public water/land rights

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by dinkbuster1, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    since there is now a bunch of guys on here from Ohio now i was wondering if anyone knows the specifics on our public land rights along our rivers and streams. i have searched several places trying to find some concrete answers on the the subject but i keep finding conflicting arguments. one case says the public has the right to be on land along any navigable river/stream up to the "high water mark", the next case says that landowners can own the land up to, and even under the rivers/streams. from what i've found "navigable" means its possible to float a raft or canoe on.
     
  2. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon New Member

    Messages:
    3,012
    State:
    Ohio
    Basically what I have been told is that land owners own the land under the water (& obviously the shore) but not the water, so it legal to canoe it, just dont touch the bottom. Thats how is been told to me.
     

  3. river scum

    river scum New Member

    Messages:
    3,474
    State:
    hooterville indiana
    i looked up this in indiana laws. it reads that the high water line to the water on a navigable river is public domain. i was run off a place (on a navagable river) and emailed the C.O. and cant get a strait answer out of them. had others ask and get different answers. i printed off a copy of the law to carry with me. we should find out the truth this season when the guy calls the law on me. ill get my answer one way or another.
     
  4. SangamonCatKiller

    SangamonCatKiller New Member

    Messages:
    488
    State:
    central illinois
    Since we are on the subject have any of you guys know how to find out who owns certain pieces of land. There is some property that said entrance by permission only and I wish to seek that permission out. There was no name or number to contact.:sad:
     
  5. Salmonid

    Salmonid New Member

    Messages:
    1,833
    State:
    SW Ohio
    Hey Dinkbuster and others from Ohio. My Trout Unlimited Chapter paid several Lawyers to research this to approach the state, In a nice short sweet version, here is what was found.

    Ohio Defines a "Navigable" stream as also "recreationable" to include, fishing, wading, trapping, swimming etc.

    Ohio only by definition, has defined 4 waterways as "Navigable" to include the Ohio River and Lake Erie mouths up to the first dam,riffle or obstruction, also a short commerciallized segment of the Muskingum River ( where there is Barge Traffic) and because of a drowning case, the Lower Little Miami River from Milford downstream.

    Ohio only defines the above 4 streams as "Navigable" (remember this)

    Ohio Defines rivers and streams as "Highways by law" which means if you are using it as a "highway" that you may wade through and canoe through a private property as long as you put in and take out at a public point to include bridges

    The US Supreme court also defines "Navigable" but it also gives each state the chance to interpret and make there own desicions regarding this touchy subject. Ohio chooses not to follow the US Supreme courts definition.

    Ohio owns the water that enters and exits your property and the wildlife within it ( Fish)

    If a spring starts on your property but exits it, it is completely private on your property. But a "Highway" from the lower point downstream.

    Ohio law allow landowners who own the river bottom out to the center, or all the way across if they own both banks, to control who has access to the states wildlife on private property ( Think Deer Hunting as a good example)

    Ohio says that if you are using a "Highway defined by law" ( read river or stream) that you may leave the river or stream to walk around , using the shortest, least destructive path around any obstruction. So yes, you can walk a canoe around a dam without being arrested.

    Now, what this means is that you may not wade fish, or cast from a canoe because you then are "Hunting without permission"

    Wade fishing and anchoring to someones bottom of the stream is also grounds for Trespassing.

    Ok, with that said, that is all fine and dandy and is how OHIO Sherriffs and DNR are interpreting the law. But remember that in Ohio, you can not be arrested for Trespassing until you have been asked to leave and you do not or its a repeat offense, ( you get 1 free shot)

    Also know that the DNR and Sherrifs really do not want to police this, it will only happen if someone complains ( and you havent left) Good advise is to leave when asked even if you are feeling its your right to fish somewhere.

    Ok, everyone understand those laws and also how the State of Ohio interprets the law, right??

    Now let me add 1 little piece of information that the State has convieniently missed. Our research shows a Ohio Supreme Court Case ( Supreme court means it is the Gospel for Ohio to follow) from 1856 ( I believe) that does actually state that in Ohio, the term "Navigable" is defined as "any stream, river or even a ditch that can, even under high water, is big enough to float a log downstream for commerce" thus being used for Commerce.

    When we showed this to the DNR, they told us we were crazy, so we got our lawyers on the case and did the "official " research and then gave them this information to which they replied, "Holy Cow, this means we have been misinterpreting our access laws for 150 years!!" so we said, yep, now, kindly go fix this by getting a Attourney General to make a desicion based on our findings and the DNR came back and said, "No way are we touching this with a 10 ft pole, heck, we spent the last 50 years making Farmers in ohio our friends, if we changed this, there would be hel to pay so we wont help you" so we went to the Ohio division of Watercraft and go the same answer.

    Remember this is the short version, Please take me out fishing in your boat if you want more details when we have all day to discuss this.

    Bottom line, wade and fish where you want, until asked to leave...then you better leave because you are robably trespassing in Ohio with our antiquated interpretation of the law.

    Michigan, Wisconsin, and Montana all have "High Water Marks" access laws, I say we all move out of Ohio to a Real recreationable state;)

    For Dink, everytime i post this on OGF, everyone tells me Im an idiot so I didnt want to post it there, it seems somewhere along the line, fisherman think they own the land under the water, but they are wrong.

    Salmonid
     
  6. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    Rockford map publishers make "platt/survey" books for about every county in Illinois. You might be able to find one at a local library, but who knows how up to date it would be. :)

    On the subject of public waters, IL does go by the high water mark on stream considered available for public navagation...the ILDNR has this posted somewhere...under fishing or boating....

    I think the Sangamon and Kaskaskia are navigable in part only, but rivers like Rock, IL, Fox, Miss, OH, and Embarras are navigble for entire length...of course lanowners on the Fox which goes through populated suburban areas can still be difficult, and guys canoe and fish below Shelbyville a lot without getting permissions (for some odd reason the Kaskaskia is only considered "navigable" to a point between Herrick and Ramsey or some odd place :confused:
     
  7. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
  8. dinkbuster1

    dinkbuster1 New Member

    Messages:
    2,272
    State:
    Ohio
    also what i'd like to know is how this affects farmers? all my life until recently i thought that the "high water mark" rule was in affect!
     
  9. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    here's the document about Illinois Public waters

    http://dnr.state.il.us/legal/adopted/3704.htm

    It lists what they define as navigable for public use; just scroll down to

    Section 3704.APPENDIX A Public Bodies of Water

    (I didn't want to post entire document here...)

    shawn
     
  10. Shawn

    Shawn New Member

    Messages:
    408
    State:
    Illinois
    fyi the Illinois Fishing Guide as of 1996 did also list the Embarras as public access entire length, and the Mackinaw also... maybe the listing in the link isn't updated.

    shawn

    (sorry, couldn't edit the previous post)
     
  11. vlparrish

    vlparrish New Member

    Messages:
    1,276
    State:
    Bedford, Kentucky
    One sure fire way that I have learned is to ask the local COs. The reason I do this is, because if I am going to be caught, he will be doing the catching and from my experience the CO in one area might inerpret a law different than a CO in another area.Take it from someone who knows from experience and ask the local CO. If in total doubt always try to get landowner permission and if all else fails, find another location to fish. Vern
     
  12. flathunter

    flathunter New Member

    Messages:
    5,723
    State:
    Ohio
    I wish Ohio had more public access to it's public rivers and creeks...We are at the mercy of the landowner, and alot of them wont give you access. Mostly due to problems they have had in the past, a couple bad apples can spoil it for a whole lot of people.
     
  13. SangamonCatKiller

    SangamonCatKiller New Member

    Messages:
    488
    State:
    central illinois
    You're right, only certain parts of the sangamon are considered navigable. Not the part that I want of course!
     
  14. rockbass

    rockbass New Member

    Messages:
    1,107
    State:
    Ohio
    Thanks Salmonid!

    Interesting little tid bit here. My uncle was fishing on his river bank one day. Has no liscence, maybe fishes 1 every 2 yrs. Just sat there with some worms for a few. Along comes the local ODNR guy with some other cohort. They pull up along my uncle. Ask him for his liscence. My uncle tells him he does not have one and that he did not need one since he was on his own land. The officer tells him he does not own the river, so he can not fish it. My uncle explains to him that his property line actually goes close to half way across the river. He asked for proof because he knows better:rolleyes:
    My uncle went up to the house and got the map of his property which clearly showed his property line out into the river bed. The officer said sorry to bother you and good luck and was on his way.:p
     
  15. plainsman

    plainsman New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,187
    State:
    minnesota
    In Mn any navigable water which means you can float a canoe, is public, except private ponds. anyone can be on the water provided he uses public access points, or private access points with permission. A highway road bridge right of way is considered public access. This does not mean you will not be shot at on a lake that has shoreline owned entirely by private landowners even if you have gotten there legally.
     
  16. curdog

    curdog New Member

    Messages:
    896
    State:
    Sheridan, Arkansas
    In Arkansas if you launch a boat at a public boat ramp on a River or lake you can fish it. But stay in the boat unless it is State or Federal land bordering the River or lake.Any other land bordering the river or lake treat it as Posted.