Re: Public vs. Private land.
Laws vary state to state so you'll have to check into that first. In CO, people can own the river bottom but not the water so you can drift through anyones "property". Other states allow you to access the river as long as your access point is on public land. So you could walk into the water on public land and fish up or down stream through private land as long as you stayed in the river. I don't know what CA laws are but other posters may be able to help you with that. The land should also be clearly marked private (as far as I know) the property owner needs to post signs. If there are a lot of houses around chances are its private. The local DNR or fly shops should be able to give you maps or use streets as markers of what water is puplic vs. private. I love exploring new water (you never know whats around the next bend). Just get an idea of how many miles of public water you have to work with before exploring.