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


October 13, 2006
Contact: Dan Ayres, WDFW, (360) 249-4628
Barbara Maynes, ONP, (360) 565-3005

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Next razor clam digs set to start Nov. 3 on coast

OLYMPIA – Fishery managers have announced three more razor clam digs through the end of the year, the first tentatively set to begin Nov. 3 at three ocean beaches.

Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks will open for digging from noon until midnight Nov. 3-5 if marine toxin tests show the clams on those beaches are safe to eat, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today. A fourth evening of digging is tentatively scheduled Nov. 6 at Twin Harbors only.

No digging will be allowed before noon any of those days or during subsequent digs announced for December and January.

Two beaches—Copalis Beach and Kalaloch Beach—will remain closed to clam digging in November. The beach at Copalis will be closed due to the low number of clams in the total allowable catch, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

Kalaloch Beach, which is located within Olympic National Park, will also be closed to razor clam digging in November, which coincides with the opening of elk hunting season.

"Our ranger staff will be focused on providing for public safety during the first busy days of the elk hunt," said Olympic National Park Superintendent Bill Laitner. "We look forward to razor clam digs throughout the rest of the season."

Considerable hunting occurs along the park's boundary, requiring increased ranger patrols to prevent illegal hunting within Olympic National Park and to protect park visitors who may be sightseeing or hiking close to the boundary, Laitner said.

WDFW and Olympic National Park have both tentatively scheduled more digs Dec. 2-3. Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Kalaloch beaches would open to razor clam digging pending the results of a new series of marine toxin tests. Copalis Beach will again be closed to clam digging due to the low number of clams in the total allowable catch. Twin Harbors only would be open one additional day, Dec. 4.

A dig is also tentatively scheduled over the New Year’s holiday on Dec. 31 on all five ocean beaches (including Copalis), and continuing Jan. 1 on Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Kalaloch and at Twin Harbors only on Jan. 2. Final approval is contingent upon marine toxin tests determining if the clams are safe to eat.

“The low tide schedule also allowed for a New Years Eve razor clam dig last year,” said Ayres. “Many folks stayed on the beach long after the low tide, gathering with friends around campfires and enjoying a uniquely Northwest tradition for welcoming in the new year.”

Those digs were scheduled after fishery managers reviewed the harvest data from the recent season opener Oct. 6-9, said Ayres.

“The diggers who hit the beaches earlier this month found great weather and excellent surf conditions,” he said, adding that the optimal conditions resulted in harvest levels that were generally higher than expected.

Tens of thousands of diggers turned out over the October opener to harvest 810,000 clams coast-wide, according to Ayres. “That came very close to the 15-clam daily limit,” he said.

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 limit must be kept in a separate container.

For best results, start digging at least one hour before low tide. Low tides for the digs are:

  • Friday, Nov. 3 (4:32 pm -0.3) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Saturday, Nov. 4 (5:23 pm -1.1) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Sunday, Nov. 5 (6:11 pm -1.6) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Monday, Nov. 6 (6:59 pm -1.7) Twin Harbors only
  • Saturday, Dec. 2 (4:16 pm -0.4) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch)
  • Sunday, Dec. 3 (5:07 pm -1.0) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Monday, Dec. 4 (5:56 pm -1.3) Twin Harbors only
  • Sunday, Dec. 31 (4:00 pm -0.0) all beaches, including Copalis
  • Monday, Jan. 1, (4:53 pm -0.3) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Kalaloch
  • Tuesday, Jan. 2, (5:43pm -0.5) Twin Harbors only

Locations of the razor-clam digging beaches 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.

A license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Any 2006 annual shellfish/seaweed, razor clam or combination license is still valid. Licenses can be purchased via the Internet at http://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, by telephone (1-866-246-9453) or in person at more than 600 license vendors throughout the state. A list of vendors can be found at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/vendors.

For anyone needing to purchase a license, Ayres strongly recommends doing so before they leave home to avoid long lines that often form at coastal license dealers.

Digging is prohibited in the three 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.