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Poggie Club secures public access to Chico Creek

New signs went up Thanksgiving weekend on the posts to which the Kitsap Poggie Club chained trash cans to help ensure fishermen would have access to the Chico Creek estuary. A homeowner placed no-trespassing signs and insisted on permission slips for visitors this year to control a litter problem he says he struggled with. - Photo by Valentina Petrova
New signs went up Thanksgiving weekend on the posts to which the Kitsap Poggie Club chained trash cans to help ensure fishermen would have access to the Chico Creek estuary. A homeowner placed no-trespassing signs and insisted on permission slips for visitors this year to control a litter problem he says he struggled with.
— image credit: Photo by Valentina Petrova

For more than eight years now, Jason Ewert of Woodinville has driven to the mouth of Chico Creek for some morning-after-Thanksgiving fishing.

“It’s tradition to catch the Thanksgiving chum,” he said Friday, a little before 9 a.m. when he and his friends, Bryan Berkompas of Bothell and Jason Griffitch of Mount Vernon, were getting the gear out of the car in which they carpooled from the Seattle-side of Puget Sound.

This year, though, the tradition was jeopardized. Ewert said he had been reading on Washingtonflyfishing.com that the access to the creek might be cut off.

“It almost deterred me from coming,” Ewert said.

He came anyway, but walked down the path along the creek mouth first to read the signs posted there — no-trespassing notices nailed to a few trees, and more official-looking private property signs mounted above trash cans chained to cemented poles.

“Before gearing up I ran down there to check it out,” Ewert said. “Because you want to respect people’s property rights.”

Kitsap Poggie Club board member Henry Altenburg had also braved the rainy post-holiday morning and assured Ewert and his friends Chico Creek was open to fishermen.

A local homeowner had posted the no-trespassing signs in mid-September, just before the salmon arrived. He was worried about littering problems and requested those who wished to pass through the path along the creek, what he says is his land, to come up to his house and fill out a permission slip.

The morning after the holiday, Travis Bosworth, former fishing department manager at the Silverdale Sportsman’s Warehouse, and his stepson, 13-year-old Ali Dawoodi, were getting ready for some catch-and-release chum fishing.

Standing on the narrow road, just above the Chico Creek culvert, they gazed at several large dark shapes gliding smoothly through the water. Bosworth explained the chum salmon were resting before they tackle the fast-paced water upstream, where they are headed to spawn.

“He’s never caught a fish until he met me,” Bosworth said about his stepson. “That’s why all the questions from him.”

The rainy morning at the mouth of Chico Creek was Bosworth’s last chance to fish in the area. Tuesday he and his family moved to Idaho. He will transfer to work at a Sportsman’s Warehouse there and said he hopes the local branch of the store will keep up with its commitment to help keep Chico Creek clean during fishing season.

The Silverdale store and the Kitsap Poggie Club teamed up last month to ensure the public’s access to the creek’s mouth at Chico Bay.

“I’d heard through the grapevine that the people who own the property had set up a permission slip (system),” Altenburg said. “I myself love to fly fish and this is one of my favorite areas.”

After talking with the homeowner who posted the signs, Floyd Kirkpatrick, Alternburg found out the concern was related to the garbage fishermen accumulate in the area. The first weekend in November, Kitsap Poggie Club members set up trash cans and chained them to two sets of galvanized steel poles they installed.

Though the chum season wraps up around Thanksgiving weekend, or shortly after, the club members will leave the trash containers in until mid-December when they will unchain them and put them away until the salmon return next fall.

The trash cans and permanent poles set the Kitsap Poggie Club back about $75 said the group’s president Rey Frederick. The members also are volunteering to look after the trash cans and empty them

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