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Navigating Stream Access Laws in Wyoming

Wyoming Game & Fish Department.
Wyoming has many world-class streams and rivers that offer recreationists fantastic opportunities for floating. Whether you are visiting Wyoming for the first time or are a life-long resident, understanding how to legally access Wyoming’s streams is important.

Unlike some surrounding states, the land underneath most of Wyoming’s streams and lakes is owned by the adjacent property owner. In other words, if the land adjacent to a stream, river or lake is privately owned, anglers and boaters must have permission from the landowner to wade, drop their anchor or get out of their boats.

Wyoming law allows boaters to float across private lands and portage around features such as logjams, fences and diversion structures. If faced with such a situation, we encourage boaters to be efficient and respectful of the land when portaging.

Boaters can invest in a GPS unit or one of several smartphone apps that display your location and land ownership. These tools are not only helpful while on the river, they can also be used to help plan future outings. Other resources for figuring how to access streams and lakes include Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management maps or a call to your local Game and Fish office.