Utah Legislature Rejects Limits on Stream Access

March 4, 2009 By: Marshall Cutchin

In a big victory for Utah fly fishers and the grass roots movement that protested against limits on stream access, yesterday the Utah House voted 41-34 against a bill that would have cut public access to a list of only 19 sections of rivers crossing private land. Apparently the sponsor of Bill 187 thought that expanding that list to 30 might save the legislation, but opponents of the bill successfully argued against the state’s role of deciding where anglers could and could not fish.
As Tom Wharton reports in the Salt Lake Tribune, many consider it likely that legislators will eventually put in place some restrictions on access rights, but for now Utahns can walk on the beds of all streams and rivers, regardless of who owns the land beneath them. “‘The anglers and boaters of Utah have spoken loud and clear on what they think their public rights are,’ said Ted Wilson, who heads the Utah Rivers Council, one of a number of conservation groups opposing the bill. ‘They made it clear, along with the Supreme Court of the state, that we do have the right to go fish. It says that a $709 million industry is protected.'”