MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says boating safety for this year’s Fishing Opener should come with an extra warning.

With late ice outs on many Minnesota lakes, the water is only about 40 degrees in many spots.

“Ice out has been tracking 10 to 14 days later than it typically has,” said Lisa Dugan.

fishing generic DNR To Fishing Opener Anglers: Be Aware Of Cold Lake Water

(credit: CBS)

Dugan is a water safety outreach coordinator with the DNR. Every year, they warn people about water temperatures early in the season. But this year, it’s even more of a cold reality.

“Right now with ice out just happening on a lot of lakes, it’s dangerously cold,” said Dugan.

On some lakes, the water temperature isn’t even 40 degrees yet. Dugan said reaching for a line and falling into water that cold without a life jacket can incapacitate you quickly.

“You take a breath of air and the air could be water,” said Dugan.

Dugan said it’s a shock to the system that becomes a life-threatening situation.

“Really when your body is in that cold of water it’s trying to preserve your core. So all of your blood is rushing to the center of your body, leaving your extremities. You are not able to have that dexterity in your fingers to do those fine motor skills, like pulling yourself back into your boat,” said Dugan.

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