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List of navigable waters

2011/3/15 21:08
From Dallas, Pa
Posts: 0
I'm new to stream fishing, so this might be a stupid question. But... Is there a list of Pa streams that are considered navigable waters, that is, are open to the public?

Posted on: 2011/3/27 9:51

Re: List of navigable waters

2010/11/16 14:02
From Fayette Co, Pa
Posts: 0

Posted on: 2011/3/27 10:39

Re: List of navigable waters

2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
Posts: 2363
Tricky question. Yes and no. Here's a list I found, embedded in a document in 1914. At that time, the department of fisheries held these streams to be navigable. At this time, the courts consider any stream that is or ever was navigable to be navigable in their entirety. So legally, I think you could make a good argument for the navigability of every stream in this document, and your chances of winning in court would be excellent.

That said, many of these streams are posted. If you fished it claiming navigability, the system is that you and the landowner would go to court, and the judge would decide who was right, with you taking all of the risk. And only then would the final decision have been made. In other words, you have to challenge it in court before it's "official". Here's the link:

hit me

That said, the list of streams that have actually been challenged in court is much shorter. Off the top of my head (might be missing 1 or 2):

Delaware, Susquehanna, Lehigh, Juniata, Little Juniata, Allegheny, Monongahela, Ohio.

Posted on: 2011/3/28 8:28

Re: List of navigable waters

2007/4/8 20:43
Posts: 19
Interesting list, except there appears to be some name changes...There's a Poco Poco or Big Creek "up to the falls."

I'm lost.

Posted on: 2011/3/28 9:38
April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
And why not?

Re: List of navigable waters

2009/10/15 13:45
From Eastern PA
Posts: 37
That is interesting. Also of interest is page 161 where they discuss pollution cases.

Posted on: 2011/3/28 9:52

Re: List of navigable waters

2007/4/25 10:02
Posts: 723
Can add the Youghiogheny or Allegheny River for a good river to float.

I also would add that if you plan to float a river such as the Little Juniata (same goes for Penns) during some of April, all of May and parts of June you will be floating by dozens if not hundreds of anglers.

Those anglers will probably not be pleased you are drifiting 5 feet away from them. It would be legal and all but I do not think it would be very much fun getting cross looks from dozens of anglers.

Posted on: 2011/3/28 9:53
I flyfish because I enjoy it.

Re: List of navigable waters

2006/9/9 15:10
From Bucks County or Bridgeville
Posts: 1
Here is all the rules as they currently stand. Off the top of my head I can think of dozens of other streams that should be on that list, but it would piss off a wee bit too many landowners, a.k.a. voters.

Posted on: 2011/3/28 19:49

Re: List of navigable waters

2010/5/27 12:05
From SE Pennsylvania
Posts: 21
I know this is a very old thread but it is a very important question, so, given new information, as far as I know, this is the most definitive list known today: ... /document/dcnr_009715.pdf

Posted on: 1/2 21:15

Re: List of navigable waters

2015/6/1 16:22
From Burke VA
Posts: 1243
Here's the problem with any list of navigable water you can still be sued for being in the water. It happened on the jackson river in virginia(not the kings land grant section) even though vdgif said you could fish this section three anglers were sued by the landowner, it didn't end well for the fisherman. I don't want to rattle off the entire story again so I can post a link if you're interested let me know.

Posted on: 1/2 22:15

Re: List of navigable waters

2006/10/24 0:04
Posts: 7
Just reading this post here.

According to the above, Penn's creek is considered navigable. In Pennsylvania, if one section of a stream is deemed navigable, the entire stream is considered navigable. Does this mean I can fish the posted section up by the Cave?

I also see that Spring Creek (Centre County) is also declared navigable. Does this mean we can fish the posted sections (legally)? In particular, the fenced in section by Fisherman's Paradise, and also the posted farm section on Trout Road?

Sure wish PA would clarify the rules.

Posted on: 2017/12/4 14:01

Re: List of navigable waters
2006/9/9 9:29
From Monessen, PA
Posts: 2510
Sir Johnny, you are conflating two different things. The government can declare what it thinks is navigable and therefore public easement, but it does not make it so. The Courts can "declare" a water navigable and that would make it's entire length a public easement.

Posted on: 2017/12/4 17:42
"Western man lacks conscious recognition of his inferiority to the nature around him and within him. He must learn that he cannot do exactly as he wills. He does not know that his own soul is rebelling against him in a suicidal way."
--C. G. Jung

Re: List of navigable waters

2006/11/2 8:50
Posts: 1461
The document does not make the claim that is a list of navigable waters.

It's a DCNR document asserting that the commonwealth owns the streambed of those streams. That is not the same thing as saying those streams are navigable.

Also the DCNR's statement that they own these streambeds is simply an ASSERTION. Until it is tested in court, no one knows whether the assertion is legally valid or not.

Here's the disclaimer note from the end of the document:

NOTE: The waterways identified herein as having publicly-owned streambeds have been compiled by the Commonwealth over time from various sources. Identification is based upon information believed to be reliable and persuasive evidence of such ownership. The identification of a waterway as having a publicly-owned streambeds herein is not intended to be a final determination that the waterway is navigable under state or federal law. Moreover, other waterways not identified herein may be navigable under state or federal law, in which case their streambeds would also be publicly-owned. The Commonwealth reserves the right to add or remove waterways identified as having publicly-owned streambeds as additional information becomes available.

Posted on: 2017/12/4 18:47

Re: List of navigable waters

2014/9/30 15:26
From Lehigh Gorge
Posts: 68
Poco Poco, Big Creek. Are synonyms for Pohopoco see beltzville dam in carbon co. Never fished it and not aware of any falls.

Posted on: 2017/12/5 19:07

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