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Life of Riley  
#1 Posted : Thursday, May 24, 2018 5:46:21 AM(UTC)
Life of Riley
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To start with, I've read the entire sticky on this 3 times, as well as the MN statutes, MN fishing regs, and done google research. I'm doing this post because nothing beats real-life experience, and so I'm asking for any of yours. Growing up and mainly fishing the Mississippi River as well as lakes for bass and walleyes, trespass laws are an afterthought, as long as my boat floats I'm good. Now that I've been trouting a few times, I am confident in the rules but am always cautious, as a buddy got a hunting trespass ticket in ND and was not allowed to hunt darn near anywhere for a year(long story but they missed a sign duck hunting and it was unintentional). My first question is on bridges. I'm just wondering if every bridge is a safe spot to enter a trout stream? I know most are, but in doing research I found that roads are either federal, state, county, or municipality owned. It seems that each ownership has a different amount of easement or public right of way coming off the center of the road. I'm not trying to be too paranoid here, but curious if anyone has ever run into any issues. Some bridges I've jumped in at, there is a well beaten trail down to the water, and I know that I'm safe(but also that the trout have seen plenty of spinners and worms!). I have found a few spots where the roadside/ditch is very overgrown and I'm not sure if anyone has ever entered the water there. One has barbed wire up to the bridge on all sides but one.

My second question has to do with "keeping your feet wet". Does the MN law require your hooves to be wet, or merely below the average high water mark? I've waded some stream stretches that go through private property and noticed that on most bends there were footprints on the inside turn in the mud/silt.

Thanks for any input/personal experience anyone has on this. I know a lot of this was covered in the board sticky on stream access laws, but I just wanted to double check a few things.

Good fishing!

Riley
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MN Driftless  
#2 Posted : Thursday, May 24, 2018 12:32:14 PM(UTC)
MN Driftless
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I live in and fish in Southeast Mn almost exclusively, so I can shed light on a few observations. The easiest thing to do is to follow the stream easement map (either in hard copy form or online). If you want to fish water that is uneased, I'd try to talk to the landowner. That will get you further in the long run. In MN, the landowner owns the bank but not the bottom, so if you do access a stream that is not eased (private), you must stay in the water at all times. There is no wet food rule here. Even if you touch the bank, that is technically trespassing.

Easements in southeast MN are 66' from the middle of the stream extending both sides of it, so you have a pretty wide berth to walk.

I have fished in the area for over 30 years and have had negative encounters with landowners once or twice, mainly because they were oblivious to the easement rules/boundaries. There are a few landowners who do have posted signs that are very particular about "their water."

Like I said earlier, knocking on a door and asking permission will get you plenty of access.
winonaflyfactory  
#3 Posted : Tuesday, May 29, 2018 4:17:36 AM(UTC)
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So the question of accessing water from a bridge is not as simple as some make it out to be. I found this out after an encounter with a lady who was not happy that I was fishing her family fishing spot and I had accessed from the bridge which I was standing near at the time. What followed was an unpleasant conversation, a phone call to the DNR conservation officer for the area and then over the next few days several more phone calls to township officials in the area.

Read this post in which I detail the information regarding accessing private water from a bridge. With that said 99% of the time I knock on doors, Ive been granted permission to fish a lot of water over the years and the more I knock the more I am encouraged to do so. It's far more comfortable to knock and get permission than it is to have the threat of an angry landowner come out after you. With that said...I take issue with people who think they own the world and are belligerent about it. I have fished water I've been told not to fish simply because I was told I wasn't allowed to fish there, you have rights just as the landowner does. I suggest if you are going to do something that potentially could piss someone off you make sure you have your information straight and your ducks in a row. On the day I returned to the water in the post below I called the township official, the DNR conservation officer, the sheriff and I took a measuring tape with me to make sure I was within my allotted area for accessing from a bridge. This is not something I like doing but I will not let someone tell me I cannot fish when I am most certainly within my rights, gets me pretty pissed off to be honest.


http://www.winonaflyfact...m/access-july-11th-2016/

As for the wet boot rule. If you're not standing in water you are trespassing.

And a note or disclaimer, this information is specific to Minnesota only. Got no clue what sort of rules are on the WI side of the river.
JGF  
#4 Posted : Tuesday, May 29, 2018 2:46:30 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: winonaflyfactory Go to Quoted Post


And a note or disclaimer, this information is specific to Minnesota only. Got no clue what sort of rules are on the WI side of the river.


Thanks for sharing - interesting blog post. I too generally ask permission but that is getting harder and harder to do. Not because people say NO but it's hard to find the owners in many places as the farms are getting bigger and recreational properties more common.

Here are the Wisconsin stream access laws - which seem pretty similar to Minnesota, with a few exceptions. Wisconsin's laws used to be a little more lenient as access was to the ordinary high water mark. Since 2001, they are similar to Minnesota's keep your feet wet rules but I don't know if this exception exists in MN:

Quote:
Members of the public may use any exposed shore area of a stream without the permission of the riparian (i.e., landowner) only if it is necessary to exit the body of water to bypass an obstruction. In addition, a member of the public may not enter the exposed shore area except:

from the water,
from a point of public access on the stream, or
with the permission of the riparian (i.e., landowner).

Obstructions could consist of trees or rocks, shallow water for boaters or deep water for wading trout anglers. The bypass should be by the shortest possible route.


Emphasis is mine.

The WDNR also has information about how to legally access from roads which sounds a lot like MN's rules except that access appears to be 33 feet from each side of centerline of the road (66 feet total). They have similar language about checking with municipalities about access from roads within their jurisdiction.

Edited by user Tuesday, May 29, 2018 2:47:25 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Guillermo  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, May 30, 2018 2:58:59 AM(UTC)
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Learn the access rules like the back of your hand, then carry the documents with you wherever you fish. And then watch heads explode when landowners berate you for exercising your legal rights. It's a passion of mine, yes. Especially when the landowners are disgustingly rich and snobbish out-of-state environmentally destructive no-regard for the local community-having buffoons. And it helps if you wear clothing with a message they won't particularily enjoy or may in fact be enraged by. But that's neither here nor there and I'm getting off track.Woot Woot Woot

I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane.

Edited by user Wednesday, May 30, 2018 3:00:03 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

rschmidt  
#6 Posted : Wednesday, May 30, 2018 3:12:57 AM(UTC)
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In WI u are permitted to access the bank directly out and in to navigate obstructions, including high water. R
William Schlafer  
#7 Posted : Wednesday, May 30, 2018 8:02:52 PM(UTC)
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The roadway easement law is one that not everyone knows about. Property owners are not supposed to put up new fences inside the roadway easement (without permission) or create unsafe or unreasonable impediments to accessing the stream at the bridge. If the creek bank comes within that easement (66' from center line in Wisconsin) you can legally access there, even if there is no bridge.

One land owner in Richland County used to erect criss crossing barb wire over the water next to a bridge to discourage fisherman from wading and canoe & kayak boaters from using the stream. Mother Nature usually wiped that out whenever the stream flooded, but his arrogance was a bit galling. Not a great Trout stream though, so most just avoid fishing there.


-Bill
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NBrevitz  
#8 Posted : Thursday, May 31, 2018 7:26:08 AM(UTC)
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If your feet are wet, you’re legal, end of story. I used to try to be nice, asking for permission, offering to pick up trash, etc. I’ve been burned while legally wading so many times that I just don’t give a shit anymore. “This Valley is shoot first and ask later...”, “Why can’t you just fish the Willow?”, “Isn’t Trout season closed son (in early September)”. I’ve been threatened with Voodoo for god’s sake. I stay in the water and walk up any creek I want, if they wanna give me lip then they’ll end up fined out their rear end, I’m done being nice.
I’m all for landowner rights, but if you disrespect me, I’ll fish your creek every day for a week.
"I fish because I love to: Because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness."
Guillermo  
#9 Posted : Thursday, May 31, 2018 11:41:07 AM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: NBrevitz Go to Quoted Post
If your feet are wet, you’re legal, end of story. I used to try to be nice, asking for permission, offering to pick up trash, etc. I’ve been burned while legally wading so many times that I just don’t give a shit anymore. “This Valley is shoot first and ask later...”, “Why can’t you just fish the Willow?”, “Isn’t Trout season closed son (in early September)”. I’ve been threatened with Voodoo for god’s sake. I stay in the water and walk up any creek I want, if they wanna give me lip then they’ll end up fined out their rear end, I’m done being nice.
I’m all for landowner rights, but if you disrespect me, I’ll fish your creek every day for a week.


You've described my mindset to a tee. I know for a fact some landowners have shot in the direction of folks who were legally wading in public water. They should be careful who they f*** with if ya catch my drift. Might just be they're not the only folks packing...
William Schlafer  
#10 Posted : Friday, June 1, 2018 11:48:22 PM(UTC)
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Took me awhile to find it, but here's a photo a landowner put up in the DA awhile back.

UserPostedImage

Clearly this is a guy you probably wouldn't want to get into a confrontation with. You won't get far arguing stream access laws with him.

But putting up No Trespassing or Posted signs is really not required. All land, not marked as public, should always be considered private property. It's the responsibility of sportsmen to know and obey the rules, and not trespass. Putting up silly signs won't discourage dedicated poachers or others intent on committing criminal activity.

All threats of violence, either direct, or in this case implied, is illegal and should be reported to law enforcement.


-Bill

Edited by user Friday, June 1, 2018 11:48:53 PM(UTC)  | Reason: damned typos!

“You'll never look back on your life and wish you had spent more time in the office." -- Brian Trautman, Captain SV Delos
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