Big Lost River a Fight to Fish

Question:

Ever visited mackay? Please view the sign on main street bridge!! It reads "for access please call such and such.." Why is it, the land owners can control who visits the big lost river?

The rule book says all public bridges are access points, but you must remain below the high water mark. I've heard rumors that a guide company in sun valley is paying these landowners to lock up and not allow access to the water to the general public who asks permission or is legally there below the high water mark, I'm tired of fighting for the right to fish on the big lost river, so if you're ever in the mood for a fight, put your waders on and walk down the river and try fishing

Answer:

Thanks for your question on the Big Lost River access at the Mine Hill Bridge. 

We've been dealing with this particular issue for well over a decade, and have been unable to find documentation that there is a highway easement on the private property that encompasses three of the four corners of that bridge.  As such, the landowner may have the right to restrict access through his property.  That said, IDFG went to significant effort to work with the landowner at the fourth corner of that bridge to develop a public access to the river.  This access was completed in 2012, and does provide a place where the public can get to the river, or launch (or take out) a small, portable watercraft.  Because of the generosity of the landowner on that fourth corner, the public will be able to access this particular area forever.

We recognize that maintianing public access on the Big Lost is and will be a continued struggle for the forseeble future.  We are actively engaged at obtaining public access on this river, and have secured two new public access points in the past 4 or 5 years.  We will continue to work towards protecting the public's ability to get to the water in this area in the future.  If you have additional questions or comments, I can be reached at 208-525-7290.

Dan Garren

Regional Fisheries Manager