OLYMPIA – Clam diggers today got a green light to proceed with a five-day razor clam dig on ocean beaches scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 19.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig – the second of two openings this month – after marine toxin tests showed that the clams on all four beaches are safe to eat.
Two beaches – Long Beach and Twin Harbors – will open for digging April 19 through April 22 until noon each day, plus April 23 until 1 p.m. Copalis and Mocrocks will be open for digging April 21-22 until noon and April 23 until 1 p.m. under that plan.
Fishery managers agreed to an extra hour of digging Saturday, April 23, because low tide won’t occur until 11:27 a.m. that morning, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
Ayres noted that a coastwide beach cleanup is also scheduled that day, so diggers may encounter people carrying plastic bags as well as clam shovels. Last year, volunteers for CoastSavers removed 16 tons of trash along the Washington coastline and will have sign-up stations at a number of beaches.
“Diggers who get their limits early might want to pitch in,” Ayres said.
Under state 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.
Dates and morning low tides for the upcoming dig are:
- April 19 (Tuesday), 8:07 a.m. (-1.8 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- April 20 (Wednesday), 8:54 a.m. (-1.7 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- April 21 (Thursday), 9:42 a.m. (-1.4 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks
- April 22 (Friday), 10:33 a.m. (-0.8 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks
- April 23 (Saturday), 11:27 a.m. (-0.2 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks – digging allowed until 1 p.m.
Kalaloch Beach is closed to razor-clam digging until further notice for an assessment of the clam population on the beach. The beach, managed in coordination with the National Park Service, is located inside Olympic National Park.
At Long Beach and Twin Harbors, the upland portions of the beach are also closed to protect nesting western snowy plovers, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
“The birds are particularly vulnerable this time of year,” Ayres said. “Signs clearly mark the area and instruct people to stay on the hard-packed sand.”
The closed upland portion at each beach includes the area above the mean high tide line. At Long Beach, the closed areas are located north of the Oysterville Road from the state park boundary north to Leadbetter Point. At Twin Harbors, the closed areas are located from just south of Midway Beach Road to the first beach-access trail at Grayland Beach State Park.
Ayres also reminds diggers age 15 or older that they must purchase a 2011-12 license to participate in the April openings, since all 2010-11 state fishing licenses expired March 31. “We plan to announce additional digging opportunities in May, so diggers may want to take that into account,” he said.
Various licenses, ranging from a three-day razor-clam license to a multi-species combination license, are avaiIable online (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from sporting goods stores and other retail license dealers around the state.
The four razor-clam beaches set to open for the upcoming dig are:
- Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
- Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from Cape Shoalwater to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
- Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
- Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Pacific Beach and Moclips.