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Fox River Stratton Operations Status Update

IDNR Announces 2023 Operating Schedule for Stratton Lock

MCHENRY, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced the operating schedule for the William G. Stratton-Thomas A. Bolger Lock and Dam facility on the Fox River in McHenry County, which opens for the 2023 season on Monday, May 1. 

Normal operating hours will be seven days per week from 8:00 a.m. until midnight during the months of May through September, and 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. for the month of October.

The Stratton-Bolger facility is closed for the winter season each year from November 1 through April 30.  

Business Stage Effect Survey

Boat-Ground Impact Survey



Update: *This Update is based on the current forecast and will be adjusted based on future forecasts and rainfall.

Summary:  There is currently no rain forecasted for the next seven days. Flow at New Munster is currently at 45% of the median and Nippersink Creek is 61% of the median for this date. Conditions on the lower river are going to be low and are expected to get worse.


Measured flow on the Fox River near New Munster, WI is 352 cfs and Nippersink Creek near Spring Grove is 91 cfs. The total net system inflows are 550 cfs; the outflows at Stratton Dam are 600 cfs. The Fox Lake stage is 4.13 ft; the Stratton Dam Tailwater stage is 1.08 ft. The Fox River at the Algonquin Dam headwater stage is 1.55 ft.


Inflows are slowly decreasing, as shown above in Figure 1. Fox Lake and all areas of the system are holding steady shown above in Figure 2. The NWS 7-day forecast is predicting 0 inches of precipitation for the Fox River watershed as shown on Figure 3.


Water levels are expected to hold near the current level for the forecast provided.


Water levels are expected to hold near the current level for the forecast provided.


The Lower River should expect conditions to worsen without any rain in the forecast. Caution should be used while navigating the lower river.


As can be seen in the images below, Northeastern Illinois is being increasingly impacted from the lack of precipitation. With no rain currently forecasted for the next 7 days, it would be expected to see the size and intensity increase. This will mean lower inflows and reducing outflows from the dam; further reducing water levels on the lower river.

See PDF .