Utah’s House Bill 187 – Fiction Versus Fact

There’s a bill before the Utah Legislature which many folks have interpreted as the wholesale elimination of a majority of the state’s fishing waters from public access. That’s simply not the case. But rather than try explaining the issue myself, I turn you over to Mr. Scott Carles, an avid fly fisherman who lives and breaths Utah. He’s done his due diligence (and diligent it was), and has come up with some darn easy to understand points you need to consider before marching to the Utah State Capitol with pitchforks in hand.

Scott and I corresponded just before he acquired the latest information he’s presenting. He noted that he had spoken personally with landowners (that are also frequent anglers) – they described incidents immediately after the Utah Supreme Court ruling in Conatser v. Johnson where people not only ripped apart fences to get into property where gates existed close by, but after one landowner asked nicely to please use a gate and watch out for the irrigation pipes, miscreants destroyed the water implements as well. It’s events such as these which I envisioned when I first heard about Conatser, and then HB 187 – a reaction to a ‘no holes barred we can fish where we like’ mentality. I’m an angler – I want to side with my own kind. But hearing the story from Scott came as no surprise to me. It wasn’t that way before Conatser, and it shouldn’t be that way now.

If you’re a party to this matter, it behooves you to consume the results of Scott’s fine investigative work.


Thanks for the ping Michael! Let’s hope I’m not wrong (there’s that optimistic side saying, “Yeah, that’s right,” and the pessimistic side saying, “They’re full of crap, you can’t trust them.”). Anyhow, more posts on HB 187 to come.


Simply stupendous job cutting though the bull, and grasping the ear of those working through the issue. You have the forum – and if you need any help on the way, you know where to find me.


E. Smith CPA Esq. says:

I have read the bill and it is extremely harmful to Utah fishermen. It is bad policy and will only harm law abiding citizens.

Agreed. But I think Scott Carles has researched this whole bit much more thoroughly than I, and I believe you should review his points.

One thing to consider – not everyone who fishes respects property – I do, and I know Scott does, but it seems the errors of a few pissed off the many.

E. Smith CPA Esq. says:

I agree that not everyone who respects property. That is precisely why we currently have vandalism laws in place. We also currently have a law that prevents anglers from going beyond the high water mark. What makes anyone believe that the law contained in HB 187 would be observed by the people who break our current laws? We need to enforce our current laws and not put in place new laws that just seek to do the same things as our current laws, especially since they hurt law abiding citizens in the process. Our current laws are narrowly tailored to properly address the problems. HB 187 is far too broadly written. As an attorney I can tell you that law is based on good policy. This law is based on politics.

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