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Key word: Navigable- what does Wisconsin consider Navigable?


Indiana has many waters that are in fact Navigable, but not listed as such, therein lies the problem. If Wisconsin has one stream that is navigable, but not listed as such, they have the same problem.


Nice to see public rights over riprarian owners favored by courts

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Help me understand this point.




Brenden is asking about the criteria for "navigable" in Wisconsin.


The COE lists a very few Illinois rivers as "navigable", but many many more than that can be negotiated with small craft. So which one is legal?


It has always been my impression that most Wisconsin streams are legally "navigable", but I don't know the details.

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We have the same problem in Ohio. Only a small handfull of streams/rivers have actually been deemed navigable. If the stream is not listed as navigable you could be charged with trespassing and would have to prove the stream is navegable. It usually must be done at a higher court of appeals so the stream can be listed as navigable. The Ohio Smallmouth Alliance just had a speaker from the ODNR division of water speaking on this very subject. It was a great talk and we also shared some stories, mostly about one stream in particular.


Regards, Mike

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That wouldn't happen to be the story where the property owner put a couple shots over my son's canoe bow? Then proceeded to tell him and JJ that the fish, water and creatures with we're his as long as they passed over his creek bottom?



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Now thats what we need in Ohio. The Wisconsin Doctrine.


I had a meeting with officails ODNR, Div. of Watercraft. I was told the definition of navigable is similiar to those of a highway. The fact that you are actually plying a waterway ii thus navigating and as such considered a form of transportation and the laws of waterborne transportation.



The is actaully little to no court determination as to defining navigable, except on a couple specific waters. The best legal consideration is from the Office of the State of Ohio Attorney General in 1890.

It discusses the concept of navigable and unnavigable with that of public and private consideration.


It considers portages around river (highway) obstructions and furter comparisons of the river/ highway rightway and traveller user privileges.


In other word, its anyones call in Ohio until you are hauled in for trespassing and you have to prove you were rightfully navigating the river, creek or waterway.


That would require me to reduce my angling budget. Ouch!

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The law in Illinois states that if the stream is not listed as navigatable with the state, then you need permission to wade or canoe. It does not matter if the stream can be floated or not, you still need permission............by law.


In Wisconsin, all streams are open to the public. I think there is even a small easement upon the bank where anglers can walk.

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