Chain O’ Lakes, Fox River open to boating

By Gregory Harutunian for Chronicle Media

A pier bench was engulfed by Pistakee Lake waters in late July. (Photo by Gregory Harutunian/for Chronicle Media)

The Chain O’ Lakes and Fox River systems were opened to boating Aug. 4, with all restrictions lifted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Due to the high water levels and flooding, the waterways were shut down July 12, as state-monitored gauges recorded crest levels that exceeded the previous high-water marks in 2013.

“IDNR controls whether the waterways are open or closed, and the Fox Waterway Agency has jurisdiction to issue ‘no wake’ determinations,” said the agency’s Executive Director Joe Keller. Our crews are still out removing debris that could serve as navigational hazards to boaters. We were assisted by a state public work crew in repairing the Squaw Creek bog, where about an acre had become detached.

“That involved moving it back in place, and then driving stakes, so the sections would re-root themselves. Water levels in Wisconsin, those impact us directly since it all flows from north to south.”

Lake County issued a flood update that stated its crews had distributed 375,000 sandbags and 1,500 clean-up kits to various municipalities and communities. It also reported record crest levels above flood stage at the Fox River in New Munster, Wis. (17.5 feet), Fox Lake (8.03), and the Fox River at Algonquin (13.18). The Des Plaines River crests at Russell (12.15), Gurnee (12.09 feet), and Lincolnshire (16.53 feet) were also benchmarks.

A county website ( contains updated information on response and public information. It also contains information on the disaster declaration process through the Illinois Emergency Management Agency, for individuals and reimbursement for eligible expenses or work completed.