The St. Croix River and the Fourth of July go together like John Philip Sousa music and fireworks.
The river is escape from summer’s heat and hectic weeks, the lower St. Croix hosting boats, beaches, and big fireworks displays.
This year, it looks like the legacy of our wet June will be felt on the lower river, while the upper is in great condition.
No-wake rules will be in effect all week from Stillwater to Prescott — to protect shoreline, property, and safety. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin institute a no-wake zone when the river is at or above 683′ at Stillwater.
Water levels at Stillwater, which rose sharply after the June 18 storm in the headwaters, are still high in Lake St. Croix. The National Weather Service predicts the water will stay high enough to require no-wake until at least Monday, July 9.
The high water has almost disappeared upstream. Flows at St. Croix Falls and Grantsburg are dropping toward near normal. Hopefully that will mean good conditions for fishing, paddling, boating, and swimming — including the availability of beaches and sandbars.
The National Park Service reports on its River Conditions page that conditions on the upper St. Croix and Namekagon are “good,” with some places where it is “high.”
At Highway 70 near Grantsburg, the St. Croix is hitting its sweet spot, according to Wild River Outfitters.
The good news? Water temperatures are in the mid-70s, perfect for cooling off during this hot holiday.
Happy Fourth, and be safe!