Fox River Stratton Operations Status Update



IDNR Announces 2022 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 2022 season on Sunday, 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.




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

Summary: This will be the last regular update for the boating season. Currently there is approximately 0.05” of rain forecasted in the watershed for the next 7 days. Inflows are forecasted at 1400 cfs and continue dropping over the next week. An attempt will be made to keep water levels higher to allow boats to be removed from their shore stations for winter. Winter drawdown is scheduled to commence on November 1st.




Measured flow on the Fox River near New Munster, WI is 1130 cfs and Nippersink Creek near Spring Grove is 84 cfs. The National Weather Service (NWS) estimates local tributary inflows of 186 cfs. The total net system inflows are 1418 cfs; the outflows at Stratton Dam are 1269 cfs. The Fox Lake stage is 4.21 ft; the Stratton Dam Tailwater stage is 2.11 ft. The Fox River at the Algonquin Dam headwater stage is 1.94 ft.




Inflows are forecasted to fall over the next seven days, as shown above in Figure 1. The NWS 7-day forecast is predicting near 0.05” precipitation for the Fox River watershed as shown on Figure 2.




Water levels are forecasted to remain near to 4.2’ for the upcoming week. Based on the current forecasts, the outflows will be adjusted to maintain this level.




The Upper River near the McHenry Pool is forecasted to return to normal summer pool as the gates of the dam are elevated. This should allow for more depth in shallower areas along the river.




The gate at Algonquin has been raised to retain water as long as possible, since the gates at Stratton are slowly being raised. Currently all of the flow is over the dam spillway.






IDNR-OWR will continue to monitor conditions and will make changes as necessary pending future forecasts and conditions.