Muddied Rules Leave Utahns Wondering About Stream Access

Fish around the western U.S. enough and you soon begin to realize that despite the energy that gets poured into stream access law, the realities are all local. Whether or not you can fish unmolested on water that passes through private land may well depend on what kind of day the owner is having, or whether there is someone already making a living off the fishing there.
The recent failure of the Utah legislature to come up with clarity on the rights of private property owners versus those of anglers may have heightened the tensions, but ironically the number of trespass cases has actually gone down, according to Tom Wharton in the Salt Lake Tribune. “”It’s hard on both sides,’ [Brent Tanner, executive director of the Utah Cattlemen’s Association] said. ‘We need to be able to tell a landowner that this is what you can and can’t do. It’s hard for fishermen to know what they can and can’t do because the court left definitions a bit broad and undefined.'”

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