The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the digs at the five beaches after a series of marine toxin tests confirmed the clams were safe to eat.
For Kalaloch Beach in Olympic National Park (ONP), this will be the first razor clam opening since spring 2007, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
“Kalaloch was closed due to low clam abundance, but this year’s annual stock assessment shows approximately 3.5 million clams of harvestable size,” Ayres said. WDFW and ONP jointly manage the recreational razor clam fishery at Kalaloch.
Because the digs are scheduled on variable days, Ayres reminds people to check the dates to make sure the beach they choose is open for digging.
“Having variable beach openers allows for more harvest opportunity, but may be somewhat confusing for folks,” Ayres said. A map showing the locations of razor clam beaches is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/shelfish/razorclm/graphics/map_beaches.jpg
The best time to start digging is an hour or two before low tide, said Ayres, who also recommends that diggers check weather and surf conditions before heading out.
Olympic National Park superintendent Karen Gustin added a safety note for evening clam diggers, especially at Kalaloch. “Kalaloch is considerably more remote than the other clamming beaches, and visitors should be prepared for primitive conditions. With no streetlights or lighted buildings in the area, flashlights or lanterns are a necessity.”
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 2009 annual shellfish/seaweed license or combination fishing license is still valid. Another option is a razor-clam only license available in annual or three-day only versions. Descriptions of the various options are available on the WDFW website at http://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.
Besides the openings announced through Jan. 3, there should also be enough clams on most beaches to allow for harvesting later in 2010, Ayres said.
Opening dates and evening low tides in October are:
- Friday, Oct. 16 ( 5:50 p.m. -0.5 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
- Saturday, Oct. 17 (6:38 p.m. -0.8 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- Sunday, Oct. 18 (7:23 p.m. -1.1ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- Monday, Oct. 19 (8:06 p.m. -1.1 ft.) Twin Harbors
In addition, WDFW has tentatively scheduled four other digs through Jan. 3.
Digs scheduled in November include:
- Wednesday, Nov. 4 (7:33 p.m. -1.3 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- Thursday, Nov. 5 (8:18 p.m. -1.2 ft.) Twin Harbors
- Friday, Nov. 6 (9:07 p.m. -0.9 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- Saturday, Nov. 7 (9:59 p.m. -0.5 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- Saturday, Nov. 14 (4:34 p.m. -0.3 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Sunday, Nov. 15 (5:21 p.m. -0.7 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Monday, Nov. 16 (6:05 p.m. -0.9 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- Tuesday, Nov. 17 (6:47 p.m. -0.8 ft.) Twin Harbors
Digs scheduled December 2 through Jan. 3 include:
- Wednesday, Dec. 2 (6:32 p.m. -1.2 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- Thursday, Dec. 3 (7:18 p.m. -1.4 ft.) Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Friday, Dec. 4 (8:04 p.m. -1.3 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- Saturday, Dec. 5 (8:51 p.m. -0.9 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- Thursday, Dec. 31 (6:16 p.m. -1.1 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- Friday, Jan. 1 (7:01 p.m. -1.8 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
- Saturday, Jan. 2 (7:45 p.m. -1.6 ft.) Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Sunday, Jan. 3 (8:29 p.m. -1.2 ft.) Twin Harbors
Beaches scheduled to open are:
- Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
- Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
- Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
- 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.