OLYMPIA – Kalaloch Beach will open for razor clam digging along with three other ocean beaches Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 27-29) on evening tides, fishery managers announced.
Kalaloch, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Long Beach will all be open for razor clam digging from noon until midnight each day.
Confirmation of the dig at Kalaloch was delayed last week when heavy surf prevented biologists from collecting enough clams at the beach to test for marine toxins.
Samples dug this week confirmed the clams at Kalaloch – like those at the other three beaches – are safe to eat, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“Based on our experience this season, we didn’t expect to find any marine toxin problems, but public health protocols are pretty strict when it comes to testing,” Ayres said. “We’re just glad to be able to announce that Kalaloch will open along with the other three beaches.”
Joining in this week’s test dig were biologists from WDFW and Olympic National Park, which cooperatively manage the recreational razor clam fishery at Kalaloch.
Noting that the surf is still fairly heavy, Park Superintendent Bill Laitner urged clam diggers to be especially careful during this week’s dig.
“Kalaloch is considerably more remote than the other clamming beaches, and visitors should be prepared for primitive conditions,” said Laitner. “With no streetlights or lighted buildings in the area, flashlights or lanterns are a necessity.”
At Kalaloch and the other three beaches, Ayres recommends that diggers hit the beach at least an hour before low tide for best results.
Evening low tides for the Jan. 27-29 dig 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.
Ayres noted that Copalis Beach will remain closed to digging this month to ensure that enough clams are available for harvest in April, when the tides allow for morning digs. The closed beach lies between the Grays Harbor North Jetty and the Copalis River and includes the Ocean Shores and Ocean City areas.
“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 later in the year, it made sense to take a break this month.”
However, Copalis Beach is tentatively scheduled to open for digging along with the other four beaches Feb. 24-26 on evening tides, Ayres said. The decision about whether to proceed with that dig will be made next month, after another round of marine toxin tests has been completed, he said.
The four beaches open to digging Jan. 27-29 are:
- Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula.
- Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the mouth of Grays Harbor.
- 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.
- Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the south beach campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park.
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.