Re: Barb wired fence running across Odell spring creek in Ennis Montana
Hey Fishalong. Well, this is a surprise to me as I never knew you could get into Odell from the Madison. I rememeber talking to a guy in a shop in Ennis a few years back about accessing it and he said it was "pay to play".
But it sounds like you're a regular there, you know the state's laws and if the FWP wardens know the situation, I doubt you could get into much legal trouble. I mean, if it is classified a body a water then we have the rigth to walk down it, correct? So, if you want to make a point and clip the fence, you will not be tresspassing but might be vandilizing.
I'd certianly want to know, hear it from the FWP warden's mouth, that you (and all of us) have legal access to the creek before doing anything controversial. Then I would go would from there. Get some other fishermen from the area that also know the creek and make a showing out of it. That's what some old timer did over here.
I don't know if you've heard or followed the story about the "Huey Lewis Slough" access fights on the Bitterrroot. It has been quite interesting. The short story is that Huey (and the other billionares on that stretch of the Root) tried to keep the local rubes out of the slough but ultimately lost. I used to hear stories about his ranch hand that would come racing out and ***** you out if he saw you fishing in it but if you know the law and know that you are in the right, well, it just comes down to how badly you want to make a point. And how far you want to take it. A couple years ago a group of guys that had been fishing there since they were kids went to together and crossed the fence and fished it to make a statement.
The case went to court and the judge ruled it a natural flowing stream and upheld the public's right to access it.
I think that it is an important issue today. A lot of states do not have the strong public access law that we do in Montana. We are lucky, Fishalong, and if you've been fishing there for 15 years and someone new just moved in and thinks they can keep you out because they don't like the color of you shoes, well, that aint right.
Good luck and keep us posted.