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harvey lee

Rainy river boundry question

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harvey lee

I have always been with the understanding one could not cross the imaginary line in the river.

I have been told by locals there that one could not.

I know a buddy who said he paid a fine for crossing the line and he was not on the other shore.

Does someone know exactly what the law is for sure?

I have heard it all and someone locally up in that area I would guess knows the answer.

Thanks.

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JeffB

Yes I would say make sure you stay closer to the US shore if you don't have a Canadian licence. Sometimes the US side is so crowded its hard to travel without getting pushed to the imaginary line. What I would like to know is why they don't mark or remove those old bridge pylons I almost cooked my boat on up there. A nice row of them 6" below the water line.

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i'majigger

According to the US wardens that checked my boat up there, I was told with no Canadian license I could motor on the Canadian side to get around some of the obstacles as long as I did not stop to fish or touch land on the Canadian side.

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MWard4400

I should have an answer in a day or so, I emailed the MNR in Rainy River District Ontario, I asked them the following question:

Hi,

I have a general question that I hope can be answered by you.

While fishing on the Rainy River in the spring Is it allowed to travel under power in a boat on the Canada side of the river. The purpose of the question is traveling only, not fishing. I know that if we intend to fish we would need a fishing license, RBC permit, no minnows from the USA, No alcohol.

It is just at times the river gets crowded on the USA side and for traveling purpose it would be easier to travel on the Canada side. We do not wish to be confronted by a MNR officer to explain our actions of traveling on the Canada side.

Thanks,

Mark

I will copy and paste anything I get back from them.

Mark

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Walleyehooker

Best to have a map chip that shows it as that imaginary line doesnt run down the middle of the river like some think it does.

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MAdDuckiceroads

Open to interpretations…?

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MWard4400

Interesting article MADDUCKicerods, However it still does not say if non-Canadian people can drive in the Canada side.

"The High Contracting Parties agree that the navigation of all navigable boundary waters shall forever continue free and open for the purposes of commerce to the inhabitants and to the ships, vessels, and boats of both countries equally, subject, however, to any laws and regulations of either country"

"Either of the High Contracting Parties may adopt rules and regulations governing the use of such canals within its own territory"

There may be a regulation between Minnesota and Ontario for this specific application but it not addressed in this article.

Unless I missed it, the question remains.

Mark

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harvey lee

I agree Mward, the question still remains.

I have e-mailed numerous guides and resorts in the LOW's and Rainy river area and they responded to me and said I would need a RABC or Canpass to cross that imaginary line.

Still waiting to hear from Ontario in regards to what they enforce for over the line issues.

If it is up in tha air on what one can do in regards to travel on the Rainy, I will be saafe and travel only on the US side. Sure one could get tagged and they could be wrong but what would that cost to fight that ticket in court?

I have always stayed on the U.S. side to error in my favor just incase I understood the laws wrong.

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certified jumbo

if you don't have a canadian license and meet there bait requirements, i would recommend not traveling on the canadian side. i'm basing this opinion on my personal experiences and things i've seen while fishing in the spring. that my .02

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MAdDuckiceroads

I agree with the bait part never thought about that as far as just traveling around boats.

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James_R

I should have an answer in a day or so, I emailed the MNR in Rainy River District Ontario, I asked them the following question:

Hi,

I have a general question that I hope can be answered by you.

While fishing on the Rainy River in the spring Is it allowed to travel under power in a boat on the Canada side of the river. The purpose of the question is traveling only, not fishing. I know that if we intend to fish we would need a fishing license, RBC permit, no minnows from the USA, No alcohol.

It is just at times the river gets crowded on the USA side and for traveling purpose it would be easier to travel on the Canada side. We do not wish to be confronted by a MNR officer to explain our actions of traveling on the Canada side.

Thanks,

Mark

I will copy and paste anything I get back from them.

Mark

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources does not enforce immigration or customs laws. You need to contact either U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) if your question doesn't involve hunting or fishing. I have both an I-68 and a Canpass and they're only needed if you traverse navigable waterways such as the Rainy River, Lake Saganaga, Pigeon River or the Great Lakes and touch dry land or dock your boat on the Canadian side. If you don't plan on beaching your boat on the Ontario side and having a picnic on their shore or fishing on their side of the river then please use some common sense and make use of the entire river when driving your boat around.

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harvey lee

James, this is why I asked this question as I have been told by numerous guides and resort owners in that area that it is not advisable to travel on the Canadian side without paperwork.

There seems to be alot of mis information out there and we need to get to the bottom of this so we all know exaclty what the law is and how to navigate the river.

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harvey lee

James R

I called the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in International Falls and asked this question to one of the Border Patrol agents.

I said, Can I navigate the Rainy river i8n my boat on the river and can I go on the Ontario side legally without any paperwork. I said I would just be traveling to and fro and not fishing at all on the other side.

The agent said no, you CANNOT go on the other side Ontario without the proper paperwork from Onatrio.

With that said, I then called Ontario Customs and Border Patrol and asked them the same question.

The agent said yes, going from point a to point b traveling on the Rainy river, yes I can cross the imaginary line as long as I do not go to the Ontario shore or srtop and fish. With that said, there will be no minnows in my boat when I cross or no booze as they will fine you for both if caught.

So, MN says no you cannot and Ontario says yes if you don't touch shore or have minnows or booze on you.

Since I always am fishing with minnows, I will not be crossing the line into Ontario.

I guess if you are just enjoying a joy ride you can but if you are fishing and have minnows which I would guess about everyone does, then I would NOT cross that line.

So, I guess as I have always done, I will be staying on the US side.

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jwmiller33

what about when you are driving the boat through the gap and out to the lake? dont you have to cross "the line"? or this years snowmobile trail up by knights/bridges that goes into canada for a ways to avoid patches of bad ice?

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theiceman

YES!! You cross in border everytime you go out of the gap, and as far as not having minnows in your boat on the river they won t target you unless your fishing. There are spots on the river you have to cross to navigate the river.

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MWard4400

Hi James,

If I am not mistaken the Ontario MNR has identical power as the Minnesota CO's If the MNR sees what they would perceive as a violation as in a suspect drunken driver or a border violation they have the power to detain said person or persons until the controlling authority arrives, They are public servants just like our CO's

I too have herd that if you do not touch the shore on the Canadian side that you do not need a RABC or CanPass.

However since I do not have a CanPass or I-68 I would be foolish to not get the true information from the controlling authorities.

I usually travel with contact names, dates, phone numbers and what the persons title was. There has been several occasions this has saved my butt so to speak when it comes like endeavors like this.

I have found that not every officiating officer knows everything.

Great post by you!

Mark

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harvey lee

YES!! You cross in border everytime you go out of the gap, and as far as not having minnows in your boat on the river they won t target you unless your fishing. There are spots on the river you have to cross to navigate the river.

The Agent at Customs and Border patrol in Ontario said you WILL be fined per minnow if you cross the line to navigate the waters. He sasid you do not have to be fishing to get stopped as they may stop you to check for alchol in the boat also.

That is what I was told 1 hour ago on the phone with the agent.

NO biggie to me is you cross the line with booze or minnows but you can be stopped and checked.

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MWard4400

Did I say that my head is starting to hurt!! LOL

Mark

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James_R

I'm glad you called the Falls Harvey. Sounds like the American officer you spoke to might have been under the impression that you wanted to go into Canada and not just navigate the river. Just a question. What do you think would happen to you if you were driving your bait\beer laiden boat down the river and either accidently or intentionally crossed that halfway point onto the Canadian side ever so briefly? If a Canadian CO directed you to move your boat back over to the Canadian side so he could write you a ticket would you do so?

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harvey lee

I would not put myself in that position. I never have booze in the boat for #1. I always stay away from the imaginary line and always have as I do not want any lE person have to decide what my intentions were or are.

I see no reason to gamble on what they may do or ask you to do as it would only ruin my trip.

I do not need those headaches. I will stay on our side and have fun with NO worries.

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James_R

Hi James,

If I am not mistaken the Ontario MNR has identical power as the Minnesota CO's If the MNR sees what they would perceive as a violation as in a suspect drunken driver or a border violation they have the power to detain said person or persons until the controlling authority arrives, They are public servants just like our CO's

I too have herd that if you do not touch the shore on the Canadian side that you do not need a RABC or CanPass.

However since I do not have a CanPass or I-68 I would be foolish to not get the true information from the controlling authorities.

I usually travel with contact names, dates, phone numbers and what the persons title was. There has been several occasions this has saved my butt so to speak when it comes like endeavors like this.

I have found that not every officiating officer knows everything.

Great post by you!

Mark

Ontario COs are LEOs just like ours are. That being said they can't pursue or detain people outside of their country. They wouldn't legally be able to cross over to our side of the river and search your boat for a revenue generating stray beer can or unapproved live bait. I think most of us are able to be good neighbors out on the water and not taunt foreign law enforcement officers but it's always good to know what the laws are because sometimes the ones who are enforcing it need to be reminded.

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harvey lee

I am glad the majority of the fisher people do not have the attitude you seem to have.

Maybe the CBP will see you and then when you cross back over, they can come and visit you.

Why not just follow the rules and not have to worry about what could or may happen and enjoy the day on the river.

You can go ahead and tempt fate but sooner or later, you will cross with your minnows and will get tagged.

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DTro

I assure you that most boaters cross the line heading out into 4 mile bay and out into the gap. Its nearly impossible not to.

In fact if you look at Google maps there are clearly 5-6 boats on the Canadian side. grin

Sure those boats might have a RABC, but is just a good visual example of how many times that line is probably crossed every day.

If traveling from A to B, I think its nothing to worry about. Just don't fish there, stop, anchor, or beach your boat.

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Wiskers

For Years I have driven on either side of the river and it is ok, treaty says free movement. Just don't stop or fish there.. If in doubt when you are fishing move a bit closer to the US. If CA officials approach you, you just move to the US side quickly if you are in doubt or very close.

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