OLYMPIA – Hoping to dig razor clams one last time this spring?
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is reminding prospective diggers that they will need a valid 2006-07 license to participate in the dig tentatively set to begin April 28 at four ocean beaches. Previous annual licenses expired March 31.
Final word on the dig – the last scheduled for the spring season – will be announced by April 25 after marine toxin tests have determined whether the clams are safe to eat, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
If results are favorable, more than 20,000 people are expected to descend on coastal beaches for another chance to dig razor clams, he said.
For that reason, Ayres strongly advises prospective diggers to purchase a 2006-07 license before they leave home.
“Those who wait could face long lines at licensing outlets on the coast, he said. “Nobody wants to be standing in line to buy a license at low tide.”
Four beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis – are tentatively scheduled to open for digging April 28-30 on morning tides. A fourth day of digging is also scheduled May 1 at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.
Each day’s dig on those beaches must be completed by noon.
As previously announced, Kalaloch Beach will not reopen to razor clam digging this season, due to concerns about the low abundance of clams on the beach in recent months. WDFW and Olympic National Park, which cooperatively manage the recreational razor clam fishery at Kalaloch, are investigating the apparent low abundance of razor clams on that beach.
Razor clam diggers have several licensing options, including annual razor clam, shellfish/seaweed or combination licenses, all valid through March 31, 2007. Diggers can also purchase a three-day razor clam license, or a temporary combination license valid from one to five days.
Fishing and hunting licenses are available online (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), via WDFW’s toll-free phone line (1-866-246-9453) and from retail dealers throughout the state (http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/vendors).
Once on the beach, Ayres recommends that clam enthusiasts start digging at least one hour before low tide. Low morning tides during the planned digs are as follows:
- Friday, April 28 - 7:36 a.m., -1.8 ft.
- Saturday, April 29 - 8:21 a.m., -1.8 ft.
- Sunday, April 30 - 9:06 a.m., -1.6 ft.
- Monday, May 1 - 9:50 a.m., -1.1 (Twin Harbors and Mocrocks only)
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.