Spring Creek Access

Spring creeks are natural water bodies just like any other stream or river and therefore fall under the Montana stream access law. The only thing that makes them at all different is the nature of spring creeks themselves. Many springs creek originate on private land, are of fairly short length, and flow entirely though private land until their confluence with a main stem stream or river. As a result the only public access may be by entering the spring creek at its confluence with a river or stream by someone who is legally on that stream or river.

Also a typical spring creek has a constant flow, at least until there is a tributary entering the spring creek. As a result the ordinary high water mark, which is the upper limit for stream access, is the same as the low water mark. As a consequence, anglers must wade in the spring creek to stay below the high water mark and avoid trespassing on private land.

Access is also possible at county and state road crossings, from riparian public land, or from private land where the angler has the permission of the private land owner. Once the angler has legally accessed a spring creek, he or she can wade up or down the spring creek to fish just like on any other stream.

Public Land/Water Access Association Inc. or PLWA,
is a citizen group organized and operated under the Montana nonprofit corporation act.
The Internal Revenue Service has made a determination that PLWA qualifies as a tax- exempt
organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that it is a public charity.

Articles and Information on this site represent the opinion of the writer and are not intended as legal advice.
Legal counsel may be needed in dealing with specific access situations and issues.