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As a lifelong landlubber, there will be a learning curve to my on the water yakking adventures beginning this Spring. A video I saw on YouTube the other day got me thinking. It was titled, "Don't fish in front of my dock." (link: )  The short version...old guy stops cutting his lawn to hop into his boat to ride out and harass two yakkers fishing near his dock on a public lake. He doesn't want anyone fishing near his dock. Does he have a valid point? I don't know. Whether it be golf, bowling, driving, whatever, I've always believed you should learn proper etiquette first and foremost. Does anyone have any opinions or words of advice? It's always appreciated.

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Comment by John Ratliff on February 5, 2016 at 2:26pm

I would like to way in if I not to late.  I to have had folks as me not fish in certain area of his dock of walk way and after talking to him I found out he had sunk some structure in the water for his grandkids.  I know this is not the same deal but it has happened twice to me on different lakes.  The thing that get me on edge more that the guy running past you and creating a huge wake the guy that pulls in front of you and takes your line away.  But that is just me.

Comment by Allen Morgan on January 31, 2016 at 6:11am

Yep.  That's what I liked about that video.  Guy had his camera going.  The old gent that was doing the harassing even mentioned "all you kayakers with your cameras and fancy gear...."

Comment by carl hendrix on January 30, 2016 at 10:21pm

one other thing  Allan;; in case; you need to call a game warden; with out definite--- proof !! it comes down to your word or his !! so;; actually; the only action would be; is both parties would be talked to; and ; since you; ( or who ever ) is in the boat ; the wardens will ask  ( you ) to stay away from the area.    first case scerno; just move on;; if confronted by some one of that nature;  appollgise; didnt know better;; you were lost;; kind of reply;   even if you know that you have the right to be there;; no sence provokeing a situtation.   if game wardens are called;; they will keep a watch on that person; for quite awhile

Comment by Allen Morgan on January 30, 2016 at 9:01pm

Unfortunately, Carl is right.  You will run into some folks who, for whatever reason, think that they own a particular stretch of water.  Usually it's landowners.  Sometimes, it's other fishermen.

I haven't really had any kind of a confrontation, yet.  Might have had one this Winter if I was still down in OK; landowner blocked off a feeder creek into my home lake.  This particular creek is where a lot of the stocker Trout go, and he's been known to net them illegally.

I agree with Carl that it's usually just better to move on, unless you don't mind a long, protracted scene that will probably involve a LEO.  I wouldn't try any kind of "retaliation", as the end result is someone gets some damaged property.

I don't know about NJ, but here in MI, there is an "Angler Harassment" law.  If I'm legally fishing, and someone starts harassing me, trying to prevent me from fishing, or make me leave, I can call a Conservation Officer (Game Warden), and if that officer's investigation warrants it, he'll issue a ticket.

Comment by carl hendrix on January 30, 2016 at 7:56am

Gary;  best way to avoid trouble;; is stay away from it !!  you never know what type of person  might think they ( own) that particular area of water.  some people; are protective of their surrounding water area; ( might have sunken brush piles for their own benifit ).  

Comment by Gary Boysen on January 30, 2016 at 7:17am

Thank you, Allen. Good advice all of it. The last part made me laugh...but so true. It's not much of an issue to my knowledge up here in NJ, but as I broaden my horizons that will have to be something I'm aware of. My rule of thumb will be to just avoid nuts like the guy in the video. Plenty of waterways and fishing spots for all to enjoy without ruining a beautiful day arguing with some nut.

Comment by Allen Morgan on January 30, 2016 at 6:48am

I saw that video myself a couple days ago.  Pretty funny, actually.  If you read the comments, I believe the person that filmed the video ended up calling a Game Warden or other LEO to have a talk with this gentleman. 

I'm pretty sure that video was from Canada (the accents).  I'm not sure how Riparian Rights work up there, or if they have an "Angler Harassment" type of law.

This is a topic that is very near and dear to EVERYONE that fishes.  It is also an extremely complex and varied subject.  In the U.S., there is the Northwest Ordinance of 1794(?) that basically states, "The rivers and waters of this country shall forever be free, for the purposes of Transportation, Commerce, and Recreation".  Back then, most bulk "shipping" was literally done on ships and boats of some kind.  A lot of the back country stuff was transported in Canoes by the French Voyagers in Colonial times.  That was also "Commerce".  Another form of Commerce is Logging, as logs were usually transported to the sawmill in a stream or a river.

However, different States have different rules.  In Kansas, only three rivers are considered "Navigable", and thusly, "public".  ALL other streams in Kansas are private, and you have to get permission to fish them.

I'm from Oklahoma.  The rule of thumb there is that as long as you're floating, and accessed the water from a public spot, or private property with permission, you're good.  In the case of streams bordered by private property, the property owner owns the land UNDER the water to halfway between the banks.  If the property owner owns both sides of the stream, they own ALL the land UNDER the water, BUT, they cannot own the water itself.  If I were to paddle up a creek, as long as I'm freely floating, they can't say squat.  As soon as I drop anchor, get out to wade-fish, or tie off to a snag, then I am technically tresspassing.

Now, I'm in Michigan.  It's pretty much the same here, except I can actually wade-fish a stream as long as I access the stream from a public spot (road crossing), or private property with permission.  Lots and LOTS of lakes around here, most with a public boat ramp, county park, etc.  Easy to launch a kayak from.  There are some "private" lakes, where the lake is completely developed and surrounded by private homes with no public access.  If there is a stream the feeds into or out of that lake, and I can get my kayak through that stream, no biggie.  Only problem is that most of those streams have a bridge on them, and the bridge is low enough to the water that I probably couldn't get under it.

You'll need to research Riparian Rights in your state.  Maybe call a Game Warden or County Sheriff's department and get the run down.

Also, some friendly advice that was given to me a few years ago.  Kayaks make it possible to explore places up small streams that don't normally see much traffic, or people.  These kind of secluded areas will often harbor folks who have planted some "medicinal" crops that are highly illegal.  These type of sights will sometimes have an armed guard.  Keep your eyes open, and if anything looks sketchy, leave.

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