OLYMPIA - Clam diggers today got the green light to proceed with a razor clam dig Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 19-21, on evening tides at two coastal beaches in Washington.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved digs all three days at Long Beach and Twin Harbors after a series of marine toxin tests confirmed that the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.
Surf conditions, however, could pose a challenge for some diggers, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
"We want to urge everyone to exercise caution out there on the beach," Ayres said. "The surf is up on the coast right now, so diggers may have to work a little harder for their clams."
Digging will be permitted only after noon during the three-day opening at Long Beach and Twin Harbors Beach.
The state's three other coastal razor clam beaches will remain closed to digging this month. WDFW canceled a proposed opening at Kalaloch after recent tests determined that marine toxin levels in clams sampled at that beach exceeded state and federal health standards.
Copalis and Mocrocks beaches will also remain closed to digging, because the season's non-tribal catch allocation has already been reached at those two beaches during previous digs, Ayres said.
Ayres said WDFW is considering another opening in April, but first needs to assess the results of this week's dig.
"We think we'll have enough clams at some beaches for at least one more dig this season, but it's hard to say for sure until we see the results of this week's harvest," 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. Diggers must have a valid 2003-04 license to participate.
For best results, Ayres recommends that clam enthusiasts start digging at least one hour before low tide. Low tides during the three-day opening this week are as follows:
- Thursday, Feb. 19 - 6:01 p.m. (-0.4 feet)
- Friday, Feb. 20 - 6:43 p.m. (-0.3 feet)
- Saturday, Feb. 21 - 7:22 p.m. (0.0 feet)
The two beaches scheduled to open for razor-clam digging this month are defined as follows:
- Long Beach extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula.
- Twin Harbors Beach extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the mouth of Grays Harbor.
The three beaches not scheduled to open for razor-clam digging this week are:
- Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the south beach campground to Brown's Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park.
- Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor North Jetty to the Copalis River, and includes beaches near Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut and Ocean City.
- Mocrocks Beach 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.