A Utah judge agreed Monday with anglers arguing that all rivers and streams are public waters, but he has yet to decide whether a law restricting access to them went too far.
Fourth District Judge Derek Pullan ruled that the Utah Constitution makes clear the waters that HB141 two years ago restricted from public access are owned by the state and must be managed in the public trust. He did not rule whether that public trust requires public access on streams crossing private lands, such as wading that anglers once enjoyed.
Instead, he asked attorneys for the Utah Stream Access Coalition, the landowners and the state to brief him for a final ruling this summer. Whichever way the judge goes, the contentious issue is sure to be appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.