This 273-acre island on the Skagit River’s South Fork is located between Steamboat and Freshwater sloughs. Deepwater Slough meanders through the island’s center. Prior to WDFW purchase in the 1950s, dike construction, ditching, plowing, filling and conversion to agricultural production altered most of the island’s historic tidal channels. The upper half of Deepwater Slough—the principal outgoing channel of the Skagit River’s South Fork—was cut off from the river when local settlers built two dams, one at each end of the isolated reach, creating one island instead of two. In 2002, an estuary restoration project (Deepwater Slough) removed the two dams on that slough and reconfigured 14,000 feet of dikes to reconnect flows from Freshwater Slough to six tributary channels of the Skagit River. This returned intertidal connectivity to 230 acres of estuary habitat on the island. The project is estimated to provide rearing habitat for up to 2,000 additional Chinook salmon, as well as migratory waterfowl and shorebird habitat. WDFW continues to plant 165 acres in cereal grains annually for wintering waterfowl and increased hunting opportunities. Waterfowl hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and hiking are allowed; access is by boat to three landing sites.
Birds of Prey
How to Get Here
Map and Driving Directions
Access Site #1
Driving Directions Take Interstate 5 to Exit 221, just south of Mount Vernon in Skagit County. Go west from the freeway to Fir Island Road, following the sign for Conway/La Conner. In 1.8 miles, turn left onto Wylie Road and follow for 1 mile to a T-intersection and a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife sign. Turn left, following the sign for the boat launch; the parking lot is a few hundred yards ahead. After launching your boat, proceed upstrem (left) a couple hundred yards to the sand beach on the opposite side of the river.
Parking/Restroom Information Parking and restrooms are available at the boat launch of the Headquarters Unit.
Other Information This Unit is closed during hours of darkness.
This is a popular waterfowl hunting area. A boat is needed to access the Unit from the Headquarters boat launch. Be aware of river and tidal conditions. A series of dikes provides easy walking access once you are on the island.
Barley and corn are grown on the Island Unit to enhance food resources for wintering waterfowl.
A Discover Pass or WDFW Vehicle Access Pass
is required on all WDFW lands. Learn more at DiscoverPass.wa.gov