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Sarge

Land Owner Relations/ Rights

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Sarge

Hey everybody, I was reading Hoppers latest stream report and I have two concerns.

First he mentioned the land owner was using a loader to remove part of the stream bank. It was my understanding that it is unlawful to change or alter a designated trout stream. I know last summer when the floods hit the Spring Valley area, the bridge down by my house was damged. And while talking to the county engineer he said that he wanted to change the channel of the creek, to be deeper and straigher right before the bridge, but the county hydrologist said that even the county couldn't alter the creek to lessen the damage to the bridge. If the county can't do it, how would anyboby be able to alter a stream? Has anyone else heard this, and what are your thoughts.

Which brings my second point.
The land owner relations. I too have been denied access to prime fishing waters. Earlier this summer Jim W. and I went to ask permission to fish on some posted land (which we always do, and until this point have never be denied) The landowner refused us permission, and also told us why. He said that a couple years back a fisherman reported him for possibly polluting the stream with his livestock. The EPA or whom ever came out and didn't find the land owner doing anything illegal, but this angered him so he posted his land and doesn't allow people to fish that section of stream any more. Since then he has also had people trespass, and in general is feedup with fisherman.

So my questions are, What can we do to protect our streams without angering the landowners(or do we even have the right)?

And what can we do to repair relations that have been damaged(one way or another) So that responsible fishermen can regain access to these waters?

I'd like to hear lots of input on this subject, which can effect us all.

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Guest

Sarge,

I am pretty conscious about landowner rights, and honestly did not see a posted sign. There was a gate crossing right by the road and I guess, to me, that would have been the place to put up a sign.

Landowner relations are a tricky topic. If any of you have fished the lower end of Trout Run (off of Fillmore 21 - it's a dead end road), there is some private posted land that 6 people have access to fish. Those 6 are the ones who did habitat improvement on the place, so they are the only ones who can fish. Anyway, the lanowners have gone out and videotaped people who have been fishing (not trespassing). As long as you stay IN the water and do not touch the bank inany way, you are legal. They go out and film people so when they do touch the bank, they call the police and press charges. Ask as kind as you will, but other than the chosen 6, no one has permission to fish it.

I understand why landowners post their property - whether it is out of anger for being turned in to the EPA like Sarge referred to, littering, overfishing, not wanting people around (or spooking cows??), and I'm not sure how to fix them because you can only be accountable for yourself. If you ask permission, which I do when I catually see a posted sign, clean up after yourself, and even go so far as to suggest that you will be relasing the big ones or most of your catch if it comes up, that goes a long ways towards landower/angler relations.

The only other scenario that can cure some of this is by the state gaining more easements on southeast waters. i have spent a great deal of time in the last two weeks of fishing loking through the easement guide and it amazes me how many designated trout streams there are, yethow many of those DO NOT have any easements on them. Granted, if it would become public and some of us may lose some of our sweet, private fishing holes, but you wouldn't show up to your fishing hole and find it posted.

Any other thoughts??

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Jim W

In response to this topic, I would have to say maintenance of and continued education, regarding SE MN rules/regs and landowner rights along with fisherman's responsibilities.
If we continue to educate and practice good outdoor responsibility, hopefully the tide will turn. We need to take responsibilty as fisherman to ensure what we have now remains.
We need to approach others we notice who are not following good practice with tact!

Continuing, to provide clear and accurate info on this website is a good start!
For example, I personally believe the tide is slowly turning towards more fisherman practicing catch and release. This hasn't developed out of the blue, it has happended in response to spreading the word!!!!!!

I hope to include in Trout day next year a segment on rules/regs and rights!!

Let's keep the tide rolling in our favor and for our children's future on the water!!!

Jim W

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Guest

JW,

Do you think a lot of trout anglers don't really know the rules? I can see the early season or two time a year fishers not knowing specifics to streams (then agian, look at the rule book and read signs that are posted - EX. Trout Run, Camp Creek....) I think trespassing is one area that could be considered a bit vague for some anglers: You are not trespassing if you are in the water and stay IN the water, but anything on the bank is considered tresspass. This means you cannot touch the bank in any fashion...ever, or you are technically trespassing. I have heard some talk that the rule about trespass for streams may be changed (rules for posted hunting land also changed recently) - such as allowing a certain distance on each side of the bank.

Easement rules are simple - 60 feet on both sides of the bank from the middle of the stream is public land. Plus, any stream that is eased must have an angler corridor for you to get to the stream.

It's an uphill battle, but I see progression, despite law breakers such as myself.

P.S. To Sarge, I don't know the rule regarding banks and farmers - the property I was on yesterday has no easement on it, yet it seems strange that he could just drive down to the stream and scoop a load of the bank and move it elsewhere.

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Sarge

Hopper,J.W., Thanks for your input. I really am not sure I fully understand the trespass laws regarding fishing streams, and I am sure that I have also inadvertantly trespassed (maybe even once on purpose).

Any other thoughts???

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Jim W

Hopper,
In response to your first question, yes!!!
I continually run into people fishing spots that I HAVE to ask permission before fishing, that are there fishing with out permission.

As far as understanding the rules, technically your comments are incorrect. Check out the statute. I'll try to get the exact verbage on the forum asap, but it allows fisherman to fish in the stream and up to the "natural flood plain". That is not an exact quote, but it just shows there is too much ambiguity in the statutes, even people as yourself have been somewhat mislead.

Landowners themselves have expressed to me personally different interpretations of the trespass law. That is my point, I'm not pointing the finger at anyone except a unclear mandate!

Keep the rods bendin'!!! Thanks again for your stream reports, I have enjoyed them!

Jim W

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Guest

I disagree with the high watermark rule - there is no such rule in Minnesota - that's why people can have posted land with a stream in it, and you could be guilty of trespass if you 1.) use posted land to access the stream 2.) touch the banks in any manner (that also means unnavigable objests such as stumps or deep holes). I know personally of several instances in the past two years where landowners have turned in trespassers and those who trespassed were given a citation.

If we opened up to the high water mark (and if you saw some of the flooding this spring - some very large high water marks), then essentially, there would be nothing considered private, posted water.

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Jim W

I understand your point, but the last time I looked up the statute on the DNR website(or had a DNR official e-mail it to me) it did indeed state the flood plain. Unless they amended it recdently or something that is the last I heard.
Give me some time and I'll post it.
Thanks for your concern!!!
Jim W

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fish4life

i believe you can only walk in a stream if it is floatable with a canoe otherwise its considered trespassing. but i do have a question for you guys hoping someone may be able to answer it. ive been out fishing walking down the streams legally and there are no trespassing sign on a barbwire fence which crosses the stream does thaht make the illegal to go on that land or does the stay in the water rule still apply.
thanks in advance

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Guest

The navigable rule is interesting because you have to be able to navigate it at some time during the year....but it doesn't specify which time of the year.

Any area that doesn't have a sign, it is wide open. Be careful with that now with the new land trespass rule - landowners are only required to post the corners of their property, not the every 1000 foot rule or something similar in the past

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Bodyman

I fish wisconsin streams and the laws have always been keep your feet wet and your ok on navigable waters. They are public, and as long as you have a public access you can use them.
Now a new law allows anglers in a navigable stream to fish while standing in the stream or on the exposed banks, up to the ordinary high water mark.
The ordinary high water mark is defined as the point on the bank or shore up to which the water, by it's presence, leaves a distinct mark on the bank or shore.
This mark may be indicated by erosion,destruction of or change in vegetation or other easily recognizable characteristics.

The streams I fish mostly have alot of DNR public fishing and some areas posted private. Some are willing to allow fishing while others seem to think they own the creek and everything in it.

I ask first to fish a spot I want to. If denied access to that part of the stream, I move up or down stream where I can get legal access then move to the stream where I was denied. It's my right and plan on keeping it.

As far as I'm concerned the streams are everyone to use. A few fortunate ones who happen to control the lands around them should not and according to Wisconsin law cannot deny access.

Look to make some changes in the laws in you can't do this in Mn.
Good Fishing

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Guest

Minnesota stream rights and Wisconsin stream rights are totally different.....feet wet versus touching the banks = trespass is quite a bit different, don't you think.

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Bodyman

Hopper. The idea behind my post was if the law is vague, or not written properly. As in not allowing public use of public streams. It can and should be changed. It was here in WI and it can be in Mn if that's what you want. Getting a ticket for using natural resources that belong to everyone is sort of crazy in my opinion. Good Fishing

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Bogsucker

I have been researching the statutes regarding stream access and public (protected) waters and have not been able at this time to confirm any of which has been said at this time. It appears as though there are so many statutes, statements of intent, regulations and documents regarding this that I might have to call my lawyer before I dare go fishing again.
It would appear though, that a person may enter into or upon a body of public water for recreational use, across its entire surface, if the body of water will float a canoe, is accesible via public right of way or public access (of which the user accesses the body of water) and the user is within the confines of the ordinary high water level (definition of which varies on type of water body). I have emailed the MNDNR a similar letter requesting CLARIFICATION of Public Water Access and Use with regards to small rivers and streams. I will post their reply when received.

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Jim W

I have not yet recieved the actual statute yet, but I did get a response from Rose Palomo from the State DNR.
Here is a direct quote from the e-mail.
"A stream or lake is lawfully accessible if there is a public access, if public land or a public road right of way abuts the surface of the water, or if you have permission to cross private land to reach the surface of the water".

Still too vague for this guy. I ask this, maybe someone else can define it for me?, Does a bridge constitute a road or right away that abuts the surface of the water? This seems to address lake trespass issues more than streams.
Hopefully we can get a clearer interpretation or an exact copy of the statute asap!!
Untilthen, keep the ords bendin'!!!

Jim W

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fish4life

I just read hoppers post in the last topic and I don't think that anyone besides government officials can do anything to alter the banks of streams cause I know you cant do a thing to lake shores or else its a hefty fine. unless he has some sort of special permit I don't believe he can do that.

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Guest

Fish4life,

If you look at the stream designation guide, the area that I was on is technically not a designated area. However, I would think a permit of some kind would be in order since it IS on the lower reaches of a stream that is designated.

Throw in another fish kill, and you have a typical summer in southeast MN. it's unfortunate, but with the struggling way of life called agriculture, they can get away with much more in terms of pollution, etc. around streams thatn we think. It reminds me of that proposed feed lot facility that those idiots wanted to put upstream of a sinkhole that directly went into Mystery Cave which is the feeder to the S. Branch of the Root.

When will the insanity end and common sense prevail?? Do the farmers ever look at the weather predictions to see that steady rain is on the way. etc?? Or do they say piss on it, I'll do what I want??

I could ramble on about the ills agriculture management has on our southeast streams, but I'll back off for a bit.

P.S. Too all of the hardcore smallie guys, I landed my largest smallie on a fly rod to date last week: 16 inches. I have pictures, so I'll let you know when I have them scanned and loaded to my web page.

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Sarge

Bodyman, thanks for your info on Wis. laws, this is getting more interesting as we go.

Hopper, that smallmouth had to be a challenge on you fly rod. I was using a cheap panfish popper with the fly gear and caught several 12inchers a couple weeks ago and they just wouldn't give up. Lots of fun!!!!!!

J.W. as far as public road right-of-ways abut the surface of the water, the distance Of the right of way varies depending on the road (i.e. gravel, paved, county, ect.)For instantances for paved county roads in Filmore the right of way is 22 feet from the center of the road, so as long as you stay within 22 feet of the center of the road you can walk down to the water to fish. But that still doesn't make me to sure about walking up stream into posted land even if I stay in the water.

Nice to see you join in Bogsucker, I'm sure we'll get this cleared up with your help.


Anybody else have anymore input??????

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Jim W

Hey Sarge,

Why not(open another post) share the trout info that you had to call me last night for? Of course I don't expect you to give up your "honey hole"(hey wait a minute that's my wife's username) I can only give her up LOL!!
I sure enjoyed the story and I'm sure others would as well!

Now let's keep the hunt on for clarification of these ambiguous trespass laws eh?

Jim W

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fish4life

i was out fishing this morning and i ran into a steamed farmer even though i was following all the rules to my knowledge and he told me that you cant lift your leg out of the water or else its trespassing i dont know if its true or if he just wanted me out that bad but he saw me wiht my foot above the water line so i left with out putting up a fight as i did not have my liscense on me and didnt feel like a ticket. so i jsut thought i would tell that one to you all since this is a hot topic lately(which i think it is sad that we have to ask for usage of land that we all pay taxes for and fees for our liscenses which go to improve these waterways.

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Bodyman

There are laws that protect the sportsman. Tickets have been issued and I'm not sure of the fines, but I think they call it sportsman harassment. Sounds like you got a raw deal fish4life.

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Guest

The farmer is full of sh**. Lift your leg out of the water, hell lift both legs if you can, just don't touch the banks in any manner, or else you are trespassing. Stay in the stream at all costs.

What stream were you on?

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fish4life

i believe it was part of Spring valley creek but im not one hundred percent sure. its just inside the city of fillmore on county road 8. this farmer owns the land where there is a bridge that is under construction right now if that helps anyone. thanks in advance,

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Jim W

No names needed, but I believe this gentleman(farmer) was the landowner that Sarge originally started this post about.
This farmer has had tumultuous incidents with
very foolish fisherman. Fisherman, if you want to call them that, who have destroyed any future fishing on his land!!!

fish4life! Whether you were taken advantage of or not, I believe you did the right thing by not causing a scene. I think this topic needs to be addressed with the local DNR and possibly a future legislative issue!!!!

Find some what water and make your rods bend!!
Jim W

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Guest

JW - Fish4life,

This is the same farmer who called the conservation officers on a friend of a friend last year and he received a citation. There are posted signs on that stretch of water, and he does have the reputation of being less than cordial to anglers.

That's a tricky situation there and I personally would not fish that section of water - go up the road and access SVC via the gate and trail that leads to the bottom of the hill.

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