Private land

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by 10incher, Jun 25, 2013.

  1. 10incher

    10incher Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    92
    Location:
    Coupeville, Washington
    Ordinarily, when scouting, I would just go and see what happens. Like a dog on walkabout. But suppose you were travelling far enough that you need to budget your fuel expenses, time away from responsibilities, etc. I've always found private land by coming to a locked gate or posted sign. But in Ca. I was close to home, so no big deal. Any tips on locating private land BEFORE driving three hours one way just to find out I won't even be fishing?
     
  2. SteveA

    SteveA Gnu to the board

    Joined:
    May 23, 2006
    Messages:
    300
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Western WA
    Maps and online research. If there is another way I don't know what it is.

    Update: I just thought of another way. If the area you are interested in is near National Forest land call the Forest Service for details. They have generally been pretty helpful to me.
     
  3. fly-by

    fly-by Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    33
    Location:
    Tangled in the Pines
    Most counties have some kind of online GIS that allows you to determine the ownership of a given parcel. e.g. Snohomish county has "SCOPI"
     
  4. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Messages:
    8,639
    Likes Received:
    2,990
    Location:
    Your City ,State
    Knowing where private land is and isn't hasn't been that much of a factor in my fishing. Posted private land, however, is. I don't know of a way to learn whether private land is off limits to access before going somewhere new until I get there or from asking around on internet sites like this one.

    Sg
     
  5. 10incher

    10incher Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    92
    Location:
    Coupeville, Washington
    Wow! That was sure fast. I'm asking because I've never actually had to do it. Info on just calling forestry and accessing SCOPI is great. I thought someone might already have a method dialed. You don't get anything if you don't ask, right? So I'll look into it. Starting with the above suggestions. If I find any good ways to access private land ownership records I'll post links.
     
  6. When in doubt just walk in the stream. I believe if the river is so called navigable you can walk as high as the flood line or something like that. Don't quote me on that though I may be wrong. I have never been yelled at in the river only on the bank in transit to a next spot. If your respectful and dont piss shit and throw trash on the river a lot time people will just talk to you and explain your on there property line kindly. I have even met people this way that allow access via there property with quick number swap and a bottle of Pendleton or beer of there choice
     
  7. Darryl Pahl

    Darryl Pahl Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    131
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    In urban settings you can check out real estate engines like Zillow.com. Haven't used them for rural areas. But sometimes you can find interesting anomalies like public street ends or alleys based on their unofficial property lines.
     
    10incher likes this.
  8. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Messages:
    7,168
    Likes Received:
    1,257
    Location:
    Not sure
    The only problem with that strategy is that some landowners are convinced that they don't want anybody on their land, no matter what. They aren't interested in quibbling over the nuances of terms like navigable waterway, mean high-water mark or public right of way. Instead of debating the finer points of law, you might end up looking down the business end of somebody's large-bore handgun.

    Compounding all this is the fact that some states (I'm thinking Montana and Colorado for instance) allow ownership of land adjacent to waterways and calculate the boundary out to the actual middle of the stream, not to the mean high water mark.

    K
     
  9. Flyborg

    Flyborg Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2006
    Messages:
    2,384
    Likes Received:
    666
    Location:
    Kalama, WA
    Technically correct--the Shoreline Management Act governs any flowing water in the state over (I believe) 20cfs...so it's pretty much all of them. Counties were given the option to opt out certain waters. There's a list on the Dept. of Ecology's website somewhere. The act creates a public easement up to the Ordinary High Water Mark.

    But--law enforcement are very uneducated when it comes to the SMA, and the law is old and has grey areas that haven't been fully established in case law. I've talked to local sheriffs that claim they've kicked people out of the Kalama because there are some landowners who have the river bed deeded. Similarly, there's a small stream here in Vancouver where the sheriffs regularly kick people out of the river who are legally fishing.

    We haven't reached the point that Montana and Utah have where their water rights are being challenged by Real Estate developers and landowners with deep money. We will eventually. When it happens, it's a dice roll on where anglers land in a fight that will take time and money. In the meantime, I advise people to treat landowners with as much respect as possible, don't litter, and education before confrontation.
     
    The Duke likes this.
  10. alpinetrout

    alpinetrout Banned or Parked

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    Messages:
    3,980
    Likes Received:
    182
    Location:
    Hiding in your closet
  11. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast la flama blanca

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Messages:
    1,830
    Likes Received:
    492
    Location:
    western WA
    Google the county assessor's website for the county in question. That's where you'll find their online property map if they have one.
     
    10incher likes this.
  12. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,828
    Likes Received:
    1,326
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Minor correction, Kent. Colorado and Wyoming permit landowners to 'own' the streambed, but not Montana. Montana has the most public friendly stream access laws of any state (in this part of the world, at least). If you can access a stream legally, you can wade/walk past private land, as long as you stay below mean high water mark.
    D
     
  13. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Messages:
    7,168
    Likes Received:
    1,257
    Location:
    Not sure
    Thanks Dick. I knew it was one of them.

    K
     
  14. 10incher

    10incher Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2009
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    92
    Location:
    Coupeville, Washington
    California is the same in most cases. It's a little spotty and you need to check specifics for the water you'll be on. But it's usually "navigable waters" and "high water mark". People do get a little funny when they see you fishing through their backyard though! Most DO think they own the streambed. I've seen dams, bridges, rock walls and wading pools. Anything that may impede fish passage gets called in and disappears PDQ. I carried a copy of the access laws in my vest just to settle disputes peaceably.
     
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  15. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    2,226
    Likes Received:
    530
    Location:
    Mill Creek, WA
    Home Page:
    Some of the very best creek fishing that I've ever done has been the result of driving to a house on a sweet looking stretch (the big house, if there's more than one), knocking on the door, and politely asking permission to fish the creek. I always give them the assurance that I won't trample vegetation, won't litter, and will even pick up any if I see it. This has gone well, often, and other times not so well. Heck, I've been scouting water on certain creeks, and as a result of this method had hour plus chats with the land owners who told me about two or three other awesome creeks, and then let me fish their stretch. They'll also tell you things like, "yeah, Bob Williams (made up name) owns the next mile upstream and you can talk to him he'll probly let you fish, but don't bother asking the old crab downstream of me... oh and watch out for my cattle if you see em some of em are longhorns and they can be pretty ornery..." Good times!