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  some rivers private?
  Posted by: melenas on Apr-19-13 1:10 PM (EST)

As people have said, navigable streams are public,
but the adjoining land may be private.
Nonnavigable streams are owned to the middle by
the adjacent landowner. Defining navigable and
stream bed is more difficult.

There seem to be exceptions, though. I read that
due to some old Spanish land grants, some Texas
river beds (Devil's River, Rio Frio) are
apparently at least partially privately owned,
meaning you trespass the moment you step out of
the boat and you'll find barbed wire fences (some
legal, some illegal) strung across the river,
maybe with a "No Trespassing" or "Private River"

Legal or not, let me quote from some old copy of
"Rivers and Rapids": "Needless to say, there's no
doubt of the outcome if arguing these points out
in the middle of nowhere with some irate landowner
toting a Winchester." Of course you can report
any incident afterwards (if you live to tell it),
but I also read that even if you are legally
right, enforcement is weak to non-existent, since
the sheriff is elected by those same landowners
and doesn't give a damn about some vacationing
city paddlers.

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