Access and home water


atjohnson1111

New member
Good day!

So I’d like to start a conversation about access. I’m strictly a bank angler and finding access has been a major hang up when choosing a home water. I recently moved and the new location is literally the same drive to some previous and familiar Steelhead water and just a little bit closer to a new and very strong run. The drive would be much easier to a new spot so I’m now in the throes of researching access for what I would like to be my new home waters.

Bank anglers. How do you go about finding access to rivers that are locked in relatively private property? I notice bridges are popular locations to gain public access. Is that the first place to look is bridges? Is it normal to knock on doors and ask for access? I enjoy the adventure that comes with winter Steelhead but I’m always more afraid of incidental trespassing which tends to put a damper on the day.

And does anyone else get the itch when the 1st of November rolls around?! Winter is coming and the Chrome rockets are in the chamber!

Tight lines and I’d love to hear the processes fellow junkies use!
 
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pinstriper

Well-known member
I think he was asking more about what river you are interested in.

In any case, what you are mostly talking about is rural areas, which could range from hobby farms to working farms.

I have a few places where a friend and I have approached a property owner and been granted access, either to fish the bank or launch kayaks.

It helps if you have something to return in exchange. Split some firewood, offer to help with a fence repair, clear a ditch or something.

It is also best to make your approach well before the season you want to fish, and fulfill your side of the bargain.

In one case, the reaction was "heck, there are so many trespassers down there already, we are just glad you asked. Every once in a while the sheriff comes out and runs people out. If that happens just give our name and say we gave you permission".

"Good morning. I was passing by and thought what a great place you have on the river. Is there any work you need doing around the place I could do, in exchange for permission to fish ?"
 

atjohnson1111

New member
I think he was asking more about what river you are interested in.

In any case, what you are mostly talking about is rural areas, which could range from hobby farms to working farms.

I have a few places where a friend and I have approached a property owner and been granted access, either to fish the bank or launch kayaks.

It helps if you have something to return in exchange. Split some firewood, offer to help with a fence repair, clear a ditch or something.

It is also best to make your approach well before the season you want to fish, and fulfill your side of the bargain.

In one case, the reaction was "heck, there are so many trespassers down there already, we are just glad you asked. Every once in a while the sheriff comes out and runs people out. If that happens just give our name and say we gave you permission".

"Good morning. I was passing by and thought what a great place you have on the river. Is there any work you need doing around the place I could do, in exchange for permission to fish ?"
That’s incredibly helpful! If it helps the body of water I’m looking at is the Nestucca. The upper sections are open but it seems the really fishy parts are locked in private property. And I left the river out because exploring is the fun part. I just want to do it responsibly
 

luddite

Member
According to ODFW all river bank below normal flood line is public access.not sure how that works if the river passes through a property. Check the regs.
 

atjohnson1111

New member
According to ODFW all river bank below normal flood line is public access.not sure how that works if the river passes through a property. Check the regs.
I understand that. The law is very much up to the interpretation of the landowner. And more often than not people access from public land and stay below the high water mark but if a landowner doesn’t want you there the officer will ask you to leave more often than not. I speak from experience because I wandered onto private property by accident on the Alsea a few years back and it’s an experience I don’t want to replicate
 

Irishrover

Well-known member
Moderator
Most Featured
fairly sure that high water mark only applies to navigable streams.

You might want to look at the on-X application some hunters use on their phones. It shows property lines and who owns the land. It help to locate public land. Out your way the Nestucca should have some public acess.
 

pinstriper

Well-known member
The thing about asking for access on the Nestucca is...every property owner has been approached over and over and over.

Still worth a try, just don't be hurt. There are even a few who put out a can and allow access for a few bucks. None of these spots are a secret.
 

atjohnson1111

New member
The thing about asking for access on the Nestucca is...every property owner has been approached over and over and over.

Still worth a try, just don't be hurt. There are even a few who put out a can and allow access for a few bucks. None of these spots are a secret.
And that makes sense. I’m certainly not trying to make folks annoyed. I like the idea of splitting wood or maybe helping out in some way. And that was the main reason I posted this. I wanted to see how folks approach lands and there owners or just ways they access publicly. Like I see bridge holes are just popular in general.
 

troutdude

Well-known member
Moderator
Asking permission is always the way to go, IMO. And the worst reply that you can get; is no.

BTW you do NOT have to be found on land with trespassing notices posted. If you are on private land--and the owner calls the fuzz--you face citation/arrest. Again...land does NOT have to be posted as private. I found that out the hard way, back in the 80's, while scouting bird hunting grounds. Was mighty glad that I did NOT have my Beretta O/U slung over my shoulder, when I was busted! I would've been bummed to have had them confiscated.
 
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atjohnson1111

New member
Asking permission is always the way to go, IMO. And the worst reply that you can get; is no.

BTW you do NOT have to be found on land with trespassing notices posted. If you are on private land--and the owner calls the fuzz--you face citation/arrest. Again...land does NOT have to be posted as private. I found that out the hard way, back in the 80's, while scouting bird hunting grounds. Was DAMNED that I did NOT have my Beretta O/U slung over my shoulder, when I was busted!
I hear ya troutdude! I walked the banks of the North Fork Alsea between classes (let’s be honest I didn’t go to that second class) and wandered well outside the park. I had a State Trooper waiting for me at the next hole who told me I was trespassing! I was naive and thought the law was black and white. Turns out if a call is made then they usually have to do something about it. Kind of a bummer.

What frustrates me the most are rivers that have a substantial hatchery run but it appears they stop running by the time they get out of the private property.
 

bass

Well-known member
Most Featured
There has been a lot of discussion on the topic of access. The state attorney general issued an opinion that the land below the normal high water mark on any stream or river is public land. I have read a lot of stories over the past few years where LEO was called and ended up explaining to the landowner that the law allows access below the high water mark.

Read this whole document:


There is a section that describes the AG's opinion that if a boat can go down a river then people can use the water for fishing, swimming, etc.
 

Chaddilac1

New member
Another option is to do a little research online and look up public Right of Ways. You'd be amazed what you find. It's always best to be respectful and do the right thing by asking for access, but there are people that flat out think they own everything. If you can find the ROW boundaries, a lot of times you will be able to print out something to prove you have legal rights to access the river at different locations. I know state owned bridges have a 10' PUE (public utility easement) on both sides of the bridge. This is probably why you see so many people accessing the river, at those spots.
 

atjohnson1111

New member
Another option is to do a little research online and look up public Right of Ways. You'd be amazed what you find. It's always best to be respectful and do the right thing by asking for access, but there are people that flat out think they own everything. If you can find the ROW boundaries, a lot of times you will be able to print out something to prove you have legal rights to access the river at different locations. I know state owned bridges have a 10' PUE (public utility easement) on both sides of the bridge. This is probably why you see so many people accessing the river, at those spots.
That makes a ton of sense! I found it to be more than a coincidence that most popular holes are at or near bridges. I did download that On-x app that helps determine private and public land. Oddly enough it shows pretty much every bridge as public land. So great point! I just find it crazy that big hatchery plants sections (I.E Three Rivers) are almost completely locked by private land. Kind of crazy but being able to find access is certainly a bonus if one could find their way into a stretch like that
 


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