MN and MI rivers public access

It’s my understanding that Wisconsin rivers and streams are open to public access as long as it can be paddled , whereas in Illinois if a landowner owns both sides of a stream then it can be posted as no trespassing. What is the situation in Minnesota and Michigan?

Basically if you can float a log in it, it’s considered a navigable waterway and the public has a right to be there and up to the high water mark. Now if it’s fenced off, you still have the right to be there, but it’s up to you whether or not you want to take it up with the business end of a shotgun; being in the right doesn’t make you invincible…food for thought.


MI river rights
Michigan provides lots of public access points to rivers and lakes. Longshadow is right about river rights in MI. But I thought that Michigan’s case about river navigability (during the logging days here) went to the Supreme Court and so that should be the case in all the states. Maybe I’m wrong, but even if it was to Federal District Court, I think that covers Illinois. Can anyone else clarify this?

MN stream rights
Minnesota river laws/rights are basically the same as Wisconsin. The federal law states that all water (lakes & streams) are public as long as there is public access to them. In Minnesota as long as there is a public road abutting a body of water (usually a bridge) you have access to the stream. There is usually sufficient room on either side of a road by a bridge to carry your canoe/kayak to the stream. Check out:

The definition of “navigable” is
disputed in IL. Public access is not even a sure thing at some public access sites. Several groups are continuing to work on the situation.

Some Michigan property rights …
Here is some info:

David in Niles

One thing to remember in MI
The state owns the bottom of all navigatable water ways, but the access to the water way may be privately owned.

Now, that said, the state ALSO owns the land within 30 feet of the center of all roads… so if your river HAPPENS to be crossed by a bridge, you have 30feet from the center of that road to gain access legally.

1foot over mind you though is trespassing. Also, its always a good idea to keep a copy of the applicable laws in a laminated sheet on your person when doing these things. I used to fly fish a lot, and found it quite handy.