LONGVIEW — Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife shellfish managers Friday announced 62 tentative days people can dig for razor clams this year from mid-September through the end of December. The approval of the dates are pending on marine toxin test results which usually take place about a week or less before each set of openings.
Much of the 2020 season was canceled because of high domoic acid levels.
Shellfish managers also said the number of clams that can be dug has increased to 20 from 15.
So far, this season is looking good “both in terms of clam abundance and domoic acid,” according to Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager with the WDFW.
“Similar to last year’s preseason indications, we’re estimating very strong razor clam populations at most coastal beaches,” Ayres said. “We’re optimistic that diggers will have plenty of great opportunities to dig for these clams this fall and winter.”
Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis will be open for digs, but the Kalaloch beach will not open because of continuing issues with depressed populations of harvestable clams, according to a WDFW press release.
Each digger’s clams have to be kept in a separate container, and all diggers must keep the first 20 clams they dig. No digging is allowed before noon during digs when low tide occurs in the afternoon or evening and all diggers 15 years old or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach.
“We’re confident that these beaches can support the increased harvest, at least through the end of the year,” Ayres said. “We’ll re-evaluate before announcing the 2022 digging dates to see if we need to adjust the limit.”
Diggers also are asked to continue practicing social distancing, follow local and state guidance on masks and face coverings, and be “respectful of local communities and residents” as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
“We’re extremely grateful to everyone who helped this season come together, including local leaders, county health officers and Washington State Parks,” Larry Phillips, director of WDFW’s Coastal Region, said in the press release. “We’ll be working hard to help ensure a safe, productive digging season and the public can do their part by following health and safety guidelines.”
Digs are scheduled for a.m. tides from Sept. 17-22 and p.m. tides from Sept. 23-25; a.m. tides from Oct. 3-5 and p.m. tides from Oct. 6-11 and Oct. 19-25; p.m. tides from Nov. 3-9, Nov. 10, and Nov. 16-24; and p.m. tides from Dec. 1-9, Dec. 15-23 and Dec. 30-31.
Check the WDFW website for exact locations, tide times and dates.
Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available from WDFW’s licensing website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/login or from license vendors around the state.