Stream access law, pissed off owner at me.

Discussion in 'FlyTyingForums.com, Fly Tying, Trout Fishing' started by TrentDen, May 13, 2018.

  1. TrentDen

    TrentDen

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's a long story but ill keep it short.

    I fished a stream in NW michigan tonight. This stream has a ton of fisherman, it is well known, and it has been declared that it was navigable.

    So, I drove to the bridge ,walked down river and started fishing. I was unaware of Michigan laws, I am a transplant trout hunter from Montana, and I thought the High water mark was the legal access, so I was walking the bank, where the grass was clearly pushed down from the spring floods, and I thought the few feet on the low side of the river were always allowed to walk through while respecting the land owner.

    Dude shows up, clicking photos, threatening to call the state cops, yata yata. We argue about it. I again, thought the high water mark was legal, and he told me to stay in the stream. After we both calmed down, I kept fishing, while staying in the water. I was fishing streamers downriver...but my question is, when I walk back, don't I have a legal right to walk along the stream on the bank, as walking up river, with the force of the water, and exhaustion could be considered a hazard.

    At the end of the arguing with the dude, he started yelling that, the DNR is a joke, they took his land, when he bought his house it said private river, then ten years ago things changed, and now he is fighting the DNR that they took his land and they haven't re paid him for anything. I don't know, just seemed weird, and I didn't know who was in the right/wrong.

    That being said, I hooked a MONSTER brown trout, and screw the guy, I pay tons of taxes in the same county running the old family farm, and this stream is 15 mins from the house, and it is perfect for me to get on for an hour or two a week.

    Any help is awesome, thanks guys!
     
  2. mbirdsley

    mbirdsley

    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    481
    Location:
    Chesaning/Brant
    I could be wrong but, it Sounds like you were in the right. You are allowed to the high water mark on streams deemed navigable. If there is an obstruction that prevents safe wading you are allowed to go around the obstruction if it is past the high water mark as long as you get back in as soon as possible. Sounds like he just had a ax to grind.
     
    Nostromo likes this.

  3. TrentDen

    TrentDen

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know i'm not wrong, and I had rights to the water, in the water. But my question was, is the bank, where the water was during high water considered the bank?

    He sat and watched me the whole time, and made sure I didn't "cut" through his property to the road and to stay in the stream because it curved so much it added like a mile, instead of cutting through his land a quarter mile. I don't mind walking along the stream the distance, to me, it just seems safer to have a wade angler walk along the bank up river, right next to the stream, then trudge up through the river. First off I am making such a loud noise, why would you want that when you could be sneaking along the bank, and second, isn't it a hazard to force an angler to walk up stream along these Michigan rivers. Every 10 feet is a log, or a deep sand hole and before you know it you are now trying to climb up and down, up and down, 2-3 foot high grass banks...I just want to have more info next time I go back.
     
  4. -Axiom-

    -Axiom-

    Messages:
    1,880
    Likes Received:
    716
    Location:
    Traverse City

    You need to stay in the water as much as reasonably possible and you can use the banks to navigate a hazard, re-entering the water as soon as reasonably possible.

    Log jams and deep bends are an example of a hazard, there are many variations on the theme.

    People that own land on our rivers know all this and the vast majority have no issues but there are some special people out there and it's just impossible to disagree with them...

    There is a guy that lives by a Pine river bridge that seems to think these riparian laws don't apply to his little fiefdom...
     
  5. hitechman

    hitechman Michimaniac

    Messages:
    4,530
    Likes Received:
    1,141
    Location:
    Saint Louis (MI)
    -Axiom- likes this.
  6. TrentDen

    TrentDen

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the post, I am just curious on everyone's thought about walking back up river...isn't it safer to have the angler walk along the bank hugging the river, then walking in the river up current?
     
  7. Lightfoot

    Lightfoot

    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    151
    Safer, maybe or maybe not but certainly more effort. Granted, that wouldn't make it right. I don't know the Mi law on waterways for fishermen. I've read about it on a few threads on the forum but don't recall specifics. A search should give you the answers your looking for.

    On small streams I usually work up river, but I've never been a streamer guy. On bigger water when I chuck and duck, I'm all over the place.
     
  8. -Axiom-

    -Axiom-

    Messages:
    1,880
    Likes Received:
    716
    Location:
    Traverse City

    Doesn't matter about level of difficulty if you are on private land you are to stay in the water only to leave the water to get around an obstruction and then immediately return to the water.

    There is an angler harassment law also if some jerk is getting out of line, If this is the case the local LEO's probably already know about him/her.
     
  9. -Axiom-

    -Axiom-

    Messages:
    1,880
    Likes Received:
    716
    Location:
    Traverse City

    Ne-Bo-Shone is quite a ways upstream of Peterson bridge, most if not all the land downstream of Peterson bridge is State/Federal.
     
  10. ESOX

    ESOX Staff Member Super Mod Mods

    Messages:
    33,712
    Likes Received:
    9,047
    Location:
    The D, MI
    Having a bunch of traffic right on the banks creates big problems with killing ground cover and the subsequent erosion and siltation issues. I have a buddy who owns a very substantial bit of frontage on a well known river. Had TU and others come and do a lot of of erosion control work.He provided steps in and out and trails away from the waters edge for people to use. Put up signs indicating where the ingress and egress points are. Still cant keep the snaggers from using his land as a liquor bottle and litter dump, lighting ground fires on his land, and running up and down the banks. People suck.
     
  11. MickL

    MickL

    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    Brighton, MI
    This thread has some good info:
    Navigability and Tresspass on Streams in Michigan
    A discussion of the dividing line between stream and bank is in the link that's provided in the first post of that thread (last paragraph of p. 21 and the first half of p. 22).
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  12. hitechman

    hitechman Michimaniac

    Messages:
    4,530
    Likes Received:
    1,141
    Location:
    Saint Louis (MI)
    I'm well aware of that, but the historical marker is on the north side of the river at Peterson Bridge, bolted to a stone. It reads, "In April 1926, speaking for the majority, Justice John S. McDonald wrote, “So long as water flows and fish swim in Pine River, the people may fish at their pleasure in any part of the stream subject to the restraints and regulations imposed by the state.”

    I was there that summer day in 1988 as they chiseled a spot for the plaque on the rock.....they mounted it later that day.

    The only reason I brought this up is that it commemorates the courts decision in 1926 on the rights of people using a river where both sides are private property.....that rule of law is still in force today for rivers deemed "navigable." This was the case that allowed boaters and fishermen to "use" the river/river bottoms of navigable rivers in this state.

    Judge Hal Cutler wrote a book in 1917 titled "The Ne-Bo-Shone." I have a copy of that book. Hal was a lawyer and Circuit Court Judge in Ludington, MI. 1922 to 1935.

    I have passed the sign pictured many times in the 1950's -1970's.

    a.PNG

    Steve
     
    -Axiom- likes this.
  13. -Axiom-

    -Axiom-

    Messages:
    1,880
    Likes Received:
    716
    Location:
    Traverse City

    I didn't know about the plaque, I'm going to check that out the next time I am down there.
     
  14. Shoeman

    Shoeman Mods

    Messages:
    13,887
    Likes Received:
    2,568
    Location:
    Between a Sandbar and a Weed Bed

    That!

    Safer or easier does not come into this equation! On land you're trespassing (unless going around an obstruction like mentioned above)

    Funny story though (some of you old time M-S'ers have heard this before) :whistle:

    So I was wading this well-known private stretch when I came across one of the members smoking his pipe waiting for a hatch to come off. I got out of the stream in order walk around his hole.

    Hey! This is private property!!!! Ok, you want me to wade through your hole? Well...ah.. don't make a habit of it! LMAO
     
    Waif, TriggerDiscipline and ESOX like this.
  15. strmanglr

    strmanglr

    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    42
    I keep the DNR office numbers in my phone.

    When someone threatens to call the police or anyone else and I Know I'm in the right, I offer to make the call. I say, "did you want me to call DNR for you harassing me? I got their number right here for the office closest by, btw, what's your name?"

    That usually calms people right down.

    I always try to calmly explain how I am in the right and not raise my voice. Avoid arguments as much as possible.

    Had a guy complain to me about parking across from his house. I was completely off the road and legal. I told him I rarely park there and only did so because of the snow. I would park closer when I can, but if I can't, that's my spot. I could have went off, but there was no need.
     
    Liver and Onions likes this.