Unless your state is like Montana, Idaho or just a few others, strolling onto a top trout stream is no easy task. You have to rely on state access sites, which often times are few and far between. Think combat fishing situations where elbows get thrown alongside spinners and flies.
But some states are trying to buck this trend, and Utah is one of them. Back in 2010, the Utah Stream Access Coalition fought the Utah Legislature which took away stream access rights that had been granted by a court earlier. Unfortunately, the Utah Stream Access Coalition was unable to kill the attempt to eliminate the public from public waters.
Luckily, the anglers of the Beehive state aren’t quitters. Recently, the 4th District Court in Utah ruled in favor of the Stream Access folks who challenged the constitutionality of HB 141, the “Public waters Access Act.” While the decision handed down by the court didn’t clear all of the issues associated with stream access in Utah, the judge did ask for a briefing on whether or not HB 141 violated the Public Trust. This is a positive sign that progress is being made to put anglers back on the rivers and streams of Utah.
Strangely enough, this effort is being opposed by a sportsman’s group called The Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. This group’s founder has declared the North American model of fish and wildlife conservation to be socialism and outdated.
The fight’s not over, but this ruling helps pave the way for the Utah Stream Access Coalition to continue its fight to allow for the public to utilize its resource.