MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ice-out or not, Minnesota’s fishing opener is Saturday, and the DNR said beware that the water temperatures will be colder than normal.

And that can be deadly this time of year.

Falling off of a boat and into the water can lead to hypothermia within minutes.

“I can tell you that on the St. Croix River right now, it’s between 40 and 50 degrees,” Boat and water safety specialist Kara Owens said.

Now compare that to 80 to 85 degrees, where most swimming pools are kept. The DNR said it’s pushing to get the warning out before this weekend’s opener.

“In early May, the water is still very, very cold,” she said. “But with that late thaw, it’s even more cold.”

Owens said water needs to be above 70 degrees in order to swim safely.

“We tell people don’t swim … try not to swim to shore, because your muscles are going to burn out faster,” Owens said.

Also on the list of safety precautions — wear your life jacket, bring a safety whistle, tell someone where you are going and when you are expected back, and stay away from alcohol

“Most important thing is if you do happen to fall overboard, stay calm, and stay with your craft,” Owens said. “Rescuers are more likely to see you if you are with an overturned craft.”


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