Is it illegal to fish on a private pond that backs up to state property?

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Is it illegal to fish on a private pond that backs up to state property?

Recently, we went fishing a local man-made pond . There are 5 houses backed up to the pond and a state road that backs up to it as well. We were fishing on the state road side (not in a homeowner’s yard or property) and were told that we could not fish there because it was a private pond. Safe to say it is part of an HOA, but we were not on HOA property. I’m under the impression that the state side of the property owns to the middle of the pond the same as the homeowners. Who’s right? Can we fish there?

Asked on July 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It's not necessarily the case that a property own, such as the state, whose property backs to a pond owns half way into the pond--that's common, but it doesn't have to be the case. To be sure who owns what and has what rights, you'd have to see the surveys, deeds, etc. for the area, which you should be able to get at town or city hall, or at your county hall or department of records. Also, even if you are right and the state does own to halfway through the pond, it's not automatically a given that you can fish there--there is state land on which fishing or hunting, or indeed any tresspassing, if forbidden. You'd need to check with appropriate government body, such as the dept. of parks and recreation or wildlife, to see the rules relating to that land and that body of water, if applicable.

In short, you may be right, but you can't assume that's the case; you need to research for this specific land and pond.


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