By GEORGE KUNKE – State shellfish managers have tentatively approved more razor clam digs for next week, including April 9-13. Last week’s digs proved fruitful for the more than 23,000 digs that pushed their shovels down into the sand.
“The clams that were dug up last week were in good shape,” Washington Fish and Wildlife Coastal Shellfish Manager Dan Ayres told the Herald. They’re looking good and are fattening up for spring and preparing for their spawning event.
“We had about 23,000 diggers coast wide at all four beaches,” Ayres said. “And, about 4, 000 showed up on Easter at Twin Harbors in Grayland.
“The average size was about 5 inches at Copalis and Mocrocks were the clams are bigger,” Ayres said. “At Twin Harbors, they’re in the 4 ½ inch size.”
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) were testing the toxins Monday morning, but in all likelihood, the digs will be approved, according to Ayres said. “More than likely, the dig will be approved.” Final word on these digs will be posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.
“We haven’t had any issues with rain toxins,” Ayres said. “There hasn’t been any harmful species. Everything has been really low lately. But there’s always a chance. Marine toxins appear fast and quick.”
Ayres reminded diggers that by law they are limited to 15 razor clams per day, and are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container. In too many cases, diggers are throwing out small sized clams and not counting them in their catch. Ayres said that in one area in the Twin Harbors, where 100 holes were looked at, 21 of them had smaller clams left on the beach.
“That’s a pretty high rate. It occurred at Twin Harbors in the south end, which is a popular spot for locals,” Ayres said. “It’s a nice area.
“I’ll make sure our enforcement guys are aware of that,” Ayres warned. “It’s always irritating to me when people do that. I don’t like it when people begin to waste the smaller clams.”
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2012-13 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.
Ayres also reminded diggers that they will need to purchase a 2013-14 license to participate in the April openings, since current fishing licenses expire at midnight March 31. Licenses are available online (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/), by phone (1-866-320-9933) and from license dealers around the state.
No digging will be allowed at any beach after noon. The tentative opening dates in April, along with morning low tides, include:
· April 9, Tues., 6:39 a.m., 0.0 ft., Twin Harbors
· April 10, Wed., 7:19 a.m., -0.3 ft., Twin Harbors
· April 11, Thurs., 7:57 a.m., -0.4 ft., Twin Harbors
· April 12, Fri., 8:34 a.m., -0.4 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
· April 13, Sat., 9:11 a.m., -0.2, ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
· April 14, Sun., 9:49 a.m., +0.1, ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
· April 24, Wed., 6:10 a.m., -0.3 ft., Twin Harbors
· April 25, Thurs., 6:54 a.m., -1.0 ft., Twin Harbors
· April 26, Fri., 7:38 a.m., -1.5 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
· April 27, Sat., 8:24 a.m., -1.7 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
· April 28, Sun., 9:11 a.m., -1.7 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks
· April 29, Mon., 10:01 a.m., -1.5 ft., Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks
· April 30, Tues., 10:55 a.m., -1.0 ft., Twin Harbors
“We’re hoping to have some clam digs in May on some beaches, too, but the jury is still out,” Ayres added.