Snowmelt creates high water in our streams and rivers and that can lead to deadly conditions. Folks are eager to get out on the water, but FWP Boating Education Coordinator Sara Smith says that might not be a good idea.

“It also increases the risk of other hazards in the water, debris, logs and things that might not normally be there,” Smith said. “We are just trying to warn people. It is really tempting to get out there, especially for paddlers, and kayakers. They want to get out and start paddling and boating, but it might not be the safest time to do that due to super high water and other debris in the water.”

If folks do decide to go out on the water, Smith says it is extremely important to wear a life jacket that fits because it could save your life. If you fall into cold water without a life jacket on, you could drown in a matter of minutes.

“Try to talk to other people that might be familiar with the area and see if they have heard of any debris in the water or other hazards that might not usually be there so they can be prepared,” Smith said. “Do their homework before they go out. It is important to dress really warmly this time of year or to have a way to get into some dry clothes because they water is very cold and they could possibly get hypothermia.”

Smith says waters are high, muddy and running really fast right now. She hopes waters will clear up and slow down in a couple of months as the weather gets warmer. If folks want to gather info about the waters in their area, they are encouraged to contact their regional FWP offices.  High water can also cause damage and Fishing Access Site closures, and restrictions are likely as spring runoff continues. Visit the FWP website for updates on FAS closures.