Sauk River Rules

Cruik

WFF Supporter
Is the Sauk considered a navigable waterway? I ask because it seems like they can regulate propulsion on lakes, which if small enough I assume are not considered navigable waters? I know navigable waters fall under USCG jurisdiction in some regard.

lol I don’t know what I’m talking about

Absolutely. There's waterways that are a tiny fraction of the size of the Sauk that are navigable and are thus "waters of the United States."

My understanding was similar to Salmo_g's, except that I thought it was more a question of federal pre-emption than County vs. State purview. As a navigable waterway, I think the Sauk would be one of the "waters of the united states" and prohibiting travel would probably be an infringement on the right to "freedom of movement" under the Privileges and Immunities clause of the constitution. The state, under the 10th amendment, would get a carveout for "police powers" (public health/safety/welfare) which would probably allow closing a river to navigation or specifying allowable modes of transportation for safety reasons, but probably not for fishing reasons.

Edit: yeah, riverrun's right. It's right there in the definition for "Internal Combustion Motors Prohibited" that it actually means "no fishing from boat equipped with internal combustion motor." I wouldn't have thought a phrase like that would get a definition. Seems like the fine-print really changes the common-sense reading.
 
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GOTY

9x Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
Go to the definition section and read the section on Internal Combustion Engines. Your answer is there. As long as you're not fishing from a boat equipped with an ICE it is legal.

That ignores the old and long standing etiquette-flow, angler pressure, and upstream boundaries being critical. Not many days this season that you'd be able to defend yourself this season, so far.

RR

Bingo

Screenshot_20210303-213235.png
 

bk paige

Wishin I was on the Sauk
I have seen Farrar above White Creek before. Then there was the time that skagiteer from Oregon launched his sled at the Brinnon briged and went up river into the Sauk reservation.We ran into him at Beaver flats, D]ragons tooth, and Otters. When DeLeon and I got back to the launch all his tires were flat. The locals know how to deal with that!
 

riverrun

Active Member
I have seen Farrar above White Creek before. Then there was the time that skagiteer from Oregon launched his sled at the Brinnon briged and went up river into the Sauk reservation.We ran into him at Beaver flats, D]ragons tooth, and Otters. When DeLeon and I got back to the launch all his tires were flat. The locals know how to deal with that!
It was not just John that ran a sled in the Sauk and it important to emphasize that history should serve no precedent here. Times have changed. Fewer fish, more people, and hopefully more common sense and presence.
 

skyriver

Active Member
Ah, the nice hum of a jet right when you get to the sweet spot of the run.... Just because it's legal doesn't mean it's cool. Especially with drift boats coming down and as busy as it sounds like it has been.
I saw a lot of close calls on the Sky in the 90's (including me and my neighbor in his little 15' sportcar of a sled) and it has way more room than the Sauk.
 

bhudda

heffe'
There are a few from WFF that have run sleds up the Sauk, I always run into them at hippie hole. I won’t name names as it doesn’t matter anyway :)
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
Is the Sauk considered a navigable waterway? I ask because it seems like they can regulate propulsion on lakes, which if small enough I assume are not considered navigable waters? I know navigable waters fall under USCG jurisdiction in some regard.

lol I don’t know what I’m talking about
There are two legal terms regarding navigable water that I know of. There are federally designated navigable waters, and the US Coast Guard has jurisdiction there. These are typically large major waterways used for heavy commerce, like the Columbia, Willamette, lower Cowlitz, lower Skagit, and many, many more. Then there is legal navigability that covers public access and use. I'd have to look up the SCOTUS decision that reads, "If it's navigable in fact, it's navigable in law." Any stream that can float an 8" diameter by 48" long saw log meets this navigability. So creeks and rivers that can be canoed or kayaked are navigable in law. This matters in terms of fishing access. However, a number of states like Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, and likely a bunch of others violate it routinely because no one who wants to challenge it can afford to, and those who want to keep things the way they are have the money and the politics on their side.

The upshot is that the Sauk and most of its tributaries are navigable in law but are not federally designated waterways.
 

Smalma

Active Member
As Salmo g posted WDFW has only the authority to regulate the time, place and manner of how we fish but not how we get to the "hippie bar".

The history of the fishing from boats equipped with motors on the Sauk goes back at least in the 1970s. Such restriction has always had a spilt interest and has come a gone as various folks lobbied for their interest. There was a period in the 1980s that one could have fished from a motor boat on the Sauk during the general season but not the CnR season where as part of the selective gear regulation packet (single barbless hooks, no bait, etc.) was the fishing from boats equipped with motors. With regulation changes in 2008 where the Sauk was placed under CnR requirement (excepted for hatchery steelhead -fin clipped) and selective gear rules whenever the Sauk is open for fishing there should be consist regulations including fishing from boats equipped with motor prohibition.

We often see speed limits, motor boat prohibitions etc. from other entities that have authority to regulate such actives - for example various county rules on a variety of lakes. If folks were truly limiting jet boats on the Sauk the best approach maybe through the USFS under the Sauk's designation as a "wild and scenic river". When I looked that designation the USFS was some pretty wide power and one could make the case for they eliminate those jet boats as being incompatible with the wild and scenic rivers. They also have the responsibility regulate the fishing guides which they are required to permit. Potentially they could limit the number of guides permitted to work the Sauk or potential even whether such activity should be allowed. It has long been clear that the USFS is unlikely to take on these issues without outside pressure.

BTW - Jets boats have been seen on the Sauk as far upstream as Darrington.

Curt
 

Joe H

Active Member
I have seen Farrar above White Creek before. Then there was the time that skagiteer from Oregon launched his sled at the Brinnon briged and went up river into the Sauk reservation.We ran into him at Beaver flats, D]ragons tooth, and Otters. When DeLeon and I got back to the launch all his tires were flat. The locals know how to deal with that!
We were fishing the mill about a mile above Bryson that day. I asked my buddy - "is that a sled coming up?"
He replied - "yep, looks like the Skagit legends, ______ and ________."
They nodded lowly in passing and kept motoring up.

Regardless of legality, JF running up to lower slide hole and the scows that used to be moored on and motor the lower river, that was the furthest upstream I had ever seen "extreme anglers".
Ridiculous.
 

HauntedByWaters

Active Member
I saw sled traffic on the Sauk go way down when they banned internal combustion engines in the regs. It wasn’t unusual at all 20 years ago to run up the Sauk from the Skagit.

This clarification makes me dislike WDFW even more if that was possible. The regs should say no fishing from a floating device with a motor if that is what they actually mean.
 
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Smalma

Active Member
HauntedByWaters -
The problem is that according to Webster one (first definition) of Motor is-"anything that produces motion". After discussion that the specific concern was just internal combustion motors which is exactly what is covered under the rules.

Expanding the rule to all motors would eliminate even oars. Such move would eliminate fishing from an anchored boat, pulling plugs, side drifting etc. which I'm sure would be support by many here those activities were not the concerns that were being addressed by the internal combustion motor .

Curt
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
Maybe it is just me, but it seems it would be easier if they used the same verbiage for both the Skagit and the Sauk for the spring season.

Just looking at the Sauk, I just don’t see the need for sleds on that size of river. It reminds me of folks taking sleds way up the east fork of the Satsop. In both cases it is ridiculous in my opinion.
SF

Skagit:
Fishing is prohibited from a vessel that is under power.

Sauk:
Fishing is prohibited from a vessel equipped with a motor.
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
Maybe it is just me, but it seems it would be easier if they used the same verbiage for both the Skagit and the Sauk for the spring season.

Just looking at the Sauk, I just don’t see the need for sleds on that size of river. It reminds me of folks taking sleds way up the east fork of the Satsop. In both cases it is ridiculous in my opinion.
SF

Skagit:
Fishing is prohibited from a vessel that is under power.

Sauk:
Fishing is prohibited from a vessel equipped with a motor.
Skagit:
Fishing is prohibited from a vessel that is under power.

Sauk:
Fishing is prohibited from a vessel equipped with a motor.

Sauk:
Internal Combustion motors prohibited.

I don't see a problem here. Not confusing in the slightest. So in the Skagit, if your using your oars you can't fish?
 

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