OLYMPIA - Clam diggers today got the green light to proceed with a razor clam dig at four ocean beaches starting Saturday, Dec. 2 on evening tides.
Fishery managers gave final approval for the dig at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, and Kalaloch beaches after marine toxin tests found that clams on those beaches are safe to eat.
All four beaches will be open for clam digging Dec. 2-3 between the hours of noon and midnight each day. The National Park Service scheduled the dig at Kalaloch to coincide with those at the other beaches. Twin Harbors will also be open for a third day of digging from noon to midnight Dec. 4.
As with the opening earlier this month, Copalis Beach will remain closed to digging due to the low number of clams in the total allowable catch.
But finding clams at the other four beaches hasn't been a problem for most diggers this season, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
"Despite rough weather, most diggers got their 15-clam limits during the last opening," Ayres said. "We expect that will hold true during the upcoming dig, too."
The best time to start digging is an hour or two before low tide, said Ayres, who recommends taking a lantern for evening digs. Bill Laitner, Superintendent of Olympic National Park, emphasized that this is particularly true at Kalaoch Beach.
"Kalaloch is more remote than other clamming beaches in the state, and people should remember that there are no streetlights or lighted buildings in the area," Laitner said. "Flashlights or lanterns are a must for all after-dark digs."
Dates and evening low tides for the upcoming dig are as follows:
- Saturday, Dec. 2 (4:16 p.m. -0.4) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- Sunday, Dec. 3 (5:07 p.m. -1.0) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- Monday, Dec. 4 (5:56 p.m. -1.3) Twin Harbors only
Ayres noted that fishery managers have tentatively scheduled another dig over the New Year's holiday. If upcoming marine toxin tests are favorable, an evening dig will be held Dec. 31 at all five ocean beaches - including Copalis - followed by another Jan. 1 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Kalaloch. One beach, Twin Harbors, would also remain open for an evening dig Jan. 2.
"We'll announce final word on a New Year's dig once we see the test results," Ayres said.
Under state rules, harvesters are allowed to take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of size or condition. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.
Locations of the razor-clam digging 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.
- 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.
A license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Any 2006 annual shellfish/seaweed or combination fishing license is still valid. Another option is a razor-clam-only license available in annual or three-day only versions. Descriptions of the various licensing options are available on the WDFW website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/.