Wildlife Area Location

Belinda Rotton
21961 Wylie Road
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273
(360) 445-4441
(360) 445-2093 fax

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Skagit Wildlife Area
Island Unit
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.

In 2002, an estuary restoration project (Deepwater Slough) removed two dams on that slough and reconfigured 14,000 feet of dikes to reconnect flow from Freshwater Slough to six distributary channels of the Skagit River. This returned intertidal connectivity to 230 acres of estuary habitat. The project is estimated to provide rearing habitat for up to 2,000 additional Chinook salmon, as well as migratory waterfowl and shorebird habitat.

On the remaining agricultural acreage, WDFW continues to plant 130 acres of forage annually for wintering waterfowl and increased hunting opportunities. These crops include barley, corn, fava beans, and millet. Some areas of the Island Unit are also managed for moist-soil plants that are high-value winter forage for ducks, including wild millet, smartweed, yellow nutsedge, Biden, and foxtail (marsh bristle grass). Two water control structures allow for shallow flooding of agricultural fields.

Waterfowl hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and hiking are allowed; access is by boat only to four landing sites on Freshwater and Steamboat Sloughs. The Island Unit is subject to a 15-shell daily limit. According to WAC 232-16-770, “It is unlawful to have in possession more than 15 shotgun shells or to fire (shoot) more than 15 shells in one day” on this Unit. Hunters are not allowed to return to their vehicle or boat for more shells after entering the field with their 15 shells.

Skagit Wildlife Area - Island Unit
Boat Landing Sites

Viewing Opportunities


  • Birds of Prey
  • Eagles
  • Marine Birds
  • Shorebirds
  • Songbirds
  • Upland Birds
  • Wading Birds
  • Waterfowl
  • Mammals

  • Deer
  • Small Mammals
  • Other

  • Butterflies
  • Reptiles/Amphibians
  • How to Get Here
    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 upstream (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 at the Headquarters Unit.
    Other Information
    This Unit is closed during hours of darkness except during legal hunting seasons.
    Unique Features
    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.
    Other Information
    A mixture of natural and agricultural crops is grown on the Island Unit to enhance food resources for wintering waterfowl and provide improved hunting opportunity.
    Skagit Wildlife Area Waterfowl Hunting Guide
    Wildlife Area Habitat Conservation Plans
    Weekender Report
    Wildlife Viewing Guides
    Accessing Washington's Outdoors
    Find a Water Access Site
    GoHunt - Interactive Mapping
    Green Dot Maps
    • Bird watching
    • Hunting
    • Wildlife viewing

    If you are Hunting or Fishing, remember to check all current regulations.

    Activities may include restrictions or require permits. Please see Public Conduct Rules for more information.