'Too high, too fast, too cold': Be careful as you beat the heat
EUGENE, Ore. - Don't let the weather fool you: even as the mercury tops 80 degrees this weekend, the Willamette and McKenzie rivers and other waterways in the region are still running high and cold.
"It's a little bit too high, too fast, too cold," said angler Ken Sheefiled. "Fish kind of lethargic when it's cold."
Fish - and people, too. Even young, healthy athletes can seize up and drown in a cold river.
Public safety officials urged caution on the water for the weekend for boaters and bathers.
"The water's still high, we're still getting the melt on the runoff, so it's still a little bit high," said David Sherwood of McKenzie Fire and Rescue. "It's moving pretty quick, and so there are still some unseen objects laying below the water and people are getting wrapped up on those."
Sherwood said that if you'll be in the water, make sure you know the area. If you don't, find someone who does.
"Go with someone who knows the river really well, or scout it beforehand either from the road or somebody that's taken you down before that knows it," he said.
Life jackets are imperative, Sherwood said. You can rent them for free at a number of stores along the McKenzie River.
"People just come in, say they need life jackets, and we give them life jackets," said Chris Wright at McKenzie Feed and Tackle.
And this weekend, those life jackets might be very popular.
"Eighty degrees on Sunday, so yeah, i'd imagine so," said Kelly Pratt at Pratt's Leaburg Country Store.