Razor clam diggers can count on evening digs starting Feb. 23 and begin planning trips this spring to Washington’s beaches after state shellfish managers today announced a schedule of proposed digs through April.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the opening at three ocean beaches later this month after marine toxin tests confirmed the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.
The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:
- Feb. 23, Thursday, 4:42 p.m.; 0.3 feet; Twin Harbors
- Feb. 24, Friday, 5:21 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Copalis, Mocrocks, Twin Harbors
- Feb. 25, Saturday, 5:58 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Copalis, Mocrocks, Twin Harbors
- Feb. 26, Sunday, 6:34 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Copalis, Mocrocks, Twin Harbors
- Feb. 27, Monday, 7:11 p.m.; 0.3 feet; Twin Harbors
- Feb. 28, Tuesday, 7:48 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors
State shellfish managers recommend that diggers hit the beach an hour or two before low tide.
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2016-17 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.
WDFW also announced a list of proposed digs in March and April, subject to the results of additional marine toxin tests. Shellfish managers will announce a final decision on those openings about a week before each dig is set to begin.
Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW, noted that the current schedule does not include proposed digs this spring for Twin Harbors or Long Beach.
“We’re waiting to see how the next few rounds of marine toxin tests go before we set a schedule for those beaches,” Ayres said.
Toxin levels on Washington’s southern beaches – Twin Harbors and Long Beach – have been declining. Twin Harbors opened earlier this month when levels of domoic acid met public health standards. A natural toxin produced by certain types of algae, domoic acid can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.
If toxin levels at Long Beach continue to drop, the beach could open in March for digging, Ayres said.
Razor clam diggers also should be aware that WDFW plans to alternate digging between Copalis and Mocrocks during March and April. Those two northern beaches will not be open on the same days in the coming months.
“We wanted to maximize the number of days that diggers would have out on the beaches,” Ayres said. “We hope that diggers will pay close attention to the schedule and stay off whichever beach is closed for the day.”
Copalis beach includes Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas while Mocrocks includes Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips. Maps of the beaches can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.
Tentative razor clam digs in March and April:
- March 9, Thursday, 4:28 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Mocrocks
- March 10, Friday, 5:13 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Copalis
- March 11, Saturday, 5:54 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- March 12, Sunday, 7:31 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Copalis, Kalaloch
- March 24, Friday, 5:01 p.m.; 0.5 feet; Mocrocks
- March 25, Saturday, 5:44 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Copalis
- March 26, Sunday, 6:24 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Mocrocks
Seasonal switch to morning tides
- March 30, Thursday, 8:58 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Mocrocks
- March 31, Friday, 9:47 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Copalis, Kalaloch
- April 1, Saturday, 10:40 a.m., -0.5 feet; Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- April 2, Sunday, 11:39 a.m.; -0.1 feet; Copalis
- April 13, Thursday, 8:43 a.m.; 0.0 feet; Copalis
- April 14, Friday, 9:18 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Mocrocks
- April 15, Saturday, 9:55 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Copalis
- April 16, Sunday, 10:36 a.m.; 0.5 feet; Mocrocks
- April 27, Thursday, 7:55 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Mocrocks
- April 28, Friday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.8 feet; Copalis
- April 29, Saturday; 9:32 a.m.; -1.7 feet; Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- April 30, Sunday, 10:24 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Copalis, Kalaloch