OLYMPIA - Washington's razor clam season will get off to an early start this year with an evening dig at Twin Harbors beach set for Sept. 19-23.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig after marine toxin tests confirmed the clams on those two beaches are safe to eat.
Although the department is still developing the digging schedule for fall, state fishery managers saw no reason to delay approving a dig at Twin Harbors, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
"We have an huge number of clams available for harvest this season - particularly at Twin Harbors," Ayres said. "There are only so many good clamming tides during the year, and we decided there was no time to waste in getting started."
Twin Harbors Beach extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor. Clam digging will be allowed there between noon and midnight, although Ayres suggests arriving at the beach one to two hours before evening low tide for best results.
Evening low tides during the upcoming dig are as follows:
- Sept. 19, Thursday, 7:13 p.m.; -0.3 feet
- Sept. 20, Friday, 7:57 p.m.; -0.5 feet
- Sept. 21, Saturday, 8:39 p.m.; -0.5 feet
- Sept. 22, Sunday, 9:21 p.m.; -0.3 feet
- Sept. 23, Monday, 10:04 p.m.; 0.0 feet
Under state rules, harvesters may take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of size or condition. Each digger's limit must be kept in a separate container.
All diggers must have an applicable 2013-14 fishing license to dig razor clams on any beach. A license is required for anyone age 15 or older.
Ayres said WDFW will announce a digging schedule for all state razor clam beaches in the next few weeks, after the public has had a chance to comment on the department's annual stock assessment and plans for the upcoming season. That report is posted on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.
State shellfish managers will discuss those plans at a public meeting Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. at the City of Long Beach Depot, located at 102 Third St., NW. Written comments can be submitted to email@example.com through Sept. 30.
Several types of licenses, ranging from a combination fishing license to a three-day razor clam license, are available online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/. Fishing licenses can also be purchased from sporting goods stores and other vendors, listed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/