OLYMPIA – The first razor-clam dig of the fall season will get under way Oct. 6 at all five ocean beaches if upcoming tests show the clams are safe to eat, fishery managers announced today.
Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch beaches are all tentatively scheduled to open Oct. 6-8 on evening tides. A fourth evening of digging is also scheduled Oct. 9 at Twin Harbors and Long Beach only.
Digging will be restricted to the hours between noon and midnight each day at all five beaches.
"Overall, razor clam populations are up on the beaches south of Grays Harbor and down some compared to last year on those beaches to the north,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “This will likely mean more digging opportunities at Long Beach and Twin Harbors during the 2006-07 season."
Dates for openings in November and December will be announced after WDFW and the National Park Service review harvest levels during the October dig. The National Park Service schedules the proposed digs at Kalaloch Beach, which is located within the Olympic National Park, to coincide with those at other coastal beaches.
Final approval for the digs at all beaches is contingent on the results of marine toxin tests.
Olympic National Park superintendent Bill Laitner added a safety note for evening clam diggers, especially at Kalaloch. “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. Flashlights or lanterns are a must for all after-dark digs.”
The best time to start digging is an hour or two before low tide, said Ayres, who recommends taking a lantern for evening digs at all beaches.
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.
A license is required for anyone age 15 or older. Any 2006 annual shellfish/seaweed 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/.
Tentative opening dates and evening low tides are:
- Friday, Oct. 6 (6:39 p.m. -0.6) all beaches
- Saturday, Oct. 7 (7:28 p.m. -1.3) all beaches
- Sunday, Oct. 8 (8:16 p.m. -1.6) all beaches
- Monday, Oct. 9 (9:03 p.m. -1.6) Twin Harbors and Long Beach only
Beaches tentatively scheduled to open for digging those days 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.
- 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, 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.