St. Croix predicted to drop below no-wake levels soon

Water is coming down from spring levels, creating the possibility of good conditions by Father’s Day weekend.




3 minute read

The latest river level forecast from the National Weather Service predicts the St. Croix River will drop below 683′ above sea level next week, at which point the automatic no-wake zone on the lower river is lifted.

It will be the first time this season that the river is low enough to safely create a wake.

It’s good news for boaters and other river users from Taylors Falls to Prescott. Not only does it mean powerboaters can open up their throttles, but also, more beaches and sandbars should be exposed for swimming and more.

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The water has slowly been coming down since this spring’s top 10 crest, followed by a few significant rainfalls in April and May that spiked the level again. See the latest forecast here.

No major rain expected

The weather over the next several days is expected to be relatively dry, with some scattered showers and thunderstorms predicted for next week. In general, the river rises in response to at least an inch of rain in a significant part of its watershed.

Chance of rain over the next six days:

“A cold front will arrive Saturday night with a band of showers and thunderstorms,” the National Weather Service says. “These showers and storms will linger across Minnesota, and into western Wisconsin on Sunday. “

Wake rules

The high water no-wake rules were implemented in 1986 for the 52-mile river stretch from the dam at Taylors Falls to Prescott. The measures are meant to protect boaters from hazards such as floating debris and strong currents. It also helps reduce damage to shorelines, levees, and islands when they are more vulnerable.

“Slow no-wake speed means the slowest possible speed to maintain steerage, but no greater than 5 mph,” the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources states.

There are still several permanent no-wake zones along the St. Croix which must be respected at all times of the year. From the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway:

Boating Rules South of Highway 8 (St. Croix Falls/Taylors Falls)

No Wake:

  • within 100 feet of shore (including the shores of islands) and swimmers, from the sandbars located at mile 31.0 (Apple River confluence) to the confluence of the St. Croix River with the Mississippi River.
  • in areas marked with white regulatory buoys.
  • when the gauge in Stillwater, MN reaches 683 feet.

Slow Speed Zone:

  • Definition: operation of a motorboat at a leisurely speed, less than planing speed, whereby the wake or wash created by the motorboat is minimal.
  • No motor boat shall at any time be operated in excess of a slow speed from the dam at Taylors Falls to the sandbars located at mile 31.0 (Apple River confluence).

Personal Watercraft, Waterskiing and Towables:

  • personal watercraft (such as © Jet Skis) are prohibited north of Boom Site Landing (near Stillwater, Minnesota)
  • towing water skiers, tubes, or similar devices is prohibited
    1. north of the Arcola Sandbar, anytime.
    2. between Stillwater and the Arcola Sandbar after noon on Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.
    3. between sunset and sunrise, river-wide.


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St. Croix predicted to drop below no-wake levels soon