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Thread: Montana Stream Access (again)

  1. #1
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    Default Montana Stream Access (again)

    http://billingsgazette.com/news/stat...e38e64b45.html

    Wasn't planning to be in Bozeman on Monday, but plans may change. Seyler Lane Bridge, Mitchell Slough, choose your poison; Messrs Kennedy, Schwab, Lewis have the patience and wherewithal (money and the legal muscle it buys) to keep hammering away.

    Regards,
    Scott

  2. #2
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    The US Supreme court was more than willing to step in for PPL against the state's claim to legal standard limits of navigability/streambed ownership so, although a different situation, precedence against Montana stream access has already been set. I certainly hope your optimism is justified.

    Regards,
    Scott

  3. #3

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    Sounds like laws there are similar to Kansas. Next these elitist snobs will go after their airspace.
    Sometimes the other ones go away, but I'm always right here.

  4. #4
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    It is "stuff" like this, that gives Montana a "black eye" for fly fishermen! Of all the times, over the years, that I have contemplated making a trip to Montana to fish the great streams, I now no longer am interested. The elitist can have it and I hope I am still around when their "come around" comes. Maybe if the State stops stocking the streams affected, the desire to go to those streams will no longer exist and the owners can have them or better yet, just give the whole State to them. : (
    Warren
    Fly fishing and fly tying are two things that I do, and when I am doing them, they are the only 2 things I think about. They clear my mind.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottP View Post
    precedence against Montana stream access has already been set.
    Shouldn't have said stream access, it's more of who owns the stream bottom in rivers determined to navigable; e.g. in states like Wyoming and Colorado (and many others), the landowner also controls the riverbed so fishermen can float & fish private water but not touch bottom (there are some places, like portions of the Jackson River in VA, where even that is in dispute/ongoing litigation).

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottP View Post
    although a different situation
    Like I said, the 2 cases are different and I appreciate the detail you provided, but I was just trying to make the point that the US Supreme Court has intervened before (and recently) against the state regarding ownership of the stream bottom and navigability, keys to defining what water is available to the fisherman under Montana's enlightened stream access law
    Businessmen like Kennedy and Schwab didn't get where they are by taking "No" for an answer; I'm sure Kennedy has appeals lined up out the door if the Montana Supreme court decides against him (2 months, I think, for a decision).

    Regards,
    Scott

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    Interesting John.
    I fished the "way upper" Ruby two summers ago. I drove past all the great looking water due to the frequent postings of "No Tresspassing" and "Private Property".

    I went way up to near the top where it was public.

    The stream, at that point, was tiny and so were the fish!

    It really hurt to drive back down the road into Enis and not be able to fish the good looking water which was marked "private".

    It's all an age-old problem.

    And, if one thinks water access is complicated, water rights tend to be even more complicated. Historically, I would say the case law tended to lean to property owners in both cases.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnScott View Post
    It seems possible that the Montana Supreme Court would find that recreational access is not permitted at the presciptive easement crossing and that recreational access is permitted at the bridges on county roads.
    Agreed; probably the likely outcome. Considering there used to be very, very limited access to the river, the 5 FWP sites below the dam, and the county road crossings provide fishermen the ability to get on a good bit of water. I guess those who are willing to pay to play can fish other stretches, too; this scenario is pretty popular down on the Red Rock River (another with very limited access and landowners who prefer to keep it that way) below Lima Dam, as well.
    I do know that when I fish the Ruby, I keep to the streambed; too many instances of folks who thought they were below the high water mark being greeted by zealous landowners/ranch managers who are more than happy to show them the error of their way. Whether they were within the legal margin, the hassle just isn't worth it when there's so much other good water to fish (unless one is out to prove a point and enjoys the confrontation).

    Regards,
    Scott

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