Minnesota officials urge caution on rivers amid high water levels

The Stearns County Sheriff's Office is recommending canoers and kayakers stay off rivers amid high water levels unless they're an expert paddler. 

The recommendation comes after three kayakers overturned in the Sauk River on Saturday night. According to the sheriff's office, three kayakers in their 20s were thrown from their kayaks after hitting an object in the river by Heim's Mill in Le Sauk Township at 8:07 p.m.

The kayakers were not injured and were all wearing life jackets at the time of the incident. 

"Due to the high water levels on area rivers the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office recommends that canoers and kayakers stay off of them unless you are at an expert level," a news release said. 

Last week's severe weather brought heavy rain to much of Minnesota. That heavy rain is now taking its toll on area waterways with many creeks, streams, and rivers now around or above flood stage. Heavy rain and melting snow led to dangerously high waters and flooding on the North Shore, and some counties have declared no-wake restrictions in hopes of preventing shoreline erosion. 

The Stearns County Sheriff's Office over the weekend issued a no-wake restriction within 300 feet of shore on Grass Lake, Clearwater Lake, Augusta Lake, Carolina Lake, Lake Maria and Lake Louisa, while other lakes are listed as no-wake zones. 

"The current high-water conditions combined with unnecessary wakes has the potential to cause damage to both the shoreline, submerged or partially submerged docks and lifts, and in some cases, residences," the sheriff's office said. 

Other counties, including Kandiyohi and Meeker, have issued no-wake restrictions for some lakes with high water levels. Officials are asking boaters to be mindful of water levels on all lakes.