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Old 10-23-2017, 10:19 PM
Honest Abe Honest Abe is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Sacramento, California
Posts: 6
Current Status of "Navigable Waters" in Arizona

Hi To Everyone: I was born in Arizona (1948) and have practiced Environmental Law for many years. As a fisherman and attorney, the right to fish streams passing through private land has long been of interest to me.

In 1992, Arizona established a Commission to determine which waters in the state are "navigable." In the subsequent 25 years, the issue has gone through extensive hearings, lititgation, and court rulings. A summary of where things currently stand as of July 2017 can be found at this link: The homepage for the Navigable Waters Commission is at this link:

The bad news: Arizona seems determined to conclude that virtually every streambed in the state is private property. The good news??? Any streams running through federal land at the time of statehood (1912) may be exempt from the "navigable waters" test. This will require careful research and documentation on a "stretch-by-stretch" basis. Undoubtedly, it will also end up in lititgation.

In the meantime, I will continue to fish below the highwater mark as most adjacent land-owners are unlikely to object. (Remember too, that a property owner only has a right across the entire stream bottom if he/she owns the property on both sides of the creek. So, in the case of a grumpy homeowner on one side of the creek, just fish from the other side.) Honest Abe
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