planned trip itineraries at 2 Rivers Bicycle and Outdoors, conveniently located downtown, with plenty of public parking.  Guests have their choice of two river launch points, ranging from 1-4 hours in length, and can paddle down river in a borrowed canoe or kayak while enjoying close-up views of the serene and historic Bark and Rock Rivers, part of the Glacial River Heritage Area.

The Rock River, designated a National Water Trail in 2013,  runs right through the center of Fort Atkinson’s historic downtown shopping district, so paddlers are invited to sample the various shops, restaurants and events in the area. For longer excursions, the river leads to the 10,500 acre Lake Koshkonong where paddlers are likely to encounter other quiet sports enthusiasts fishing for panfish, bass, walleye, Northern pike, and catfish. At only 8 feet deep, the lake is a haven for 20 different species of migratory waterfowl, and photographers flock to the area to capture shots of the American White Pelican in action, as well as herons, bitterns, terns and wrens.

Pontoon boats are also common on the river and lake, and boaters can find a list of launch points through the Jefferson County Parks Department or The Rock Koshkonong Business Association. The lake features campgrounds and restaurants with live music, as well as fishing competitions and special events.

Jefferson County has several offerings for water enthusiasts, so plan to stay awhile and explore all the options!