Folks, this is fyi.
The debate over the public use of our streams and rivers has been ongoing for years and I suspect it will only get more heated across the country. I have written countless stories/articles about this from trout streams to the waterfowl haunts. Anyway, here is a letter a buddy of mine sent me about a U.S. Supreme Court action on the matter. I find it interesting, perhaps some of you will, too. I will also post this elsewhere on tndeer.


Meanwhile, his letter reads.

I have been infomred that the fishermen's writ to the U.S. Supreme Court, asserting the public's right to recreationally boat and fish the navigable waters of the U.S. has been denied. The writ was filed by fishermen arrested for fishing on the Mississippi River: Mrrs. Nornmal Parm, the late Harold Watts, TommyRogers, Mike Gammill and Robert Balch, all Louisiana fishermen.

It is now clear and undeniable that public fishing is wholely unprotected under fedral law. This denial by the U.S. Supreme Court, leaves in place the legal principles enunciated by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal. The 5th Circuit declared that neither Louisiana law, nor federal law, affirmatively protects or preserves the public's right to recreationally use the navigable waters of America for boating or fishing.

The 5th Circuit's holding has taken from public use, hundreds of thousands of mile of shoreline along naturally navigable waters in America, particularly those shorelines on rivers and streams that have a natural expansion and contraction of the water level and shorelines.

This holding equally threatens the ongoing economic viability of public fishing tournaments on natural rivers and streams.

As for Louisiana, it is clear that the public's right to recreationally use the navigble rivers of the State (Mississippi River, Red River, Atchafalaya basin, Ouachita River, etc) is limited to the main channel. Any use of the shoreline exposes the fishermen, or skiers, or boaters, to immediate arrest for trespassing. The big bass tournaments in Louisiana, is a legal thing of the past. The fishermen will be arrested for trespassing if they fish the shoreline. Lousiana: once a "Sportsman's Paradise" is now a national "Sportsman's Nightmare."

Lastly, the principles of the 5th Circuit declaring that there is no federal protection of recreational use of navigable waters, has opened the proverbial "flood gate" on State legislation to further deny to the public, the use of navigable waters of America.

Remember, the American public's right to use navigable waters for fishing began with the Magna Charta of 1215, and ended in the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2008. The 5th Circuit Court's opinion, and this Supreme Court denial, is a judicial error of historic proportions. Once magnatude of the error and the resulting infringement on the public's rights of navigation are realized, I believe the 5th Circuit will be wholely reversed. But until then, the public is condemned to criminal arrest and public protests.

Now, the question is: "Who will stand up in America for the fundamental rights of the public to use our navigable waters up to normal high water?"

Raymond E. Jones, Ph.D.