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I was fishing South Center lake yesterday and I noticed a lot of tied down inflatable rafts about 50 ft from peoples docks. Is this legal? I thought that the land owner only owned the lake shore and not the lake. It is like an obsticle course fishing in those areas. I drifted into one and the owner gave me an ear full. I know the DNR is real fussy about people defacing the land near the lake I am suprised they dont say anything about these floating docks or rafts whatever they are.

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I've often wondered about that myself. Especially the legality of mooring a swimming platform. These can be pretty hazardous to night fishing because they are low and practically invisible under some conditions.

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Here's what the DNR's website says about it:

Docks and structures along the shore

Is a DNR permit required to install a dock or swimming platform in a lake?

A DNR public waters work permit (application available under DNR Division of Waters forms) is not required to construct, reconstruct or install docks, floating or temporary structures, watercraft lifts and mooring facilities if the following conditions are satisfied:

Will not be an obstruction to navigation or create safety hazard.

Will not be detrimental to significant fish and wildlife habitat.

Site is not a posted fish spawning area.

Does not have a roof, walls or sewage facilities and is not used or intended to be used for human habitation or as a boat storage structure.

Allows for the free flow of water beneath it.

Is consistent with or allowed under local government zoning authority controls.

Other than a seasonal watercraft lift or canopy, is not more than 8 feet in width, and is not combined with other similar structures so as to create a larger structure.

Docks placed on rock filled cribs are located only on waters where the bed is incapable of accepting pilings.

Note: Temporary structures which do not extend from shore, such as: swim rafts, slalom courses, ski jumps or buoys of any kind, may not be placed in the waters of the state between sunset and sunrise without a permit from the county sheriff. Those structures not left in the water overnight are still required to be placed so that they do not create a hazard on the water body or obstruct navigation. Contact the water patrol unit of your county sheriff's department for permit information. Call the DNR Boat and Water Safety Section at 651-259-5400 for additional information.

Sometimes disputes regarding the installation of docks and other structures in front of adjacent properties occur. Such disputes are best settled by first discussing your concerns with your neighbor. If your neighbor is uncooperative, you may have to contact an attorney about the legalities of your neighbor's actions.

See the information sheet titled Docks and Access in Public Waters under DNR Waters Publications.

Back to Do I Need a Permit?


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I do have one of those bouncy things for the grandkids up at the lake, not a huge one. I don't have a permit. It also is NEXT to my dock, not extending from it. So ti really would not be a detriment to navigation. I don't plan to get a permit, if called on it, I would just pull it up on shore at night.

But for those people who have them and complain about anglers fishing around them, or around their docks, I am totally NOT one of those folks, I welcome people fishing around both. I am angler first. But I can see how some angler don't care when they are flining hooks around pontoons, inflatables, etc. and it probably was a bad experience where a angler ripped fabric or something to make somebody mad.

Heck, I tell folks to flip a tube under the inflatable, because I will tell you this, it holds nice bass! As you probably know. But our water is really clear and I often can catch smallies and largemought from under it after I see them just hanging there. If you can, flip your texas rigged senko right next to it, let it set to the bottom, and leave it sit there for awhile.

Anyway, don't lump all us dock/inflatable owners together, many/most of us like you fishing around them, just not casting when the kids are swimming there.

Have a great weekend!

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