Safe River Levels for Boating

Safe River Levels for Boating and Fishing

I thought it would be a good idea to put a small guide together that shows the reliable running river levels at various points in the river. It is important for all to understand that these are the levels that some of us employ when boating the river. The actual ranges that just about any particular person will use to safely navigate, could be different, based upon on the type of boat you’ve got, your experience level, the weather conditions and your ability to understand the water. Under no event should you apply this information to make your ultimate decisions. If in doubt, error on the side of caution, and most definitley use good judgment. Should it look dangerous, it is dangerous, and if it does not look threatening, it probably still is.


This information starts at Sunbury and works its way south. The table uses levels that are measured at 3 different locations, depending on where you will be boating. They include the reading at Sunbury, Harrisburg and at Newport for the Juniata Branch. We display dangerously high stages as well as dangerously low levels. There is an easy to navigate stage which is the suitable depths for operating a boat safely. That should not suggest you could put down the hammer and close your eyes! You always will have to look for rocks and lower places. Always keep an eye on the depth indicator while you get around, read the water and constantly be looking for rocks, debris and other objects in the river.  The following tables read in ft. and assume you are running a jet boat.   Click here to see the current River Levels. Thanks to Susquehanna Fishing Tackle for supplying these numbers.

Sunbury South to Fiber Dam – Ref.  Sunbury Levels – NORTH STEM
Dangerous Use Caution Ideal Use Caution Dangerous
7.5 and lower 7.5 –  9 9 –  13 13 –  15 15 and greater

Sunbury South to Fiber Dam – Ref. Sunbury Levels –  WEST STEM
Dangerous Use Caution Ideal Use Caution Dangerous
7.5 and lower 7.5 – 8.5 8.5 – 13 13 – 15 15 and greater

Fiber Dam South to Duncannon Low Side – Ref. Harrisburg levels
Dangerous Use Caution Ideal Use Caution Dangerous
4.5 and lower 4.5 – 5 5 – 7.5 8 – 10 10 and greater

Juniata- Susquehanna North South to Amity Hall – Ref. Newport Levels
Dangerous Use Caution Ideal Use Caution Dangerous
4.5 and lower 4.5 – 5 5 – 7 7 – 8 8 and greater

Main Branch Duncannon South to Harrisburg – Ref. Harrisburg Levels
Dangerous Use Caution Ideal use Caution Dangerous
3.6 and lower 3.5 – 4.3 4.3 – 8 8 to 10 10 and greater

Main Branch Dock St South to York Haven Dam low side – ref. Harrisburg Levels
Dangerous Use Caution Ideal Use Caution Dangerous
3.4 and lower 3.4 – 3.8 3.8 – 8 8 – 10 10 and greater

3 thoughts on “Safe River Levels for Boating

  1. Just found this site and it was very helpful on my decision to go on the river today…river must be high due to melt off up north.Thanks

    • Glad you found it useful. Site is in a state of transition at the moment. We are working to make it a fishing guide directory and add to the areas where we can report river levels. Good fishing to you!

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