Sequim Bay Canning Co. v. Bugge

In Sequim Bay Canning Co. v. Bugge, 49 Wash. 127, 94 P. 922 (1908), the Court expressly rejected the contention that fishery rights guaranteed by the public trust doctrine include the right to take clams from private property. It is contended by respondents that, inasmuch as the lands are at times covered by tidal waters and are uninclosed and vacant, the full common law rights of navigation and fishing remain in the waters above the lands. It is manifest that there can be no navigation except upon the waters, and at such times only as the waters engulf the soil. Ordinary fishing must also be conducted at such times, since the swimming fish can come there and exist at no other time. It is common knowledge, however, that clam digging must be done when the waters have subsided, and that the gathering and taking of clams requires a digging down into the soil, a contact with and disturbance of the land itself. Even if clams should be classified as fish under the term of "shell fish," . . . still they cannot be taken by the use of any methods exercised in the prosecution of the common right of fishing in the waters. Id. at 130-31.