More than 1 million razor clams dug during opening days of 2021-22 season

A couple of stormy periods and digging in the dark didn’t keep effort and harvest down during the opening days of the 2021-22 razor clam season.

Harvest reports compiled by razor clam managers on Monday show more than 55,000 diggers took in excess of 1 million clams during the first nine days of the season.

”Overall, it was a successful opener with a lot of happy diggers,” said Dan Ayres, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager.

“The only folks we found without the temporarily increased bag limit of 20 clams were those in locations (where) there are few clams, or on Sunday night with higher surf some diggers got wet and called it quits, and a few folks who said 20 was too many and they just took what they could eat.”

At Long Beach alone, which was open all nine days of the first dig Sept. 17-25, 22,044 diggers went home with 428,861 clams. That’s just shy of a full limit of 20, raised this year from the usual 15 because of limited digging last year and surveys ahead of the season showing more than ample numbers to allow for the extra harvest through at least the end of the year.

About 25% of the total harvest at Long Beach came on Sunday, Sept. 19, when more than 5,500 diggers took more than 111,000 clams.

Twin Harbors beach was also open all nine days, with 14,226 diggers collecting 263,377 clams, about 18.5 per digger over the course of the first nine days. It was close to limits the first six days of the dig, but success diminished as the tide moved into the plus region and the digs got later at night — Sunday, Sept. 25, with a .5-foot tide at 10:15 p.m., the largest number of diggers hit Twin Harbors and averaged just over 16 clams per for the night.

Copalis and Mocrocks beaches alternated days for the first string of digs this season, except Sunday, Sept. 26, when Copalis was added alongside Mocrocks. The 1,609 diggers that day on Copalis went home with limits. Overall, 10,193 diggers took 193,327 clams during the opening nine days at Copalis, and 9,256 took 160,896 clams at Mocrocks.

In the end, 55,719 razor clam diggers harvested 1,046,462 clams during the nine day dig.

Domoic acid kept digging to a minimum almost all of last season, but so far the numbers have been good. If they stay that way, there’s a lot more digging on the way.

“The next opener starts Oct. 3 with an early morning low tide,” said Ayres. “We expect to have the final (toxin test) results by Wednesday.”

If approved, the next nine days of razor clam tides will again have Long Beach and Twin Harbors open daily for digging, with Copalis and Mocrocks on alternating days.

Oct. 3, Sunday, 4:52 a.m.; 0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Oct. 4, Monday, 5:33 a.m.; 0.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Oct. 5, Tuesday, 6:12 a.m.; -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Switch to p.m. tides

Oct. 6, Wednesday, 7:20 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Oct. 7, Thursday, 8:04 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Oct. 8, Friday, 8:50 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Oct. 9, Saturday, 9:38 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Oct. 10, Sunday, 10:32 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Oct. 11, Monday,11:32 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis