Wyoming Stream laws and fishing
When floating through private land, anglers must stay in their boat unless access permission has been obtained from the landowner
by Wyoming Game & Fish
May 27, 2010
As the warmer months approach, interest in fishing is on the increase and more anglers are getting out on Wyoming waters. With that increased interest also comes a responsibility to be familiar with Wyoming’s fishing regulations and laws. One of the more common questions Game and Fish officials receive from anglers, concerns Wyoming’s laws pertaining to stream access on private lands.
As with hunting, where permission must be obtained from the private landowner to hunt or cross private lands, the laws regarding fishing are essentially the same. For boaters, Wyoming law does allow floating through private lands. However, while the landowner does not own the water, the stream bank and stream bottom are considered private property. This means that when floating through private land, anglers must stay in their boat unless access permission has been obtained from the landowner. State law does allow leaving the craft for short portages around non-navigable obstacles. However, activities such as wading and anchoring on private lands without permission of the landowner constitute a trespass violation. It is the responsibility of the floater to know if lands adjoining the waterway are public or private.
Some of Wyoming’s navigable waters flow through areas where there are both public and private lands. Anglers unsure of the public land status next to waters may wish to consult public land maps printed by the Bureau of Land Management. These maps are color-coded, showing public and private lands. The state BLM office in Cheyenne (307-775-6256) can advise which maps are needed for the different areas in the state.
Anglers with questions on Wyoming trespass laws can contact the Game and Fish at (307) 777-4600. There is also a section on stream access and trespass on page 15 of the Wyoming Fishing Regulations.