Mississippi River / St Croix River

Discussion in 'Mid-States' started by andy k, Apr 16, 2020.

  1. andy k

    andy k Active Member

    504
    Feb 7, 2009
    Door County, Wisconsin
    1998 3075
    Mercruiser 5.7 w/ Alpha one. Kohler 5kw
    We were planning on trailering the boat to the North Channel in Canada again this year. However do to this Virus I am thinking that things may be more complicated with traveling to Canada. So now we are looking to stay more local. We are either going to go the the Apostle Islands or run the Mississippi/St Croix Rivers.

    We plan to Launch in Trempealeau and head north into the St Croix River. We will be spend 7 days on the river. We would like to stay the nights at sand bars / Beaches.
    -----
    Is there a better spot to launch our boat and have truck and trailer storage for the week?

    I like to fill up every 100 miles or so. Is there any good spots to fuel up on this trip?

    What are some good spots to anchor off and enjoy the beaches?

    Thanks in advance for any knowledge in regard to this area!
     
  2. andy k

    andy k Active Member

    504
    Feb 7, 2009
    Door County, Wisconsin
    1998 3075
    Mercruiser 5.7 w/ Alpha one. Kohler 5kw
    One other question;

    What is the best way to anchor on these sandbar / dunes on the river?
     
  3. Zach312

    Zach312 Active Member

    762
    Jan 23, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    2008 Sea Ray 44 Sundancer
    Cummins QSC-500
    There are plenty of stops for fuel from Trempealeau to Stillwater, MN. We spend the most time on the St. Croix river and there are great spots to anchor from Prescott all the way up to Stillwater. Let me know if you have specific questions on marina's or suggested stops.

    We don't beach our boat, just personal preference, so not much help there.
     
    Chris-380 likes this.
  4. Maggieiscrazy

    Maggieiscrazy Well-Known Member

    570
    Oct 14, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    240 Sundancer
    5.0. Bravo III
    Surprised you don’t beach your boat on the st Croix. I thought everybody did . We do.
     
  5. Zach312

    Zach312 Active Member

    762
    Jan 23, 2011
    Nashville, TN
    2008 Sea Ray 44 Sundancer
    Cummins QSC-500
    Personal preference... prefer to drop the hook and put the lift down to water level and have our own personal beach.
     
  6. OllieC

    OllieC Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 11, 2013
    MinniSoCold
    Sara Belle
    2005 Weekender 215
    Mercruiser 5.0 mpi, Bravo III
    The Kinni on the St.Croix is a nice place to anchor off. Also, the bay in Prescott is okay, but if you raft off, there can be some fairly large wakes that come through there. I had a nice 2" chunk of gel coat pop off a few years ago from rafting off there (fixed). Still a good time.
     
  7. Maggieiscrazy

    Maggieiscrazy Well-Known Member

    570
    Oct 14, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    240 Sundancer
    5.0. Bravo III
    We always beach the boat at the Kinni. The girl always comes around and wants $15 for you to spend the night???? Another one of our favorite places to spend the night is crater island 10 miles south of lacrosse.
     
    OllieC likes this.
  8. DaveKamp

    DaveKamp Member

    78
    Jun 9, 2021
    USA, Upper Mississippi River Mile 499
    1970 SRV180, '77SRV220CC, 76 SRV-240FB, another SRV180
    Mostly MerCruisers with R-MR-Alpha drives
    Beaching on the Upper Mississippi is easy, just keep in mind several things:

    If you're near the upper end of the pool (within several miles of the next northward lock-and-dam, a change in hydraulic orders (roller and tainter gate positions on the dam) or an aggressive rain event northward, can cause a change in water level that is a bit faster than further downstream towards the next lock and dam.

    When beaching, the best ground tackle, is a soil auger that has a 90 degree bend in the shank about 10-12" from the eyelet on top. Once you've beached, draw a line perpendicular to the beach, and orient that line as if your boat was ON it. Put about 6-10 feet of distance between your bow eyelet, and the auger's location, but offset the auger about 8" DOWNSTREAM of the boat's centerline. Run the auger down 'till the eyelet is at beach level. Draw a line from your bow eyelet, through the auger, back through the bow eyelet, through the auger, and again through the bow eyelet... then pull hard towards the shore. The three turns will act as a block-and-tackle to bring tension, and once it's snug, give the line a three-half-hitches around the triple turns. The position of the eyelet will help keep your boat perpendicular to shore, as the bow eyelet is AHEAD of the bow/beach contact point.

    once you've done this, it's a good idea to run an upstream and downstream auger, about 3ft above the 'wet sand' line, out to your transom cleats. If a nasty storm... or a tornado... comes through, you're 1) unlikely to lose your mooring and 2) will have your anchors available to recover in the event that you break loose.

    Look at the islands along the way, look for boats similar to yours in size and draft. Study the river charts carefully, and don't be afraid to ask others (Marine VHF 16, or other boaters at the gas dock) for proper pathways out of the channel to popular beaching areas.

    Staying overnight 'on the hook' can be extremely risky in many places... look for natural harbors and open sand pits, so that wind shift events won't cause you to drag and unseat anchor to be carried by current. The St. Croix has places you can, and it isn't a pathway for commercial towboats.

    The Upper Miss is perfect for 'gunkholing', especially if you have a shallow draft and low bridge clearance. There's many small towns whose 'city harbors' are inland of the riverbank-following railroads. For those who don't have shallow draft manueverability, there's many city harbors located just around the back of several of the lock and dams' upper landward bullnose. A polite inquiry to the lockmaster on Channel 14 will get you quick directions.

    GPS with C-Nav is nice, but A full USACE river chart, and a Quimby's Harbor Guide are priceless. There are hundreds of hidden harbors north of St. Louis, Mo... if you didn't KNOW they were there, you would simply NEVER find them. Hardcopy charts and the Quimby's will show you to 90% of them.

    If you find yourself wanting to venture through MY 'local' area (McGregor, Iowa south to Burlington, Iowa) shoot me a message, and I'll tell you about the spots that'd suit you best.
     
  9. DaveKamp

    DaveKamp Member

    78
    Jun 9, 2021
    USA, Upper Mississippi River Mile 499
    1970 SRV180, '77SRV220CC, 76 SRV-240FB, another SRV180
    Mostly MerCruisers with R-MR-Alpha drives
    I know the original question was about areas farther north, I've been all over, but this pool is my 'home' pool, so I'll share SOME details of it. I say SOME, because there's LOTS of good places, but the best overnight stay points are what I'm noting. Also, I don't have my river chart before me, so I can't place river miles, but the positions are obvious on the charts:

    Pool 14 - from Clinton, Iowa down to LeClaire, Iowa:
    upload_2021-9-11_16-22-52.png

    Just south of Clinton, LDB, bottom end of Cattail Slough:
    upload_2021-9-11_16-29-21.png
    This sandbar is right along the channel, it's a popular spot for shallower-draft. I don't overnight there, but many do.

    Just across from Camanche is Mere D'osier Slough, with two nice protected sandpits and a fairly well protected slough. The commercial sand barges enter from channel south, but this slough CAN be entered from the north end, with NORMAL river stage granting 3-4ft of draft in a straight-in approach... at low, you'll be finding sand, so south-end is better bet. The area marked in lime green starts in the 20ft range near the commercial dock down south, up to about 5-8ft at the north end of the slough. Current is generally pretty gentle, and bottom is sand. The sand pits are dredged to about 12ft in most places, the entrances are a little shallow in low water (3-4ft), but at normal stages, small towboats with a small barge or two come in and out to load sand. Stay around the edges, you'll have 6-12ft just about everywhere in the middle (red) sandpit. The upper (blue) is same through the lower half, but the upper half (currently being dredged) has some mud-flats that come up quick, and with the water being out of the current, they're not very visible from low angle.
    upload_2021-9-11_16-39-0.png
    The lower sand pit (yellow) is by far the best, however, Moline Consumers blocked it off two years ago for some idiotic reason, depriving transient boaters of access to a place where they're not doing any active dredging. It hangs around 12-15ft in the entire area.

    All three of these sand pits are perfect anchorage points- they're quiet, no current, and protected from open water, wakes, and high wind. If you prefer to beach, the periphery of all three is sand, so soft on the keel, and easy with a sand-auger.

    A few miles downriver, due north of Cordova, Illinois, is Princeton Beach. This shows it at flood stage, at normal levels, the beach extends the entire area marked in red. This is predominantly dredging spoils, soft sand. There's current, but at most normal stage ranges, it is very safe to beach. Use an anchor or auger on each hip, and one on the bow. Plenty of nice space on the beach to tent, plenty of driftwood for a campfire.
    upload_2021-9-11_16-45-50.png


    Just downstream from LeClaire, just above LD 14, is the LeClaire Canal.
    either bear right out of the channel (follow the right-decending bank) at the green daymark (far right of red line), or follow channel to the gap marked by two rock piles. Entrance is typically 7-8ft, sometimes a little shoaling just downstream after passing inside the gap, but it levels off around 12-14ft through most of the canal backwater (blue). Highway noise, train noise, but it's a popular anchorage, and safe in rough weather.
    upload_2021-9-11_16-48-58.png
     
  10. DaveKamp

    DaveKamp Member

    78
    Jun 9, 2021
    USA, Upper Mississippi River Mile 499
    1970 SRV180, '77SRV220CC, 76 SRV-240FB, another SRV180
    Mostly MerCruisers with R-MR-Alpha drives
    BTW... red dots on the illinois side- there are OLD icebreakers (last identified on 1954 charts) that are REALLY NASTY. If you don't know exactly where they are, please avoid the area between red-bouy line and the illinois shore, they eat every size of boat propeller, and will install picture-windows in fiberglass, aluminum, and steel hulls for free... the pilot of the Stephen L. Colby caught one on the starboard quarter many years ago whilst navigating the bend, and it left a mean mark.
     

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