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Great Lakes Region Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Post fishing reports, ask for information, discuss this area...

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Old 04-01-2009, 10:49 PM
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Default Wisconsin's Wet Feet Law

Is waterway public or private
This directly from Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations

Public or Private?

How Do I Know If I’m Trespassing?

• Navigability determines whether a waterway is public or private.
Navigable lakes and streams are public waterways.

• A waterway is navigable if it has a bed and banks and it is
possible to fl oat a canoe or other small craft at sometime of
the year—even if only during spring floods.

• Because they are public, you may use navigable waters for
fishing, boating, swimming or other recreational activities,
provided public access is available, or you have permission of
the land owner to cross their property to reach the waterway.
Once on a navigable waterway,

AS LONG AS YOU KEEP
YOUR FEET WET, YOU MAY WALK ALONG THE BED OF
THE STREAM, FISH, SWIM, OR BOAT IN ANY NAVIGABLE
LAKE OR STREAM.

************************************************** ******

KEY to what you just read:

• A waterway is navigable if it has a bed and banks and it is
possible to float a canoe or other small craft at sometime of
the year—even if only during spring floods.

All streams with water in them year round are navigable

.................................................. .................................................. .....

Trout streams are the SIDEWALKS of the outdoors in Wisconsin.
Landowners do NOT own the stream.

If you ask politely a couple times and they say NO. WADE IT.

If they bother you call police and get them charged with harassing an angler.

Most bridges with weight limitation on them are public bridges. You have a small
easement to enter the water and get your fet wet. I don't care if the landowner owns
2000 acres in each directions you are LEGAL.

Wade from public easement on to private land is OK also. The ones that preach NOT wading just don't want you to interfere with THEIR home field advantage or they own the land.

Take a digital camera with you and film unruly land owners. it will work well in court.
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Old 04-02-2009, 03:05 PM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Wet Feet Law

Hi Spinner,

Thanks for the information. I wish more states laws were wrote like Wisconsin's. One very important loop hole is this: "provided public access is available". Hiking across private property getting to the water could get you into trouble.

Frank
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Old 05-19-2009, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Wet Feet Law

I always use the road crossings to get near the streams in my area and then I stay on the opposite side of the river from any dwelling. It seems to work out well for me.

Great bit of information.
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Old 05-19-2009, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Wet Feet Law

Hey,
don't burst my bubble. I have kids in Wisconsin so get to fish there a couple of times a year. I'm amazed at the amount of public easments and the all round good will I encounter while fishing. I hope I never have to invoke the wet feet law. I practice catch and release and try to leave no trace. I hope that in some way this may help open up more water. I'm planning a trip to Jackson Hole in July and was upset to read in one website that there were plenty of spring creeks in the area, but nearly all were private. I can understand land owners closing access to prevent damage to their property, but I think it is a kind of crime to prevent access to allow exploitation of a resource by a few. Hoping to hit the Driftless area in June. I'll keep my feet wet. Toodles,Frogge.
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