Description
Cannon Lake, a reservoir on the Cannon River, is located approximately 45 miles due south of the Twin Cities. If winds at Waconia are generally a half meter stronger than those at Calhoun, winds at Cannon are generally a half meter stronger than those Waconia--especially southerlies. The land is relatively flat for miles on all sides of the lake, which also contributes to somewhat steadier winds than those found in the hillier regions to the north. While south winds are unquestionably Cannon's preferred mode for high wind bump-and-jumping, the lake is always fun on other directions, as well. Even on big days, it is never crowded, and the small group of southern Minnesota regulars who congregate at Cannon are laid-back and friendly. Cannon Lake is a wonderful place to sail and escape the headaches of Twin Cities traffic, etc. Bring your bike or blades; the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail meanders along the east side of the lake then on some forty miles through forest and field to Mankato. If the wind's not blowing, it's a fine way to roll away a summer afternoon.

Kiting: Cannon is kitable on the same winds that work for windsurfing. For S-SW winds the best launch is on the east side mid way up the lake. There is a small pull off that is in a wind shadow from a point. A small opening in the trees lets you bring your gear through. Once in the water walk up to the point, and the shallows extend off the point to allow for drift launches. The wind will be side shore so you're not in too much risk of getting blown in to shore. Not ideal but it works.
For N-NE winds the South park provides a much nicer rigging area, though it does get deep fairly soon off the shore. The south park can work as a upwind launch for a south wind body drag, though you most likely will need to put your kite in the water and drag out a bit before there is enough wind to launch.

Sites
  • The Cannon Lake Fishing Dock, on the north side of the lake, has space for a dozen vehicles, a small grassy rigging area, and convenient entry to the water. Good on west and southeast winds, best on south and southwest winds, the Fishing Dock is a great place to sail the southerly flow ahead of a low pressure system approaching from the plains. A typical day-before-a-low at the Fishing Dock finds most sailors on 6.0m2 sails in the late morning, then 5.0m2 or smaller cloth in the late afternoon and early evening. Big southerlies at the Fishing Dock churn up clean 2-4 foot half-pipe swells that make for major airtime on either starboard or port tacks. On marginal days, sailing upwind from the Fishing Dock can often mean the difference between planing and complaining. About a half mile upwind Cannon Lake narrows between two points; a venturi effect accelerates the wind here for steady shore-to-shore reaches. This site does not have any facilities, so if in question make a pit stop at the DQ before your session.
    Note: this park is limited to the gravel parking area. The county very generously allows us to rig between the road and the lot. Please be careful around traffic on the road. One complaint and we could see access limitations from this park. The areas adjacent to the park are also private land. Please respect these areas.
  • At the south end of the lake, the County Park provides even easier and more comfortable access to Cannon's pleasures. Best on winds from the west to northeast, the park enables sailors to park at water's edge, rig next to their vehicles on a large, well-maintained lawn, then take two small steps into the water. Additional amenities include toilets, sun shelters, grills and a sandy beach area for swimming.

How to Get There
Take I-35 to the Faribault/Co. Rd. 60 exit, then head one mile west on Co. Rd. 60 to the lake. The Cannon exit is marked most prominently by a newer Dairy Queen franchise--a perfect place to rendezvous for a post-session cone (summer) or cup of coffee (spring and fall).
Information on this page generously provided by a familiar face at Cannon, Dr. Bill Sonnega. Thanks, Bill
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