Utah Stream Access


Utah Stream Access Coalition: USAC Website

Winning Battles in the Utah Stream Access War: Click here to read article


Great Read: http://www.sltrib.com/outdoors/ci_14839041

Utah Stream Access Update-www.utahwaterguardians.com

Recreational access to Utah waters on private land
http://wildlife.utah.gov/dwr/?option…238:hb-141#new How the new stream access law will affect anglers
Questions and answers

* What is the new law?
* What does the law prohibit?
* What is trespass?
* What does the law allow?
* What if I encounter an obstacle while floating?
* Where can I access the water if I want to float and fish?
* Where can I fish without obtaining permission?

What is the new law?
This year, the Utah Legislature passed H.B. 141: Recreational Use of Public Water on Private Property. Governor Herbert signed the bill into law, and it will take effect on May 11, 2010. The new law changes the recreational easement recognized in Conatser v. Johnson. This was the Utah Supreme Court decision in 2008 that allowed the public to walk on the private bed of a public waterbody.

What does the law prohibit?

The new law does not allow recreational water users (including anglers, kayakers, tubers, hunters and others) to walk on the private bed of a public waterbody. This means that if you are fishing or recreating in public water that flows over private property closed to trespass, you may not walk on the land beneath the water without obtaining landowner permission.

What is trespass?
To trespass is to enter someone’s property unlawfully. Landowners close their property to trespass by posting a notice or otherwise communicating that access is prohibited. Irrigated pastures, cultivated lands and certain fenced areas are presumed closed to trespass. To review Utah’s trespass laws, see Utah Code Sections 23-20-14, 76-6-206 and 76-6-206.3.

What does the law allow?
The new law allows you to float on the surface of the water, even if you’re floating over private property that is closed to trespass. It also allows you to fish while floating. Your right to float only applies under the following conditions:

* Water volume. The water must have sufficient width, depth and flow to float your vessel.
* Stopping prohibited. You and your vessel must move with the current and not anchor or stop.
* Public water. The water must flow in a natural channel, or it must collect in a natural lake, pond or reservoir on a natural channel.
* Excluded water. The public easement to float does not apply to any of the following waters on private property:
o A jurisdictional wetland (as defined in 33 C.F.R. 328.3)
o An impounded wetland, which means a shallow body of water formed or controlled by a dike, berm or headgate
o A migratory bird production area (as defined in Utah Code Section 23-28-102)

What if I encounter an obstacle while floating?
Your right to float includes the following:

* Incidental touching. You may incidentally touch private property as required for safe passage and continued movement of you and your vessel.
* Portage. You may portage around a dangerous obstruction in the water, as long as you use the most direct route that follows closest to the water.

Where can I access the water to float and fish?
If you want to fish while floating, you must access the water at a lawful access point. This could include a highway right-of-way, public property or private property with written landowner permission.

Where can I fish without obtaining permission?

There are still thousands of places you can fish without obtaining landowner permission.
You do not need permission to:

* Fish while floating over private property.
* Fish on public property where the activity is authorized by the managing agency. This applies to fishing on property owned by the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the DWR and other public agencies.
* Fish on private property that is not closed to trespass.

If possible, try to communicate with landowners before you float over property closed to trespass. It is courteous and always appreciated.
The DWR has also worked with other agencies and private landowners to obtain public access to stretches of the following rivers and streams: Duchesne River, Little Bear River, Ogden River, Provo River (middle section), Salt Creek, Sanpitch River, Spanish Fork River, Strawberry River, Thistle Creek, Weber River and many others. To find a waterbody where you do not need permission to walk the bed, contact the DWR office in the region where you want to fish.
You can also visit the DWR’s Fishing Hotspots, Community Fisheries, Blue Ribbon Fisheries and Walk-in-Access sites to learn about more great places to fish.

*The above information reflects the opinions and interpretations of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife Resources on H.B. 141. The opinions and interpretations presented are not binding on courts, prosecuting attorneys or other law-enforcement agencies. They are provided solely for general information and do not represent legal advice or counsel.


2/23—HB-141 passed the House today 50-25 and is now moving onto the Senate.


  • It is a clear violation of separation of powers, making it in direct contrast to the Utah Constitution Article V Section I and the ideals of our founding fathers.
  • It was done in secret, and the substitute bill came out after it passed committee and was sprung on the House for a quick debate.
  • Approves a political and controversial process of adding waters to a list that can be access by the public and saying what waters can’t be accessed by the public.
  • Negates over 100 years of water law in Utah.
  • Flies in the face of 3 Utah Supreme Court decisions separated by over 70 years declaring and defining the public’s easement in State waters.
  • Refuses to balance two competing constitutional rights, but unconstitutionally disregards one in the favor of the other.

This bill is unconstitutional….PERIOD!

For up-to-date info & links to contact your Senators visit:  www.utahwaterguardians.org


2/22— HB-141 is scheduled to go on the House floor at 10am today, February 23rd- This bill needs to be voted down by our representatives. Update or the results will follow


2/22—HB-80 Fails on the House Floor

Representative Fowlke’s Bill failed to gain the votes need today to pass HB-80 on to the Senate.

HB-80 and its supporters played the right game, stayed true to the right process and unfortunately were out maneuvered by big money and private interests.

Do not let this discourage you, as the fight is far from over. We need to defeat HB-141. This legislation is threat to Utah’s Water Recreation, Utah’s economy and the Constitution.

HB-80 House Floor Debate this MONDAY!!


IF YOU’VE NEVER BEEN TO THE HILL, NOW IS THE TIME.  IF YOU HAVEN’T ENLISTED YOUR FRIENDS.  NOW IS THE TIME. THIS IS IT.  PLEASE MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!!Here we go, this is it everyone, this is why we’ve been working tirelessly around the clock for. We need on last BIG final push in the House of Representatives. I cannot stress enough the importance of reaching out to all the elected officials RIGHT NOW. Please, take 5 minutes out of your day to send a short and sweet email. Even if its a one line sentence staying…Please do not deprive the citizens of Utah of their recreational rights, which rights have been in existence before statehood. Please do the right thing – VOTE YES HB-80! We can do this, please, it takes 5 minutes. Although a personal note is much better, but IF you must, make it easy EASY and copy the above quote, and send to these email addresses the the right ———————————————————————>>> Sincerely,
Bryan Gregson
Utah Water Guardians

Recreational Water user Bill is out!!! –> HB 80

Representative Fowlke released the much anticipated Recreational water Bill today!! The process of this Bill started right after the end of last years session. It involved input from all sides, the DWR and it included the public. This was an ongoing process that lasted though the late Fall. Although, not everyone got exactly what they wanted, all groups on both sides compromised and tried diligently to make this a win-win. Unfortunately, there is always one in the bunch….the FB will not be backing this. They are unwilling to compromise and were set on the language stating “wet-boot” rather than “ordinary high water mark”.

HB 80 –> http://le.utah.gov/~2010/htmdoc/hbillhtm/HB0080.htm

PDF –> http://le.utah.gov/~2010/bills/hbillint/hb0080.pdf

Keep up the good work!

Bryan Gregson




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