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WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE     Print Version
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


October 11, 2005
Contact: Dan Ayres, WDFW, (360) 249-4628
Barbara Maynes, ONP, (360) 565-3005

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Razor clam dig starts Saturday on coast

MONTESANO – Clam diggers today got the green light to proceed with the first razor clam dig of the fall season, starting Saturday, Oct. 15, on evening tides at all five of Washington's ocean beaches.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the digs at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches after a series of marine toxin tests confirmed that the clams there are safe to eat. The National Park Service approved the digs at Kalaloch Beach, which is located within Olympic National Park, to coincide with those at the other coastal beaches.

All five beaches will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Oct. 15-17. A fourth evening of digging is also scheduled Tuesday, Oct. 18, at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks, where last year’s harvest fell short of the number of clams available.

No digging will be allowed before noon on any of those days.

“Our experience last year showed that we have enough clams on those two beaches to provide some additional days of digging,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “Although fewer clams will be available for harvest coastwide than last year, we still expect a season of good digging."

Olympic National Park superintendent Bill Laitner recommended taking safety precautions during night digs, especially at Kalaloch. “Kalaloch is considerably more remote than the other clamming beaches, and visitors should be prepared for primitive conditions. With no streetlights or lighted buildings in the area, flashlights or lanterns are a necessity.”

Under WDFW rules, harvesters may take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 taken, regardless of size or condition. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.

A license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Any 2005 annual shellfish/seaweed license is still valid. Another option is a "razor-clam-only" license available in annual and 3-day versions. Descriptions of the various licensing options are available on the WDFW website at http://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.

To help ease the pressure on coastal dealers, WDFW will sell licenses at the Willapa Bay Field Station, 26700 Sandridge Road, Ocean Park, on the Long Beach Peninsula. The field station, also known as the "Nahcotta Lab," will sell licenses Friday, Oct. 14 (noon. to 6 p.m.), Saturday, Oct. 15 (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Sunday, Oct.16 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.), and Monday, Oct. 17 (10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m).

For best results, Ayres recommends that clam enthusiasts start digging at least one hour before low tide. Low tides during the opening this month are:

  • Saturday, Oct. 15, 5:56 p.m., +0.3 feet, all beaches
  • Sunday, Oct. 16, 6:26 p.m., -0.5 feet, all beaches
  • Monday, Oct. 17, 7:13 p.m., -1.0 feet, all beaches
  • Tuesday, Oct. 18, 7:58 p.m., -1.2 feet, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks only

Locations of the five beaches that will open to razor-clam digging Saturday are:

  • Long Beach, from the Columbia River north jetty to Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula.
  • Twin Harbors, from the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor south to the mouth of Willapa Bay.
  • Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River and includes the Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
  • Mocrocks Beach, from the Copalis River to the Moclips River.
  • Kalaloch Beach, from South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in Olympic National Park. Visitors to the park are advised to consult area bulletin boards for park safety and other information.

Digging is prohibited in the three one-quarter-mile-wide razor clam reserves, which are marked by 10-foot metal poles with signs. The reserves are located just south of the Ocean City access road on Copalis Beach, on the county line approach to Twin Harbors Beach, and 2.8 miles north of the Oysterville access road on Long Beach.