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Wonder if any of the old timers (people who have been on the lake longer than I have : 2 years), can give some opinions.

What do think the lake levels in St Clair will do in the next few years? I hear it is up this year but it can go down a foot or so each and every year? Is that possible?

Thanks...
 

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yepp back in the 80s people were sand baging
 

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Been boating LSC and environs for almost 40 years... seen the water go up and down.

In the mid-eighties, many seawalls were inundated. If you drive by some of the old wrecked cottages on the Snye, you'll notice old wood seawalls that are pratically under water now... they were well under water then (Indeed, the high water is the reason many of those old cottages were abandoned as the islands disappeared and the floors rotted out. If you drive by what used to be "Bud's" (Bayview Tavern), you can see remnants of seawall just north... that used to be a house and it's yard, till the high water came. A number of cottages along the lower Snye simply vanished as high water and then high ice in the winter erased them. I remember parking my car at the "old" Deckers (long before it burned down) between wooden shipping pallets which had been laid in the parking lot like docks, so you could get into the bar without getting your feet wet (...and the hieght of the land surrounding Deckers has NOT changed). Most of Fisher Bay was 4.5-6 ft deep (and easily one of the most popular hangouts on the lake then)... you could drive a 32 footer through Fisher Hwy and Canoe Cut at no-wake, no-sweat. (in fact, today I watched two 26 foot + boats make their way into Fisher Bay... It looks like it's do-able again).

I was not in this state in the early 60's, the period of record low water... it should be enough for you to look at a chart and note the depths in may areas of the lake... those are the low water depths... the actual depths of the early 60s.

Lake levels have always depended on weather... it's really pretty simple. Dredging, locks, and all the other manmade stuff can all have an effect long-term on lake levels, but nothing affects our levels like annual weather. Precipitation and evaporation in the Great Lakes basin is what REALLY matters.... lotsa' snow around the Lake Superior Basin means L Superior fills up, lots'a Ice in winter means it doesn't evaporate... that water winds up here... the more they get, the more we get. If you've ever travelled in the Keweenaw, you've passed the big telephone pole that looks like a thermometer showing their record snowfall... next time you see it, note the year.... the record snows were the two years prior to our record high water on LSC... This last winter was pretty good snow-wise in the Superior watershed, the lakes at least froze overe in part, AND we've had a VERY wet spring and early summer. My guess would be, that if weather continues here as it has, cool and wet, that we'll continue to see LSC rise.... but that said, we're heading into what's historically been the time of year that the lake begins to fall in it's annual cycle... It's generally at it's lowest annually in Jan, Feb or March and generally begins coming up with the thaw.
 

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Wow Ken, you must be older than dirt too. I rmemeber those days, Goose Bay was over my head, and we took the old Chris Craft through Fisher Hwy and the Canoe Cut many times.
The water at the end of the Black Creek was close to being over my head and Wally had sandbags all along the seawall in SCS, we almost needed a ladder to get from the dock into the boat.
So many good times on the water back then, memories I will never forget.
 

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Well... the mid-80s were a full 10 yrs AFTER I started boating in this area. I've seen lower water before and after. Just prior to moving here, I lived in mid-eastern Ohio where my boating was quite limited... mostly small reservoirs, 16' ski boat kinda stuff... biggest water hazard was stumps in the shallows. Before living in Ohio though, I lived in NY and NJ and spent many summers (early 60s) as a kid on Long Island running small motor and sail boats in and around Great Peconic Bay, Shinnecock Bay, Shinnecock Canal, and Shinnecock Inlet (REAL FUN in a 18' wood rental boat and a 10-15hp O/B!)

The water levels we have right now I would call NORMAL... about average, if you read the water datum on the charts. If we get a few winters with normal or better snowpack in the L Superior Watershed, we should see lake levels continue to rise. Last winter was a pretty normal one, but the extremely wet and cool spring we've had has water levels rising still... generally, by mid-late July levels are just beginning their annual fall.
 

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Pure speculation here... I'd say the water is close to "normal" now, if there is such a thing. I think it'll go up for a few more years then start to go down. Seems to run in about a 20 year cycle, or so a lot of old-timers say. Low in the 60's, high in the 80's, low in the late 90's, early 00's, on its way back up now. Within the next 10 years, we may be sandbagging again. Or I may be full of it...
 

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I agree Capn Ken, and can confirm the same history of Lake Huron.

Leaky bathtubs only stay full when water is added.
 

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QUOTE(sleeper @ Jul 6 2009, 01:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Pure speculation here... I'd say the water is close to "normal" now, if there is such a thing. I think it'll go up for a few more years then start to go down. Seems to run in about a 20 year cycle, or so a lot of old-timers say. Low in the 60's, high in the 80's, low in the late 90's, early 00's, on its way back up now. Within the next 10 years, we may be sandbagging again. Or I may be full of it...

Yup, I concur...pretty normal for most of the memorable years now.

However, keep in mind this biggie...when the ice jam happened in the St. Clair River and LSC nearly went dry, the ruins of St. Clair Shores (a church, a couple of houses) were found 1/4 mile off shore! If you look at a chart you will see that the area is under 6 to 8' of water now. So, something to think about...the lake level is actually quite high, even when everyone thought it was low! LOL....

Dan
 
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