View Full Version : Any Legal Eagles out there

Got Stripers
07-25-2004, 07:53 PM
People who think they own the river, because they happen to have a boat sitting in a slip they happen to be leasing from we the public, really tick me off. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if I launch on a tidal river I can fish right up to the high water mark, regardless of whether it's in or around boats on moorings or slips? This assumes I'm not bouncing jigs off boats or snagging helpless women and children, taking extreme care to be mindfull of personal property. I would love to get a copy of the law that governs this, so if anyone has done any research on this, I'd love to have a copy with me the next time. Oh there will be a next time, I'm just going to have to force this issue.

Outboard decided to take the day off, so I decided to make lemonade with the lemon. Put the trolling motor down and proceeded to catch about 25 schoolies from a certain set of floats I know holds a ton of bait. Then when the tide started to slow, I jigged up about 4 live hickory shad for the livewell. The local Yacht Club guy on duty, didn't like the fact I refused to move out of the area and must have called me in. So just after I put a 25 lber in the well that pounced on the hickory (sometimes lemonade ain't bad:)) a few hundreds yards further up river, I was pulled over by the harbormaster.

After he suggested further complaints will likely lead to me getting written up, I got a bit of an attitude with him, which almost accellerated that process. It wasn't the best day and I was ticked that people who assume they own the river, could make it worse than it already was.

Didn't I lock my keys in the truck with it running after pulling the boat, only to have to wait 1-1/2 hours for AAA to pop the door. Yeah, I guess I should have stayed in bed. Still, fish was good for diner, but now I have to play the when get the mechanic get me in to look at the outboard game.....hate that game.

Anyway, if anyone knows where I can put my hands on the law that applies, I'd love to mail a copy to the owner of the yacht club for some casual reading.

07-25-2004, 09:12 PM
Is it M#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&chusetts ?

If it is then it is MEAN LOW WATER where the property line terminates.

07-25-2004, 09:20 PM
Originally posted by beachwalker
Is it M#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&#^&chusetts ?

If it is then it is MEAN LOW WATER where the property line terminates.

same in rhode island.

Mike P
07-25-2004, 10:17 PM
Whoa, guys. There's a difference in the law between littoral property rights (ocean, bay, and so on) and riparian (river water) property rights. It differs from state to state. The fact that the river is tidal may or may not make a difference. It is possible in many states for a riverfront property owner to actually own the water.

Check with a local attorney to be on the safe side.

07-25-2004, 10:43 PM
if I launch on a tidal river I can fish right up to the high water mark
Not so in CT

07-25-2004, 10:52 PM
Mike is right ( as I assume he knows what he's talking about).

I kind of figured you were in a river that was close to the sea. Yacht Clubs, Bass, uptight home owners :smash: figures.......

yes, ask a local attorney. I know from my brief studies that this is a CIVIL issue and that is the branch of law you should approach. I also gotta say that if it occurred in the Mid-Atlantic Bight region (South Cape Cod to NC) then the tidal change is between 2 and 4'. That would mean there isn't much distance between the high and low water marks.

Regardless, you have every right to be in the sea, in a boat fishing the edge like that. I am pretty sure the law is in place to protect the land that the LANDOWNER owns and not any abutting waterways within reason. Were you ON his LAND ?

DOesn't sound like it.

Were you playing LOUD music, littering, etc. ?

Doesn't sound like it.

:smash: whiners suck.....

bummer about the keys. been through that. don't leave home without my hide-a-key. :D

07-25-2004, 11:16 PM
Originally posted by Got Stripers
Put the trolling motor down and proceeded to catch about 25 schoolies from a certain set of floats I know holds a ton of bait.

If you got out of your boat and fished off the dock, you were tresspassing on private property. If you were in your boat amongst the docks, I believe you should be o.k.

The yacht club doesnt own the water, but they own the docks.

07-26-2004, 12:05 AM
I own the land from my backyard, across the tidal river to the island behind our house. We dont own the water, but own whatevers under there. Legally, if you got out of your boat and stood in the river, I believe it would be trespassing

07-26-2004, 07:33 AM
Just to add anther layer of complexity to Mike P.'s solid comment. You do have a right to navigate the navigable waters of the U.S., so evern though someone might own the river bottom thay can't stop you form navigating in the river. Now what's unclear is whether or not fishing is "navigating." If I had to guess I'd say you're probably allright as long as your trolling, but may have a problem if you drift and definately have a problem if you anchor.

07-26-2004, 07:36 AM
Rhode Island is private to MHHW not MLLW, Mass and Maine are low water states, RI is not...

07-26-2004, 10:58 AM
That is ridiculous that people have to act that way. It reminds me of a-holes that think they own a breachway.

07-26-2004, 01:34 PM
Save your $$ and post the lat and long monthly, it'll be endless revenge.

07-26-2004, 02:37 PM

Got Stripers
07-26-2004, 07:31 PM
To clarify, I was in my boat, using my electric trolling motor to get around, never stepped on a dock and no I didn't even cast on one...I'm too damn good for that. I could hit the 12 x 12 feeding slots the bass were busting in that were right up next to the floats, but I never had to go unsnag a jig or anything. Later as the tide slacked I was actually just vertical jigging and never even casted into water around boats.

I also cast into empty slips and not around boats, being a boater myself, it's just bad manors to be bouncing jigs off someone else's boat. There have been occassions where the wind took a cast and wrapped my jig around the line connecting the pillings on the inside and outside, still I use the trolling motor to pull close and never have to get on their floats to free the snag.

I don't want to go finance a legal search, to maybe avoid having a citation issued, but was hoping someone might have had to actually do the research out of necessity for a similar matter. Money talks and we pour bastards must walk, short of dipping into some unknown account (winning powerball numbers can be forwarded via email hehe), what are your options. Stop fishing in a good spot to nail a few bass and a nice supply of good live bait, or risk a court date down the road or further hastle by the local authorities.

I was hoping to find something I might mail on through channels to get people thinking before they make that next call.

Thanks for the replies anyway. I figured I'm in the right, only need to get written up and spend money to prove it, lucky me.

Surely Bassey
07-26-2004, 09:03 PM
If all else fails it sounds like a good spot to burn... :)

07-28-2004, 09:27 AM
That is 2 responses that want to burn the spot:confused: :smash: There is no reason whatsoever to burn his spot, that will only exaspirate the situation.

I don't know if this will help but read this

07-28-2004, 10:18 AM
If I were you I would print out that piece that Slip osted the link to and carry it with me everytime I fished that spot. It looks to me like you have every right to be there.

Mr. Sandman
07-28-2004, 10:37 AM
post the gps coord's and we'll check it out for you...:D

schoolie monster
07-28-2004, 12:58 PM
Likewise, in posting signs and taking other steps to identify their private property, coastal landowners should not attempt to discourage the public from using the water's edge to the full extent allowable by law.

That sentence sounds fairly clear.

They are breaking the law by discouraging you to fish there. I think harbormasters have the residents interests in mind rather than the law. Throwing the law at them should shut them up.

The only question is what they consider the river... the river is tidal, but it doesn't specify.

That's a pretty high maintenance area down there Bob... way too many problems with the locals.

Got Stripers
07-31-2004, 02:12 PM
Spoke to the head harbormaster and even gave him a copy of the artical Slip posted, anyone want to guess how much weight that carried:(. He's a nice enough guy and I told him I'm all for avoiding confrontation and I wanted to know how far they would go if pressed by the privates, never really got a fair answer. What I'd like to know is if the state licensed operation, which is exactly what they have there, includes the water between the islands of slips. Either way, I'm guessing they will report me every time I'm in between their floats, anyone know a marine lawyer or DEP officer I could get an unofficial but likely good opinion on this?

08-01-2004, 07:31 AM
the interesting thing about all this is that after labor day no one will complain AT ALL.

doesn't do you any good now.

good luck:)