South Whidbey

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Ron Crawford, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. Thinking about heading over to the southern portion of Whidbey this weekend.

    Yes - I have done my homework on the maps and all, and I think I have my target beaches in mind.

    Lets see if I can ask a question that you can respond to without disclosing any favorite spots......

    It seems to me that public access to good beaches is really limited, so my plans always include some walking from the closest access. I intend to park and gear up at a few public access points and then walk a mile or so on the beach to get to my target beaches. Has anybody had any problems over there walking along the beach to get to a good spot? Is the beach in front of a house considered private property? Am I asking for trouble?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. ray helaers

    ray helaers New Member

    Yes you're asking for trouble. But you shouldn't have too much problem figuring where you can go and where you can't; most people are pretty diligent about posting their private beaches, which are just about all of them outside the small public access points. If it's not posted go ahead, but if someone comes down and kicks you off, don't be surprised, and it's probably best to be polite as you can and take their word for it. Keep in mind that in Puget Sound, property owners retain rights down to the mean LOW WATER MARK, so they can keep you off the entire tidelands. Sucks, but it is what it is.
  3. MrP

    MrP Member

    Ray is correct, on Puget Sound, property lines go down to the mean low water mark.

    I have walked a number of Washington salt water beaches in four different counties. The majority of owners do not have a no trespassing sign. Where you will see it the most often is on property that is next to or near public access. You are asking for trouble assuming that just because you don't see every piece of property posted that it is okay to walk across it or to stop and fish from that property.

    Let's say you have a big lot where you live. Let's say someone you don't know parked on the street in front of your house and then started practicing casting in your yard or maybe started kicking a soccer ball around in your yard. The way you would perceive that is the way that many, certainly not all, but many waterfront property owners perceive someone who stops to fish in front of their home or cabin.

    A great example is Bush Point. There is a light house there. Many years ago, my aunt and uncle built the cabin/home immediately to the right of the light house. I fished with Uncle Ed several times in front of his cabin. We walked the beach and also fished in front of other people's property. I was a guest so it was okay with other property owners. Otherwise they see it as trespassing.

    Good luck with your new adventure RNH. Fishing saltwater beaches is lots of fun.
  4. Thanks for the reply Mr P and Ray Helaers - wow the private beach to mean water line is a bummer. I wish it was like the rivers and public below high water line. Oh well (as you said) it is what it is.

    I guess I am just going to have to try this out : my plan is to park in a public area and walk (quickly) across less that a dozen private beaches to get to a wild area below steep bluffs where I intend to fish. I can understand peoples annoyance at someone fishing in their "yard". I just want to zip across it for a split second. I usually start fishing at 5:30 so I am not too worried about the outbound walk. I fear the shotgun on my return walk though.

    Has anyone ever had a problem fishing at the foot of a bug bluff? I suppose that land is private and owned by whoever has the house up on top of the bluff. I guess I am banking on the idea that if they can't get down the bluff to their beach, nor can they even see it, will they really mind if I fish on it.

    Dang it - maybe I just need to get a boat.
  5. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

    If you park at Bush Point behind the boat launch and walk down to the beach you will see a sign that the homeowners have erected that asks that you not fish in front of their homes and that it is OK to walk through and fish the public beach beyond. You can walk all the way to Lagoon Point past the State Park if you wish. The agreement was reached between the homeowners, police and fishing clubs. That seems pretty reasonable to me as I have caught fish all along that beach while on foot and wading.

    Good luck,
  6. ceviche

    ceviche Active Member

    We all do... :beathead:
  7. The access issue is a drag, but as a flyfisher, you can often get away with quiet, respectful fishing on many "private" beaches. For example:

    One day a few Septembers ago, I was at a retreat in the South Sound. Wanting to access a long, wild beach area on foot from the retreat center, I set out down an un-posted (though no doubt "private") beach in front of some houses to get to the wild beach beneath the bluffs beyond.

    As I was walking, I saw a salmon jump right in front of the houses, then another. Crap! I wanted to stop and fish, but, worrying that I'd get asked to leave at the very start of my fishing day, I continued on. I quickly passed the houses and fished a couple of miles of beautiful beach that day, with just one large cutthroat to hand and no other sign of salmon.

    On the way back, I again saw salmon jumping right in front of the houses. This being the end of the day, I decided to risk it and fish to the rising salmon; if the homeowners tossed me out it was almost dark anyway, so what the heck. Long story short, I ended up hooking eight or nine large coho in the remaining hour of daylight. At one point, a homeowner came down to watch (he'd not been doing so well with his buzz-bombs) and with his okay, I fished the same spot the next morning and got a few more fish to hand before the bite died.

    I've fished there since - though in respect for property owners always from my boat - and there always seems to be fish right off that stretch of beach. I would never have found this honey-hole without taking that calculated risk to fish it on foot that first day. My take on the whole thing is get Harvey Manning's book to find "secret" public access, be as respectful as possible (this includes leaving when asked, though I have never been asked in many, many years of beach explorations), and go for it. You never know what you'll find!