Unseasonably warm weather and recent heavy rain have brought Missoula area rivers and streams to very high levels. Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Fishing Site Access Coordinator Chet Crowser said on Tuesday, that its just too risky to be out on the water floating or rafting right now.

"This is the time of the year that the hazards and the risks of being on the water are going to be the greatest," Crowser said. "Its probably best to just stay away from the rivers and wait for the flows to come down and the extremely cold water temperatures to warm up a little bit."

Crowser said the high waters will be hiding dangerous debris just below the surface that will provide extreme hazards to anyone recreating on the water.

"The high water will be pulling woody debris from the edges of the river into the streams," Crowser continued. "In some cases, you're going to see full-sized trees moving through the river systems. The rivers are going to be discolored, a lot more muddy-looking, meaning less visibility so its harder to see what you're floating over, or what's submerged."

Crowser said the water will be moving very fast, as well.

"There's going to be a lot more velocity to the water, so its going to be pushing faster, making it more challenging to navigate through the hazards," Criwser said. "The water temperature will be much colder because its basically snow-melt that's coming down and filling the rivers."

He also discouraged pet owners from allowing their dogs to play fetch in the high waters until their levels go down.

Fish Wildlife and Parks Spokesman Chet Crowser


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