Question Re: Accessing fishing opportunities
Most of the land around where I live is private property. Can I cross private property to get to a stream, river or lake?
This is a complex area but the most important idea to keep in mind is that the relationship between landowners and the recreational public is very important and must be kept positive and respectful.
In this discussion we will use the term occupier because it describes both the land owner and others who may have legal occupation of the land and the authority to control some or all access.
When it comes to crossing private lands to access fishing opportunities the property occupier has the first and last word about who can enter the property. It is up to the occupier to allow or restrict entry onto their property or to allow or restrict the activities that occur on that property.
In general terms anyone may enter onto private property to do anything which is lawful without occupier permission unless the entrant has been given notice that entry is prohibited. So, a privately owned bush lot is available to the general public until the occupier notifies people otherwise. The occupier has a number of options when it comes to letting people know that entry is prohibited or that activities are restricted.
Notice - Signs
The most common method used by occupiers to restrict access is by posting signs. The message on the signs can be written or a picture representation of the activity which is prohibited. If a sign prohibits one activity specifically then all others are permitted. For example, if hunting is specifically prohibited then hiking or fishing is permitted.
Notice - Coloured Marking
Another common method of notice is coloured markings. You will often see red or yellow dots painted on trees or fence posts on a property boundary. A red coloured marker indicates that the occupier is restricting all access; entry is prohibited. A yellow coloured marker indicates that entry is permitted but that there are conditions on the activities that are allowed. Perhaps all-terrain vehicles are restricted while bicycles are allowed. It is now up to the entrant to locate the occupier and determine what the conditions of entry are.
Notice - Oral or Written
Entrants may be simply told by the occupier that they cannot enter onto the property or that a particular activity is prohibited. Sometimes the occupier may put the notice in writing to establish a record of his or her wishes.
Notice - Other Forms
There is a long list of other things which are forms of notice and must be considered the occupiers intention to restrict entry on property. This list includes:
- Maintained fences and gates;
- Land under cultivation;
- Planted trees under 2 metres in height; and
- Established lawns and gardens
When it comes to signs, coloured markings and fences (gates) the occupier is only required to place them at the normal access point to the property. Generally that will be a laneway, private roadway or trail. There might only be one sign prohibiting entry on a very large, undeveloped woodlot for example. It is the responsibility of the entrant to determine whether or not the occupier intends to restrict access to the property and where the property boundaries are; the occupier is not responsible for marking the entire property boundary.
And finally, even if a property is posted the occupier still has the choice to allow entry or to allow a prohibited activity to occur. What this means is that the occupier can fish on a property posted to prohibit fishing and the occupier can permit others to enter the property to fish as well.
Remember to ask; always be courteous and respectful.
*this was taken from http://www.mnr.gov.o...7.html#property