Question came up, and I thought I would share the short answer. Keep in mind I am not an Attorney, and I don't want to hear about your ticket. But I boldly go where I believe I legally can. 1. The Federal law/common law regulates the use of Navigable waterways. 2. Supreme's ruled (in 1870), that any water that is navigable in practice, is navigable in law. That (specifically noted in the ruling I believe) includes floating a log down the river. Raft, boat whatever. Includes having to ford short distances across land to avoid obstructions. This does NOT mean you can trespass to get around an obstruction, only that the water remains navigable. In Idaho for example, the law allows you to cross private property to get around an obstruction. In WA and OR, the law does not allow this, generally. 3. Supremes affirmed that navigable waters, up to the Ordinary High Water Mark, are held in trust by states for the people. The state cannot sell or transfer these rights. It is irrelevant whom has property title to land under a navigable water way. The 1870 ruling, and later one in 1996 simply affirmed that (flowing from common law) the property was never transferrable, not since the formation of the United States. In short, if you can float down it in any kind of boat (toon, raft, log, etc.) the water is navigable, by federal law. If it is navigable, then you have access up to the OHWM. You must legally access the channel (where public land intersects the access).