WDFW approves five days of digging, starting Monday

Date
Contact

Dan Ayres, 360-249-4628; Jason Wettstein, 360-902-2254

Kid digging into beach searching for razor clams.
Razor clamming at Twin Harbors Colin and Candia Mathieson

OLYMPIA - Razor clam diggers can return to ocean beaches for five days of digging beginning Dec. 23 and continuing through Dec. 29 with a break in the middle for the Christmas holiday.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig on evening low tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

“Five days of digging, four beach – es, three flashlights . . . and ext-ra batt-er-ies,” sang Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

“So, OK, the old holiday song doesn’t quite fit, but this is going to be fun,” added Ayres, as he conveyed the news on new digs.

The approved dig is for the following beaches, dates and low tides:

  • December 23, Monday, 4:35 pm, -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • December 26, Thursday, 6:47 pm, -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • December 27, Friday, 7:26 pm, -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • December 28, Saturday, 8:05 pm, -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • December 29, Sunday, 8:43 pm, -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

No digging is allowed before noon for allowed digs, when low tide occurs in the evening.


For a list of proposed razor clam digs on Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches through February, please see our razor clam webpage.     

In order to ensure conservation of clams for future generations, WDFW sets tentative razor clam seasons that are based on the results from an annual coast-wide razor clam stock assessment and by considering harvest to date. WDFW authorizes each dig independently after getting the results of marine toxin testing. Final approval of the tentatively scheduled openings will depend on whether results of marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.

Ayres notes that low tides around New Years are not low enough for successful razor clam harvest, so

#Teamshovel or #TeamClamGun -- battling it out over a razor clam (razor clam mascot)
Battle for the clam Jasmine Sanborn

digging will not open then.

“We also avoided scheduling a dig on Christmas Day or Christmas Eve, as we have found that past participation on those days is really light,” added Ayres. “We are hoping more people will be able to participate by extending the dig further into the next weekend instead.”

WDFW is also asking razor clam fans around the state to weigh in on the perennial question: Which is better, clam gun or shovel? To register support for a favored digging method, clam diggers can post a photo or video, complete with hashtag #TeamClamShovel or #TeamClamGun on any social media before the end of the spring season.

Additional safety considerations are important this time of year. “Diggers want to be sure to come prepared with good lighting devices and always keep an eye on the surf, particularly at this time of year when low tides come at dusk and after dark,” said Ayres.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2019-20 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW's website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.

WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities.

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation.