OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has tentatively scheduled a three-day razor clam dig at four beaches Jan. 27-29, followed by another dig at all five ocean beaches Feb. 24-26.
Final word on both digs will be announced once toxin tests determine whether clams on those beaches remain safe to eat. Both openings would be geared to evening tides, with no digging allowed before noon.
The four beaches tentatively scheduled to open for razor-clam digging later this month are Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Kalaloch. The National Park Service scheduled the dig at Kalaloch, which is within Olympic National Park, to coincide with those at the other beaches.
Copalis Beach will remain closed to digging in January to ensure that enough clams are available for harvest in April, when the tides allow for morning digs, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
Ayres noted, however, that Copalis Beach is tentatively scheduled to open for digging along with the other four beaches Feb. 24-26.
“Copalis is a very popular beach, and it was clear that we weren’t going to have enough harvestable clams to last through the spring season,” Ayres said. “Since the weather is usually better in February, it made more sense to take a break this month.”
Despite rough weather during the last opening, held Dec. 30-Jan. 1, diggers harvested more than 50,000 razor clams at Copalis Beach alone. Coastwide, the average digger took 6.7 clams per day, well short of the 15-clam limit, Ayres said.
“But a lot of the more experienced, better-prepared diggers did get their limit,” he said. “A lot depended on finding the right location, being able to spot ‘shows’ and having a good lantern.”
“Shows” are small holes in the sand, indicating the presence of a clam below the surface.
Low evening tides during the digs tentatively scheduled in January and February are:
- Friday, Jan. 27: 5 p.m., -0.3 ft,
- Saturday, Jan. 28: 5:49 p.m., -0.7 ft.
- Sunday, Jan. 29: 6:34 p.m., -1.0 ft.
- Friday, Feb. 24: 3:43 p.m. +0.4 ft.
- Saturday, Feb. 25: 4:37 p.m. -0.2 ft.
- Sunday, Feb. 26: 5:25 p.m., -0.5 ft.
Locations of the five 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.
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,” Laitner said. “With no streetlights or lighted buildings in the area, flashlights or lanterns are a necessity.”
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.