Lake Mendota has been a popular ice-fishing spot since before there was a University of Wisconsin. And the UW has been tracking ice cover on the lake since 1855, just a few years after the university opened. As the climate has warmed during that period, the lake has seen shorter periods of ice cover. The longest period of lake ice — the winter of 1880–81 — lasted 161 days, ending on May 3. The shortest period of ice cover was just 21 days in early 2002. Lake Mendota is a popular spot for several kinds of fish: northern pike (Esox lucius), walleye (Sander vitreus), and yellow perch (Perca flavescens) are shown on the Badger Pride wall.
The art for the Badger Pride Wall was created for WAA by Madison illustrator Nate Koehler.