Chain O' Lakes

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Chain O' Lakes

Postby rich on Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:08 pm

Having seen all the power boats out on the chain, I figured this was not a paddling destination I would be visiting any time soon. A couple of recent events have helped to change my mind.

The first happened a couple of weeks ago when flying back into O'Hare airport. I spotted a huge series of lakes as we were descending for landing. I was also able to see Lake Michigan and so I had some clue of where we were. The passenger next to me, whom I had already told I liked to kayak, asked me what lake that was. I was dumbfounded, it took me a couple of minutes to deduce that it had to be the Chain O' Lakes area. It was just huge and appeared much less populated and intruded upon by civilization than I had initially thought. That set the wheels in motion, wondering how I had not yet paddled this massive series of lakes only an hour from my home.

Secondly, tonight I happened across the following article, "Early Spring Paddling - A great time to paddle the Chain O' Lakes" by David Rigby. David describes some wonderful springtime experiences paddling the chain in early spring. The spring offers solitude devoid of any power boaters along with a "birders nirvana"

The Chain is an avian highway. Thousands of birds use this waterway as they migrate back towards their summer homes. Cranes, herons, cormorants, and even an occasional loon travel above and stop to rest on the Chain.


Of the lakes mentioned, Grass Lake seemed to draw my interest the most with its northern shores containing a wildlife refuge within the state park area. The section of the Fox River north of the chain also sounds like a fantastic paddle.

Leaving the park landing and heading north up the Fox River, rather than south to the Chain, offers paddlers the opportunity to find and explore numerous channels and back bays in the marshes. Sandhill cranes can be heard calling to each other in the eerie stillness and quiet of these backwaters. Even an occasional great horned owl can be spotted in the woods surrounding some of the most remote bays. This area is truly a birder's paradise.


If you're like myself and have yet to paddle the Chain, read on below, a springtime paddle on the Chain may just be what you were looking for.

Early Spring Paddling
A great time to paddle the Illinois Chain O' Lakes
By David Rigby - SilentSports.net
http://www.silentsports.net/features/early_spring_paddling_in_north.html
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rich
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Re: Chain O' Lakes

Postby TAMonti on Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:38 pm

Do you need a "Chain Sticker" for a kayak to paddle the Chain???
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Re: Chain O' Lakes

Postby rich on Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:40 am

Yes, apparently you do need a Fox Waterway sticker, here is what I found on CASKA message board regarding this:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/caska/message/5908

"To summarize, if you are paddling anywhere between the WI/IL state line
and the Algonquin dam, you must have a Fox Waterway Sticker.
Beyond that, proof of WI residence or current registration from another
state will suffice.

Footnote- I was once harassed by forest preserve police about
registration. The officer did not believe me when I told him that WI
did not require kayaks to be registered. I told him that he should then
call his supervisor for verification. He left, and I paddled.

Russ
"
CLASS X - Non-motor powered boats 17 feet or less in Length $ 10.00
CLASS O Non-motor powered boats of more than 17 feet in length $ 30.00
http://www.foxwaterway.org/user_fees/main.cfm
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Re: Chain O' Lakes

Postby TAMonti on Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:18 am

I guess $10.00 is a small price to pay.
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