In my spare time at work I enjoy browsing Google maps looking for new places to canoe/kayak around my state. I have a quick question...how is a waterway defined? In other words, I know the Mississippi river, or any other major waterway in my area is open to public navigation. But, I see many smaller streams that seem to flow through, or very near private properties, i.e. farms, nice homes on multiple acre lots, etc.
Anyway, where is it defined what a private waterway is compared to a public one? Does a property owner actually "own" a waterway through his property?
Does the waterway have to be defined as navigable to be open to public traffic? Is it legal for you to be on the water, yet considered trespassing if you step out onto the bank? I guess it varies from state to state, but wondering if there was a basic rule of thumb.