Who owns the rivers
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Posted on Sunday Nov 25, 2012 at 12:54 PM  

I fished the lower Illinois Friday below the Watts area and met a land owner who said he owned the river bottom. There is much miss-infomation on this subject where do we actually find the laws the cover this subject? I do not like to unknowingly trespass and I believe many of us do...
Posted on Sunday Nov 25, 2012 at 2:07 PM  
Land owner might be right, seems, if memory serves me correctly, that land owners do own stream beds in Oklahoma. Then there's the navigable business where they aren't suppose to fence off a stream that is navigable, but seems that deal isn't well defined and causes problems. For the most part, if you're in a boat and don't anchor it, or beach it, you're good...if you're hoofing it, there could be problems.

I looked into this deal several years ago for some reason or another, but Kurt might have some better information for you.
Posted on Sunday Nov 25, 2012 at 3:07 PM  
The landowner owns to the river centerline on most OKIE rivers. If you can float a boat on such owned sections if you TOUCH bottom, anchor up, or any banks you can be cited for trespass.

It DEPENDS on local law enforcement on how its been enforced in the past, and some DEEDS do not specify to the center of the river - otherwise its implied. Most landowners in Oklahoma don't enforce their rights in this regard.

I work this stuff everyday with pipeline survey --

The Indians have sued the state in Federal Court several times over the navigation channels for just such rights.

The STATE owns all surface water = else you couldn't kayak down most floatable -non-navigable waterways.
Those who would give up constitutional freedoms to elected officials in exchange for a false sense of security, deserve neither freedom or security.
Posted on Monday Nov 26, 2012 at 9:31 AM  
Landowners do own the "land" under the water (the streambed). If you float in a watercraft over such ground, you are legal. Anchoring, wading, or otherwise touching the streambed can be deemed trespass. As long as you remain in a boat floating on the water you are fine.
Posted on Monday Nov 26, 2012 at 10:08 AM  
Interesting. I always thought Corp property up to the flood level was fair game
Posted on Monday Nov 26, 2012 at 10:35 AM  
US Army Corps property is a bit different since a lot of it is public access. My interpretation of the problem was that a private land owner (no public access) wanted to keep folks off his/her property, which happens to be under a stream.
Posted on Monday Nov 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM  
That brings up a question I had about river access on the Lower Illinois. I'm not sure you can answer Kurt but maybe you know someone. Down below the Watt's area is a road that used to lead to the river. The gravelpit plant at the end of it got tired of folks coming in so they blocked the road off where you can't drive to the end and access the river. I didn't think you could block off a county road like that?
Posted on Monday Nov 26, 2012 at 12:43 PM  
You would have to ask the local game wardens for the REAL answer. I am always confused about a similar situation out at Black Kettle WMA. There are several units that are totally land-locked (surrounded on all sides by private land), so how does a hunter access those units? I guess you could skydive in or use a helicopter. The oil/energy companies have access through their own roads to well sites, but lock gates to prevent hunter access. What good is an entire section of public land if the public cannot access it?

I know which road you are talking about (going to the gravel plant). The only public access I am certain of is the new Watts WMA. Try asking warden Jeremy Bersche 918-431-2550
Posted on Monday Nov 26, 2012 at 10:34 PM  
I think you can still access the river off moonshine road. East 1000 goes straight to the river directly across from the gravel pits. That's where they stock the trout. Also, there used to be access below the gravel pits. I think it used to be the Haney place and I think it's still open. I'm really surprised someone played the trespassing card down there. I grew up in Gore and all the landowners were very generous with hunting and fishing access. Times are changin....
Posted on Tuesday Nov 27, 2012 at 7:59 AM  
fishonn7..Would agree that times are changin! Landowners are tired of drugs and all the monkey business they bring. Maybe?
Posted on Tuesday Nov 27, 2012 at 8:17 AM  
I don't think the author of this question was run off if I read this right on another site. He just happened to meet the owner who was also a fly-fisherman.
Posted on Tuesday Nov 27, 2012 at 1:11 PM  
Originally posted by KukODWC

Try asking warden Jeremy Bersche 918-431-2550

Jeremy is or was a notebooker for a long time. I can't remember his handle on here (maybe jerkbait45?), but he fished a few jackpots here in Stillwater with us while he was going to school at OSU.

Posted on Tuesday Nov 27, 2012 at 2:05 PM  
Yeah, then after OSU he was hired on at my office as a fish technician. We lost him to the law enforcement division of ODWC about 2 years ago. Great young man and a very good angler. Not surprisingly, he is now a very good game warden in Sequoyah County.
Posted on Tuesday Nov 27, 2012 at 2:13 PM  
Only met him a few times and chatted with him on here. He was a nice guy and a good fisherman. Glad to hear he is doing well and working for the state.
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