Who owns the rivers?
Posted 09 February 2007 - 06:27 PM
Posted 09 February 2007 - 07:26 PM
Interpretations can vary from state to state. In the New England states, if a stream is even close to navigable you can be out in it, and on beaches below the high tide line; these are old British Admiralty decisions. Other states have more exclusive laws or practices, certainly they can have more hostile attitudes which is bad enough; arguing with a drunk with a gun is a tough proposition (it'll be in my autobiography).
Posted 09 February 2007 - 07:40 PM
It affirms the rights of the public to access a stream in south-central Pennsylvania. A legal victory for collectors and anglers alike! I myself have been wanting to sample the Little Juniata River sometime. Anybody want to join?
The legal reasoning was based on the navigability law described in your article, Duckman. Let's hope for many more rulings like this. Actually, let's hope the rulings are seldom necessary.
Posted 09 February 2007 - 09:44 PM
I want to act within the law but I don't want to be arrested finding out exactly what the law allows me to do. Is there some easy way to know when you're in the right and better yet I would love to print out a document showing my rights to public water so I can have the warm feeling I know I'm right when the police take me away.
Posted 09 February 2007 - 09:56 PM
Posted 09 February 2007 - 10:28 PM
Posted 09 February 2007 - 10:43 PM
Posted 09 February 2007 - 10:45 PM
This is true in Ohio due to some obscurity in the law, but not in most states, where in the water, you are in the 'Waters of the United States'. Just don't step on the bank...
However, I find it easiest to avoid immediately (or ever) begin quoting the law, appologize profusely for the fuss (not for tresspassing, mind you, but that your presence caused a reaction), explain what I'm doing and build rapport. I've never been asked to leave even after it was apparent a heated exchage was well on it's way.
This even after a cop had pulled a gun on us in Alabama, I got snippy, about it and we started off on the wrong foot lol.
If they're still a jerk after that point... Leave. No fish is worth it. And then you'll know that the things muttered under your breath about that ---------- are well founded
Posted 09 February 2007 - 11:53 PM
It starts to get murky in the older states, especially the ones that were once colonies. In Virginia there is no clear law any many owners use the original Royal Grants written up before this country even existed. Landowners in some instances own the bottom, the water, and even the fish!
Posted 10 February 2007 - 02:45 AM
Posted 12 February 2007 - 08:04 PM
Posted 13 February 2007 - 07:39 PM
Ed, There is a map called the Stream Map of Pennsylvania. I used to have a laminated copy of it but I'm not sure where it's at now. If I remember correctly, The streams were color coded in some fashion. I still see ads for it from time to time in our local paper.
Posted 19 July 2007 - 12:21 PM
Love to hear more on this.
Posted 19 February 2008 - 08:28 PM
And a message for the town dwellers who seem to think that anything not surrounded with razor wire is fair game... We live out here, we've paid dearly for the land, and we pay dearly in property taxes to keep it. If you don't know where you are, you probably shouldn't be there. I don't like being hardline, but my beautiful old growth forest and spring fed creek have been abused so many times that I've had to adopt a scorched earth policy towards trespassers and poachers. I've had trash and appliances dumped, fields torn up, walnut trees cut down and hauled off, and dope crops planted. I've had inebriated deer poachers with loaded rifles wander past my house. I've had people march in and then try to sue me when they fall in the creek. So if we seem hot under the collar, it's because our farms have been trashed too many times in the past, and we just don't have the time to sort out the good people from the bad.
Posted 19 February 2008 - 09:29 PM
Bottom line is, if the cops get called, they're gonna always side with the landowners. If you argue, you make it worse. Small consolation to find you had the letter of the law on your side after some officer gets it into his head to spoil your day. Best to avoid putting yourself in that position.
I've been called a coward by fellow fishermen for taking that attitude. My point of view is I'm too old to be adding needless stress to my day.
Posted 19 February 2008 - 09:50 PM
Posted 20 February 2008 - 04:04 AM
First of all though, in Minnesota, from the fishing regulations hand book: "A stream or lake is lawfully accessible if there is a public access, or if public land or a public road right-of-way borders the surface of the water, or if you have permission to cross private land to reach the surface of the water. This includes walking in the water or on the ice in connection with such activities regardless of who owns the land beneath the surface of the water."
A few years ago there was a news report about some resort owners on a popular lake that were getting in trouble for harrassing icefishermen. These resorts spend a lot of money plowing and maintaining several miles of "roads" on the lake during the winter and charge people to use their private access to get on the lake. The roads of course go out to the good fishing spots and start at the resorts private access.
If there hasn't been a lot of snow, sometimes someone with a plow on their truck will make a connecting road from a public access. Apparently a few years back this happened and some of the plow drivers for the resorts, faced with the loss of revenue, were harassing fishermen who didn't have a tag on their car indicating they paid at the resort. The harrassment ranged from use of a few choice words to actually plowing up snow to block in the fishermen's vehicles and leaving them stuck on the lake.
Posted 17 March 2008 - 02:28 PM
There are no federal laws regarding inland waterway rights. The rights to inland waterways were ceded to the individual states back in 1861. There hasn't been a federal law regarding inland waterway rights since then. (I believe this was done to get Missouri and a couple of other states bordering major rivers to come into the civil war on the Union side) All states adhere to USCG regulations regarding boat safety, but they are not legally required to do so. So references to the US Supreme Court are either vey dated or incorrect. They are certainly inoperable today.
State laws vary a lot. Some define the banks as the limit. Some, such as KY, say that free flowing water can be used for transportation, but it does not affect the land over which the water flows - meaning that touching sides or bottom is not legal. In fact, there was a fascinating legal battle between KY and IN when casino boats were legalized by IN, to operate on the Ohio river. The exact state border was determined, and it was found that Indiana only had a narrow section of water where they could operate a casino boat and not cross into Kentucky. (KY AG had promised to bust them if they did) The river itself did not affect the border, and the federal government said up front that they had no jurisdiction over the dispute.
Edited by JohnO, 17 March 2008 - 03:20 PM.
Posted 12 May 2008 - 04:44 PM
I see it this way, he's in his 80s, I don't trust his aim. There isn't a fish on the planet worth getting shot over, no matter what any laws may have to say about it.
Posted 13 May 2008 - 05:10 PM
From truly hostile landowners, I've always ended up backing down. No matter how much in the right we are, whether doing research or recreation, it's never worth getting shot.
You just can't reason with the barrel of a gun. I'm also always ready to call the game warden if they call the sheriff. It's never come down to that because it hasn't been worth our time yet to hang around and wait for a standoff, but it won't surprie me if one of my crewmates or I make that choice in the future.
Anyway, thanks again.
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