FROM THE DECK OF M. L. WHITEY RASMUSSEN
PRESIDENT OF THE STATE BOARD
CALIFORNIA STRIPED BASS ASSOCIATION
2619 GRIZZLY HOLLOW
STOCKTON, CA. 95207
August 20, 2002
SUBJECT: Right to Access
Fishing and Boating
State Board Members
As we go about our daily lives, we
do not pay a lot of attention to governmental agencies that have an impact on our lives. We mostly trust these agencies to
do the right thing and protect our legislative rights.
Article 10, Section 4, of the
Constitution of the State of California states: Access to Navigable Waters
No individual partnership, or corporation, claiming
or possessing the frontage or tidal lands of a harbor, bay, inlet, estuary, or other navigable water in this State, shall
be permitted to exclude the right of way to such water whenever it is required for any public purpose, nor to destroy or obstruct
the free navigation of such water; and the Legislature should enact such laws as will give the most liberal construction to
this provision, so that access to the navigable for the people thereof
(Adopted June 8, 1976)
The State Constitution goes on to
state in article 1, Section 25, Fishing Right over public lands; Legislative regulation
The people should have the right to fish upon and from
the public lands of the State and in the water thereof, excepting upon lands set aside for fish hatcheries, and no land owned
by the state shall ever be sold or transferred without reserving in the people the absolute right to fish thereupon; and no
law shall ever be passed making it a crime for the people to enter upon the public lands within this state for the purpose
of fishing in any water containing fish that have been planted statute, provide for the season when and the conditions under
which the different species if fish may be taken.
(Added Nov. 8, 1910)
Then there is the Doctrine on Implied Consent, which holds that a property owner who is aware of trespass, or entry,
or crossing his land, and take no action to prevent such trespass, or entry, or crossing, over a period of time, may not arbitrarily
close off the land to above actions without due process of law. By the property owner being aware of the above actions, and
taking no steps to prevent them, his consent is implied. (This is taken from Old English Law, which is the basis for much
of law and regulations.)
The reason that I call this to your attention is that in the past few years, we have lost and we are continuing to
loss access to fishing and boating areas.
Ryer Island, a popular bank fishing
area North of Rio Vista has been declared off limits to fishing by the local Reclamation District. This in spite of a Public
funded ferry system to the Island, and public maintained and funded highway around and through the
Island. The Reclamation District claims that this is their land and they will do whatever they want
with it. Except, of course, when there is a flood and the public coffers are used to repair and reclaim their land
The north of Mormon Slough where it enters the Stockton Turning
Basin has been fenced off and access is denied, in spite of the fact that this
has been a popular bank fishing spot for many years.
Along Highway 160, which runs along the Sacramento River, Cal-Trans is fencing off River access
to anglers. Again, this has been very popular spot for bank fishermen for many years. Many anglers cannot afford a boat and
the river access provides them with good fishing areas.
We cannot let these and other areas are lost to us as anglers and boaters. As boaters we are finding an increasing
number of off limit areas on navigable waterways.
If we do nothing, we are giving Implied Consent to and for these closures. What we can do is, every time an area is
closed or restricted, contact your State Legislator, and demand that the Constitution of the State of California
M. L. Whitey Rasmussen
California Striped Bass Association.