Utah Anglers Likely to Lose Some Stream Access

Last summer’s “too-good-to-be-true” Utah Supreme Court ruling which gave anglers almost limitless access to the state’s streams is destined to be compromised, according to Brett Prettyman in The Salt Lake Tribune. “What I’ve heard through the grapevine is that the bill includes a list of popular Utah waters that would become more accessible to anglers, waters like the Provo, Weber, Duchesne, Strawberry and more. Rivers running through private lands not on the list would be off limits to anglers and other recreationists, unless the landowner decides to allow access.”

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  • Tom

    the folks in Utah should be getting mad as hell with their legislature tinkering with the Court ruling. fishermen and outdoor recreationists in Utah should be looking at the Montana model of stream access as viable and not let any restrictions be imposed by their lawmakers who will surely be influenced by $$$.

  • It’s not “too good to be true” to protect citizens federal navigability rights. It’s just true. If we somehow choose to forget rights, or don’t learn about them, it makes it terribly easy for other folks to take them away.
    Public ownership of navigable waterways has been a critical right in the United States since the initial colonies. All the rest of the states admitted to the United States were brought in with those same rights.
    The nation was explored by rivers. Communities founded by rivers. Industry flourishes on rivers. And through all of that, the same original basic tasks go onward, people put in boats, or walk the river bed, fishing and traveling.
    No kidding the rivers are valuable. That’s why they are public. Don’t let your river rights slip away from public ownership into easements, or other less powerful legal status. Why the heck would the public give up public rivers?

  • Joseph

    The rights of navigability are considered separate by some courts from the rights to fish, anchor or trespass on the stream bottom. There is, in the opinion of some, a significant difference between using rivers for mere transporation of people or goods, whether for commerce or recreation/personal reasons, and the use of the rivers through private property for fishing purposes. Some states in the East have old land grants from George II that are honored by the courts in Virginia that grant exclusive rights to fishing to the landowner. Wyoming grants right of transportation but not fishing without permissiion of the landowner. There ought to be a standardized protocol – but it’s still a matter of states rights – and in my investigations, I’ve seen everything from a flat out NO TRESPASS to what is conventionally referred to as the “Wet-Foot Rule,” whereby travellers/users of a stream may not only have access on the river, but anywhere up to the high water mark, and beyond where obstructions or unwadably deep water prevents movement along the stream.