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Old 08-04-2013, 04:22 PM   #1
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Illinoise River ?

Planning trip to Chicago & lake M next year the latest charts I can find are 1998 for the river. Any info anyone can offer would be appreciated. Most likely will stay in marinas or where we can tie up instead of anchoring out but would like to know of any possible anchorages if we need them, thank you.
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:12 PM   #2
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Can't help with the charts or nautical advice for the area, but I was born and raised in Chicago. This advice will help you avoid public scorn or worse. (The area has gotten a lot rougher than when I lived there!)

There is no "E" in Illinois

and

The "S" in Illinois is silent. (ill a NOY)

This public service announcement was brought to you by concerned present and past Illinois residents. Now back to the important trawler stuff...
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Old 08-04-2013, 07:27 PM   #3
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Thank you
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Old 08-14-2013, 06:31 AM   #4
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Many of the harbors in M are man made so about 1/2 will require purchasing slip space .

Chi is pay to tie up only , from what we found.

Many folks prefer the western side of lake M as it is smoother for motoring in the PM.

After running the Loop we decided that a U turn at Charlivoy , would be better than continuing to the Sewage Canal, the Miss and Ten Tom route out to the Gulf..
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:49 AM   #5
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AHave you checked the Active Captain site they show anchorages marinas etc on their cruising tab.
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Old 08-14-2013, 08:25 AM   #6
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When I started boating in the Illinois in 1998 the current charts were 1977. I would be surprised if the ones you have have been updated, but I am not sure.

Lake Michigan is fantastic, except when she's not. Leave yourself time to hit high pressure and enjoy the ride.

Leaving Chicago is not going to be a highlight, although the approach to the city is nice. It is possible to anchor overnight. However you do it, I'd recommend starting the river in the morning to give yourself time - for logistic reasons, lots of commercial traffic is likely.
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Old 08-21-2013, 12:43 AM   #7
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I have not done the entire length of the Illinois, but I have boated the Starved Rock to Chicago portion following the Chicago River Downtown route and the Little Calumet Chicago South side route. I driven along and across the river at points south as well as past the Mississippi confluence. From my experience, it not a waterway I would choose to cruise for any reason other than necessity. It is narrow and very heavily trafficked by commercial barges and towboats. It's water is fed by Chicago's sewer plants as well as south side sewer plants. That said it not as as dirty as it sounds and nature has a way of cleansing itself. Personally I would not swim in it until I was a long way down river from Chicago.

The waterway is 333.5 miles long via the S. Chicago route and about 328 miles via the downtown Chicago river route. Above Joliet Il, the waterway turns into a quarried canal cut out of limestone. It is about 250 ft. wide and generally 20 ft. deep shore to shore. There is in many if not most places barges two wide tied to either side. There are at least a few tows pushing barges three barges wide. So to do the math, a standard river barge is 35 ft. wide x 3 = 105 ft. two barges tied to to the banks add to 70 ft. So: 105 ft. + 70 ft = 175 ft, subtracted from 250 ft doesn't leave much to pass. On top of that, from my experience, the tow pilots in that area are A-holes. I suppose I can understand that if they are dealing with the typical Chicago big city rec boater. But after attempting to contact them properly on the VHF and being completely ignored it does raise the blood pressure. They seem to have the attitude that you are in their way and have no business being there, and make zero effort to let you go about your travel and get out of their way.

Coming up the river, you enter at UMR mile 218. There is not much from there until you hit the Lagrange L&D at mile 80.2. That lock takes you up about 10 ft. depending on river stage. Next lock is the Peoria L&D at mile 157.6 Next lock is Starved Rock L&D at 231.0. At mile 244.7 you com to the Marseilles L&D Dresden Island L&D comes at Mi 271.5. Brandon Road L&D is at mi 286.0 Lockport L&D is at mi. 291. The last few locks are tall.

At mile 303.5 you have to make the decision to either take the Little Calumet River route to Lake Michigan or the downtown Chicago, Chicago river route. The downtown Chicago route is neat when you finally get there boating below many skyscrapers, downtown riverfront commercial stuff, Marina City Towers and the like. There is one more lock just outside Navy Pier before entering the Lake or the Obrien lock about 6 miles before you come to Lake Michigan if you take the Little Calumet river route. Either way you get treated to the 'waterfall' out falls of numerous sewer treatment plants. Be tough Lake Michigan is fabulous and close at hand.

If your vertical height is twenty feet or so there aren't many bridges that will have to open to allow you to pass either way. If you are taller the South route will probably be easier. I passed thru on a Sunday and was only about 15' with the boat I had at the time so I never got the bridge opening experience. I don't think bridge opening during rush hour during the week would be a doable thing.

Allow about a full day between Morris and Lake Michigan.

The lake is worth the trip but the Illinois waterway is only a means to make the lake happen in my opinion. I wouldn't deal with it for the waterway itself.

I have a 1998 vintage chart book so they are at least that current.
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Old 08-21-2013, 05:18 AM   #8
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Don't miss downtown Chicago. Two marinas, Burnham and DuSable and the Monroe Street mooring balls. Any of which would be great places to visit the city.



31st is out of the way and you will need a taxi.

We spent several years at Burnham and talked with many visiting cruisers. Almost all loved the stopover.

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Old 08-21-2013, 09:21 AM   #9
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The wall across from the Casino in downtown Joliet used to be free to tie up to overnight. Electricity was possible. I am not sure if this is still the case. Lock your boat.

There is a good anchorage just downstream of Harbor Side marina, up the Kankakee River. One must be careful going upstream there. There is a lot of shallow water. Bigger boats are generally between the lilly pads and the right side shore as you are ascending the Kankakee. Not even a mile to the bridge IIRC. No big boats beyond that. Possible to find late night parties, but you want daylight going in.

Harbor Side is a good marina. Look on google maps satellite view and you will see it has a very protected section in the back. The restaurant is very good.
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Old 08-21-2013, 10:17 AM   #10
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ActiveCaptain.com is a great free user input resource, which gives you charts online and reviews of marinas and anchorages.

Skipper Bob's Publication, "Cruising from Chicago to Mobile", is also very a very valuable mile by mile guide covering marinas and anchorages.

I would suggest the Waterway Guide for the Great Lakes to cover Lake Michigan.

---------------------------------

While the Illinois River may not be the greatest cruising around, it is beautiful in its own way. We went from Chicago to Mobile last year and found many interesting small towns and an incredible amount of history. You are in peaceful river settings, surrounded by nature and treated to great sunrises and sunsets.

You could get a feel for it by reading our blog starting in September, 2012 from Day 2 where we arrived in Chicago to Day 13 where we joined the Mississippi. There are links to these days on the archive at the right.

Adventures of Great Laker
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Great Laker View Post
ActiveCaptain.com is a great free user input resource, which gives you charts online and reviews of marinas and anchorages.

Skipper Bob's Publication, "Cruising from Chicago to Mobile", is also very a very valuable mile by mile guide covering marinas and anchorages.

I would suggest the Waterway Guide for the Great Lakes to cover Lake Michigan.

---------------------------------

While the Illinois River may not be the greatest cruising around, it is beautiful in its own way. We went from Chicago to Mobile last year and found many interesting small towns and an incredible amount of history. You are in peaceful river settings, surrounded by nature and treated to great sunrises and sunsets.

You could get a feel for it by reading our blog starting in September, 2012 from Day 2 where we arrived in Chicago to Day 13 where we joined the Mississippi. There are links to these days on the archive at the right.

Adventures of Great Laker
I read your blog early this year, ran across it on TF I believe, I'll go back & read the part on the IL. river again.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:54 PM   #12
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Capn Craig thanks for the 1st hand information I appreciate it & will bookmark it for use during the trip. There was a 47' Concorde here in the marina that sold & the trip to Chicago is to help the new owner get it to Lake Erie. He has no experience on rivers and wanted help getting it to Lake Michigan & got my name from the PO to help get it there, then I can just enjoy the ride to Erie. Should be a fun trip, mid May is when he wants to start I hope the rivers cooperate next spring.
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