The first razor-clam dig of the season is tentatively scheduled to begin in late October on four ocean beaches, with additional digs planned through late December.
In announcing its initial digging schedule, shellfish managers at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) emphasized that final approval of all openings will depend on results of marine toxin tests that show the clams are safe to eat.
Additional digs for 2012 will be announced in early January, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
"As in years past, we announce proposed digging schedules so people can start making plans," Ayres said. "But no dig is final until test results confirm the clams are safe to eat."
The first opening of the fall season is tentatively scheduled Oct. 28-29 on evening tides at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.
Olympic National Park, in consultation with WDFW, is still developing options for a recreational razor-clam season at Kalaloch Beach, which are expected to be announced in two to three weeks.
Most other digging opportunities through December are set at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks, because those beaches have the highest number of clams available for harvest.
Additional digs scheduled so far at Copalis Beach are limited to Nov. 25 (the day after Thanksgiving) and Dec. 23 (two days before Christmas), due to a low abundance of clams there this year.
No digging will be allowed before noon on any of the five razor-clam beaches until the tides change next spring
"This season’s tides are not as favorable as those in the past few years," Ayres said. "Low tides will occur later in the day, so diggers will have to be prepared for the dark during evening digs in fall and winter."
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2011-12 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, digger can take 15 razor clams per day, and are required to keep the first 15 they dig to prevent wastage. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.
Below is the schedule of proposed razor-clam digs, along with evening low tides, announced by WDFW:
- Oct. 28, Fri. - 8:28 p.m. (-1.8 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Oct. 29, Sat. - 9:17 p.m. (-1.5 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Nov. 11, Fri. - 6:48 p.m. (-0.4 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- Nov. 12, Sat. - 7:23 p.m. (-0.4 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- Nov. 25, Fri. - 6:27 p.m. (-1.9 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
- Nov. 26, Sat. - 7:14 p.m. (-1.8 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- Dec. 10, Sat. - 6:30 p.m. (-0.5 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- Dec. 22, Thurs. - 4:40 p.m. (-0.9 ft.); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- Dec. 23, Fri. - 5:29 p.m. (-1.4); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks