Speaking of freshet, this means the rivers can change level quickly and if you made it onto a gravel bar, trying to wade back an hour or two later can be a real surprise if there is a quick rise in level and turbidity. This makes some common sense wading techniques very important;
1) Don't go if it doesn't look safe! Dirty water hides all kinds of debris and rocks that can trip you up. And it's too late to learn about the physics of water pressure after you have started floating away down stream.
2) Wear waders that have a lace guard that keeps the laces from untieing. Loose laces can snag in a rock or branch and pull you off balance and trying to bend down and tie laces in fast water will likely earn you a Darwin award!
2) Always, always, wear a floater jacket or inflatable vest.
3) Have felt soles on the bottom of your wading boots. The cheap rubber waders or waders with boots that have grip but no felt are deadly. The pressure of the water can send you skating down the river never to be seen again. Felt grips even on slimy surfaces. If you don't have felt soles, you can buy them and glue them on.
4) Use a sturdy walking stick to prod the depth so you don't get surprised and slip into a drop off.
5) Shuffle your feet as you walk feeling the bottom for obstructions and drop offs. Try not to lift your feet too high as the current can swing your foot away and losing balance is very very easy to do.
6) Do not stand on steep banks, especially ones you see are eroding away in the current. Each year some people are swept into rivers unwittingly standing on the edge either videoing with a cell phone or just plain standing there looking at the dirt fall into the rivers.
7) Here's a clip where I put this into practice, (click here) (incidentally, this was this week and the river just kept coming up and despite all our care, one fellow went in up to the top of his head in 1.5 degree Celsius water. A pretty shocking experience.)