Chain, Fox River reopen to limited boating

  • Flooding in July along the Fox River off Route 173 west of Antioch in the Fox River Springs subdivision.

      Flooding in July along the Fox River off Route 173 west of Antioch in the Fox River Springs subdivision. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Updated 8/2/2017 10:47 AM

Boating has returned to the Chain O' Lakes, but only on a limited basis, authorities said.

The Fox Waterway Agency in Fox Lake announced Wednesday morning the Chain O' Lakes and Fox River from the McHenry dam north to the Chain has been reopened to no wake status. The Fox River from the McHenry Lock and Dam south to the Algonquin dam remains closed due to high water levels.


No wake status means boats are allowed on the waterway at speeds low enough to not produce a wake. That generally means boats must stay at idle speeds or less than 5 mph.

A debris advisory remains in place for the entire Fox Waterway system, including the Chain O' Lakes, agency officials said.

Floodwaters along the Chain and Fox River have damaged residents houses and property in several communities, including Fox Lake and Antioch, and has cost nearby businesses thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

The waterway has been closed to boating for about three weeks because of high waters caused by torrential downpours July 11 and 12 in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

A 7-inch rainfall the evening of July 11 through the morning of July 12 caused the Chain and Fox River to swell to near-record levels. Fox Waterway Agency officials said gauges it monitors showed Chain water levels near Lake Villa reached a crest of about 4 feet over normal summer pool levels, while gauges in New Munster, Wisconsin, topped out at 6.4 feet over flood stage.

That caused water levels to rise on the Chain on July 12, and led to flooding July 14 when the water from Wisconsin moved down the Fox River.

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