River Law

Who Owns the River, Navigability, cutting trees…


So these laws superceed state laws. They are in contradiction to what I have heard for Indiana.

while they superceed state law they do not necessarily apply at riverside. When you are facing an irate landowner who may or may not be holding a 12 ga shotgun the only thing to do is back down.

In Indiana, the definition of “navigable waterway” pertains to rivers that were used for transportation when Indianawas admitted to the union.


You have some nerve.
Introducing fact into a discussion. How dastardly !

In Idaho
If a 6" dia. log can float downstream during high water it’s navigable.

if there is a downed tree across it then the 6" diameter log can’t float down it and you are back to square one !



But even the statutes you linked to state the Federal laws superceed the local so the navigatablity in 1916 is moot. If you can get your boat down it according to federal law it is navigateable…

Thanks guys, nice to know the real story.

nope, intermitent impediments
do not discount navigability.

Thus, the portage was invented.

Doesn’t matter…
For all practical purposes, you’re bound by state law. NORS and others have been posting those statutes all over the place for years, but I guarantee you that if you get arrested for trespass while being on a creek that those statutes say is public water, you’re gonna be found guilty. The problem is that it would probably take a U.S. Supreme Court decision to “ratify” the validity of those laws, since they have not been followed in any state for MANY years. If you have the money to hire a team of crack attorneys and are willing to take it all the way, go for it. Nobody has, so far.

Had a Sheriff tell me once
that if the game warden can bust you for a fishing/trapping violation on the river in question, It’s a public river, and access is allowed to the ‘normal’ high water line. The Game warden can’t bust you for fishing on private water, such as a private pond or lake.