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
Samish Unit
WDFW purchased 410 acres of agricultural land between Samish Island Road and Padilla Bay in northwest Skagit County between 1996 and 2000. Past and current wetland enhancement projects have improved water management and wetland function of the Unit over the years. Components of these projects, developed in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, include the addition of 23 shallow sculpted ponds, levees, swales, water control structures, and connecting ponds to the network of drainage ditches. These projects allow WDFW to manage wetland processes in a highly altered (diked and drained) system in an attempt to mimic seasonal freshwater wetland habitat while maintaining the ability to drain and plant waterfowl forage crops on a portion of the Unit.

The ability to shallowly flood wetland plant communities combined with agricultural forage crops (Approximately 180 acres combined of corn, barley, fava beans) provide winter food resources that supports a wide variety of waterfowl and water birds that use these areas during migration and over the winter.

Recreational activities include waterfowl hunting, wildlife viewing of waterfowl, shorebirds, birds of prey and other wildlife, a two-day youth-only waterfowl and pheasant hunt, and a five-day senior-only pheasant hunt.

The Samish Unit is subject to the “15 shell daily limit” rule. 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 for more shells after entering the field with their 15 shells.

There are hunting and viewing blinds situated throughout the Samish Unit, most of which are on the sculpted ponds. For the purpose of waterfowl hunting, hunters are not required to hunt from a blind.

Project partners and volunteers including Ducks Unlimited and the Washington Waterfowl Association (WWA) are working with WDFW to improve waterfowl habitat, use, and recreational access and opportunities on the site. WWA volunteers give back to the area by sponsoring an after hunting season site cleanup party, blind construction, and shell receptacle for disposal of spent shells.

The site includes a parking area for about 30 vehicles and a short paved trail to the first pond.

Viewing Opportunities


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

  • Small Mammals
  • Other

  • Butterflies
  • Reptiles/Amphibians
  • How to Get Here
    Access Site #1
    Driving Directions
    From Interstate 5, go west on Highway 20 to the Bayview-Edison Road. Turn right (north) and follow the Bayview-Edison Road through Bayview, past the state park and down onto the Samish Flats until the road ends at a "T" intersection. Turn left onto Samish Island Road and proceed until the 90-degree turn to the north. The parking area is straight ahead at the corner.
    Parking/Restroom Information
    Parking and restroom facilities are available.
    Other Information
    This Unit is closed during hours of darkness except during legal hunting seasons.
    Unique Features
    This is a popular waterfowl hunting and wildlife watching site planted with barley, corn, and fava bean to enhance food resources for wintering waterfowl. During the winter months evening waterfowl feeding flights can be quite impressive.

    The site is also popular for viewing raptors in the Samish Flats.

    Other Information
    A 15-shell restriction is in place on this Unit. Please refer to the waterfowl regulations for more information.
    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.