A whole lot of freelance work went into keeping salmon anglers out of the “bottomless stinky mud” along the lower Samish, but tomorrow it all comes out.
A work party tomorrow on the western Skagit County river will remove a wooden pallet walkway built on private land.
This area on the east side of the Samish just upstream of the Bayview-Edison Road bridge was open to anglers in 2017, but not this year, and now the landowner is unhappy about the unauthorized trail of 2-bys.
The situation has also caught the attention of county officials.
“You can’t put anything in the water without a permit,” says spokeswoman Bronlea Mishler.
It’s just the latest way the Samish has given state salmon managers a headache over the years.
Powered by plentiful hatchery Chinook and coho that are meant for harvest, it’s also infamous for being an enforcement nightmare and less-than-stellar behavior by anglers often packed wader to wader as the run peaks this time of year.
“That fishery launched our Poop Smart campaign,” notes Mishler.
(Official advice from the PS website: “Don’t just drop a deuce anywhere. If you’re planning your gear and route, you’ve got to plan for this, too … When you do the right thing, you help keep the woods clean and fishing areas open.”)
While the land upstream of the bridge on the west side of the river is state property, it’s also lined by a diking district’s levee and because of the way the Samish flows, isn’t as productive as the east side.
That shore has seen changing access policies as it’s been owned or leased by different parties over the years. In the past, walkways have come off a dike to the water, but this year the diking district doesn’t want anybody on the levee.
That led to the walkway which has even been anchored in places with rebar.
“Pretty industrious,” notes biologist Brett Barkdull. “It’s going to be a fair amount of work to remove them.”
He says anglers and others will be helping at the work party.