Don’t make this illegal mistake while fishing in Oklahoma

We all know that in Oklahoma you can’t fish without a fishing license, or that certain fish can be released back into the water out of season. But how good are you at spotting whether you are on private or public property?

According to the Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma has 46 ponds and lakes in the state that are open to the public. These are public areas that have been agreed upon by the local municipalities. But what about areas that are not ponds or lakes, for example what about public bridges?

Canva/Screenshot from The Lawless Tide Youtube

Canva/Screenshot from The Lawless Tide Youtube

One of the most important parts of identifying private land is “do not trespass” signs or some form of property marking. Normally you won’t see any signage on most bridges – which should mean it’s public property, right? Not necessary.

Some creeks and rivers run through private property in Oklahoma, as in the case of June 16, 2021 in Grady County.

“It is not illegal to fish in Oklahoma streams and rivers, but you must obtain prior permission from landowners.”

–Mark Murray, Department of Conservation

Often the county or state will discuss with real estate properties whether or not they can build a bridge over the flowing water on their property, making it still possible private land.

It is equally important to remember that there are places in Oklahoma where it is still illegal to enter without signage. The best way to avoid this problem altogether is to stick to public areas listed with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Or, if there’s a place you’re really interested in, call the local authorities and ask who owns the land in question.

It never hurts to ask, but it sure hurts to assume. Play it safe and hopefully catch a few.

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