Lake Ripley Rules

The following is a partial list of state and local rules governing activities on Lake Ripley. It is not a complete list, and is subject to change as rules are amended and new ordinances are adopted. For further details or to report a violation, contact the following enforcement authorities:

Town of Oakland Police (Chief Jerry Haferman)

Enforcement of Town of Oakland ordinances related to boating and lake use
(608) 423-7415
To see a blank boat inspection report, follow this link.

DNR Conservation Warden (Alexander Brooks)
Enforcement of Wisconsin boating, fishing and hunting rules
(920) 728-0367

DNR Water Management Specialist (Kathleen Kramasz)
Review and approval of permits for piers and shoreline work
(920) 893-8531

Jefferson County Planning & Zoning Department (Matt Zangl)
Review and approval of shoreland building permits and certain types of shoreline projects
(920) 674-8638

Jefferson County Sheriff
Enforcement of laws under county jurisdiction
(920) 674-7310

Town of Oakland Building Inspector (Greg Noll)
Enforcement of construction site erosion-control requirements
(920) 723-2023

Slow-No-Wake (see the map for buoy placement by scrolling down on this page.)

("Slow-no-wake" rules require operating a motorized watercraft at the slowest possible speed while maintaining steerage control.)

  • 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 a.m. daily
  • Within 200 feet of any shoreline for all motorized watercraft
  • Within buoyed restricted areas located in both bays on Lake Ripley
  • Motor Boats: Within 100 feet of piers, docks, rafts and marked swimming areas
  • Jet Skis (Personal Watercraft): Within 100 feet of another PWC, boat, pier, dock, raft, or
    marked swimming area
  • The Lake Ripley Management District has designated Tuesdays as voluntary
    "quiet days." Lake users are encouraged, but not required, to operate at slow-no-wake.

No-Motor Areas

  • Motor use of any kind (including trolling motors) is prohibited within Vasby's Channel
    located in the South Bay area of Lake Ripley.

Public Boat Launch

  • Available for use from May 1 to September 30 for a fee. Vehicles parked at the facility
    must display a valid decal indicating that the launch fee was paid.

    • $7.00 daily fee paid at self-registration kiosk (all users)
    • $20.00 annual pass (Seniors)
    • $25.00 annual pass (Town of Oakland resident or property owner)
    • $40.00 annual pass (Users who are not residents/property owners of Town of Oakland)
  • No fishing or swimming is allowed from the ramp or pier at any time
  • Power loading (or using a motor while loading or unloading watercraft from trailers) is prohibited

General Boating

  • The operation of Jet Skis (PWC) is prohibited from sunset to sunrise
  • The operation of motor boats is prohibited from sunset to sunrise, and during periods of restricted visibility, without proper navigation lights
  • Persons must be at least 10 years of age to operate a motor boat. Persons between 10 and 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult unless in possession of a DNR boating safety certificate.
  • Persons must be at least 12 years of age to operate a Jet Ski (PWC). Persons
    between 12 and 16 years of age are prohibited from operating a PWC unless in
    possession of a DNR boating safety certificate.
  • It is unlawful to operate a motor boat at a speed that is greater than reasonable and
    prudent, or in a manner that creates a hazardous wake
  • It is unlawful to operate a motor boat while intoxicated
  • Water skiers and operators of personal watercraft are required to wear an approved
    personal floatation device
  • It is unlawful to unnecessarily activate any sound-producting device while on a boat


  • Swimming from an unmanned boat is prohibited
  • No person shall swim more than 200 feet from the shore unless in a designated swimmming zone or when accompanied by a competent person in a boat
  • No person shall swim more than 200 feet from the shore between sunset and sunrise
  • It is unlawful to interfere with someone engaged in fishing while diving or swimming


  • Persons 16 years of age or older are not permitted to fish without a current Wisconsin
    fishing license
  • It is unlawful to use more than three hooks, baits or lures while fishing
  • No person shall leave a line unattended, posses live crayfish, or release unused bait into the lake
  • No person shall engage in fish sorting. Any fish taken into your possession which is not
    immediately released is part of your daily bag limit.
  • It is unlawful to possess a fish out of season, or that does not meet legal size
    requirements. It is also unlawful to possess a quantity of fish that exceeds the daily bag
    limit for the particular species caught.


  • No person shall leave, deposit, place, or throw on the waters, ice, shores of water or upon public or private property any cans, bottles, debris, refuse, solid waste material or fish parts.

Yard-Waste Burning

  • No person shall burn yard waste within 25 feet of Lake Ripley or any channel or ditch that continuously drains water to the lake. Burning is also prohibited in streets, curbsides and ditches in Town of Oakland right-of-ways located within the boundaries of the Oakland Sanitarty District.

Feeding of Waterfowl

  • No person shall feed by hand or stationary feeding system any species of goose, duck or other waterfowl on the waters of Lake Ripley or within the lake's shoreland zone (1,000 feet from the shoreline).

Piers and Rafts

  • No person shall install a new pier or other structure within designated sensitive areas without a DNR permit. Sensitive areas on Lake Ripley include significant portions of the shoreline in both bays.
  • No person shall place a pier, dock or raft in a location where it unnecessarily obstructs navigation, or is not entirely confined to the owner's riparian zone
  • No person shall place a pier in a manner that obstructs the free flow of water, or includes any features that trap or accumulate aquatic plants or sediment
  • No person shall place a pier without a permit that extends past the greater of: 1) a boat length, 2) the three-foot water depth contour, or 3) a deeper contour if required by the draft of craft using the pier.
  • No person shall construct roofs, canopies, decks, water slides or similar structures on a pier or dock that is not essential for mooring watercraft
  • Most piers are allowed to have two (2) boat moorings for the first 50 feet of lake frontage owned, and one (1) additional mooring for each additional 50 feet.
  • No person shall place or maintain any raft that is not of modest size (10' X 10' suggested), or more than 150 feet from the shore

Shoreland Development Rules

  • No person shall construct a deck that extends over the water
  • No person shall place structures other than legal piers, boat hoists and boathouses within 75 feet from the Ordinary High Water Mark without first obtaining the proper permits.
  • Keyhole or funnel developments that provide lake access to off-water lots are now prohibited on Lake Ripley.

ATTENTION: Many activities (i.e., ditching, filling, grading, excavating, shoreline reinforcement, etc.) that take place within 1,000 feet of the water's edge are prohibited without a permit. Check with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Jefferson County Zoning Department before proceeding with such projects.

​Placement Of Buoys

The Town of Oakland oversees the placement of the buoys each spring, according to coordinates that were worked out by the Town, the DNR and the Lake Ripley Management District.  Buoys serve to protect water quality, swimmers, boaters and fish habitat. If you have questions or concerns about the buoys please contact the Town of Oakland at 608-423-9635.