Razor clam diggers can return to coastal beaches starting Friday, April 17, state shellfish managers announced today.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the digs after marine toxin tests showed the clams on those beaches are safe to eat. All of the digs are scheduled on morning tides. No digging will be allowed on any beach after noon.
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, noted that the upcoming dig coincides with the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, scheduled April 18-19 in Long Beach. Festival events range from free clam-digging lessons to a fritter cook-off. More information is available at http://longbeachrazorclamfestival.com/
Under state law, diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.
The upcoming dig is scheduled on the following dates, beaches, and low tides:
- April 17, Friday, 6:03 a.m.; -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
- April 18, Saturday, 6:52 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
- April 19, Sunday, 7:39 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis
- April 20, Monday, 8:25 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- April 21, Tuesday, 9:11 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- April 22, Wednesday, 9:57 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- April 23, Thursday, 10:46 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
- April 24, Friday, 11:38 a.m.; 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors
WDFW has also proposed additional digs in May, pending the results of future marine toxin tests. Tentative dates for those digs are posted on the department’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2015-16 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.
During all upcoming digs, state wildlife managers urge clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in the soft, dry sand at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula, and on a section of Twin Harbors beach.
The snowy plover is a small bird with gray wings and a white breast. The lark is a small bird with a pale yellow breast and brown back. Male larks have a black mask, breast band and “horns.”
To protect these birds, the department asks that clam diggers avoid the dunes and areas of the beach with soft, dry sand. When driving to a clam-digging area, diggers should enter the beach only at designated access points and stay on the hard-packed sand near or below the high tide line.