Six days of evening razor clam digs approved, state stresses ‘digging while distancing’

  • Wed Oct 14th, 2020 3:30pm
  • News

Evening razor clam digs have been approved on select beaches for six days starting Friday.

The approved digs include:

Oct. 16, Friday, 7:00 p.m., -0.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Oct. 17, Saturday, 7:47 p.m., -1.3; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Oct. 18, Sunday, 8:35 p.m., -1.5; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Oct. 19, Monday, 9:24 p.m., -1.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Oct. 20, Tuesday, 10:16 p.m., -1.0; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Oct. 21, Wednesday, 11:12 p.m., -0.5; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

“Diggers want to be sure to come prepared with good lighting devices and always keep an eye on the surf, particularly at this time of year when low tides come at dusk and after dark,” said state shellfish manager Dan Ayres.

Great digging so far

The first seven days of the fall season in September were wildly productive.

“It was easy limits for all — and lots of happy clam diggers,” said Ayres.

Over the seven days, Sept. 16-22, 30,403 diggers hit the beaches, harvesting 456,042 razor clams, according to Fish and Wildlife counts. Long Beach, open all seven days, saw the most effort and the most clams dug — 12,134 and 182,006 respectively. The first weekend dig of the season, on Saturday Sept. 19, drew just shy of 6,000 diggers.

Twin Harbors Beach was also open those seven days in a row, and saw a total of 7,943 diggers taking 119,150 clams. Close to half of that effort came Saturday, Sept. 19, with 3,866 diggers taking 57,983 clams.

Copalis and Mocrocks beaches were open alternating days, Copalis for four days, Mocrocks for three. Mocrocks still had the most diggers that first week, with 6,372 taking 95,585 clams, with almost 80% of the effort and harvest on Saturday Sept. 19. Copalis had 3,953 diggers over four days, with 59,302 clams dug.

Alternate days at Mocrocks, Copalis

New signage at beach approaches should help direct diggers to open beaches.

“Abundant razor clam populations are allowing for numerous digging opportunities along 58 miles of coastal beaches this year,” said Ayres. “And, it is important that clam diggers only dig where it is allowed, prefer weekday digging if possible to avoid crowds, and spread out while digging, especially now.”

“Digging on closed beaches could result in a fine,” said Ayres. “Mocrocks and Copalis open on alternate days and diggers should be checking the season schedule and observing signs to determine that they are digging legally on the right beach.”

Mocrocks beach is open on Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday during the upcoming dig while Copalis is open Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. Razor clam co-managers negotiated this schedule to ensure good access to low tides for both tribal and non-tribal diggers.

Razor clam diggers can find detailed beach maps that indicate locations and local names for beaches on state’s razor clam web pages, https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/razor-clams.

Distancing while digging

The agency continues to emphasize “digging while distancing” to support efforts by community health experts to ensure a fun and safe razor clam season.

“Close proximity can accelerate the spread of COVID-19, so we’re asking the public to take steps to thoroughly prepare for their visits to avoid increasing risk,” said Larry Phillips, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife coastal region director, who notes that the department is being guided by risk assessments by local and state health officials.

The rules for digging are the same as any other activity: Stay home if sick, practice social distancing of at least six feet, mask up, and bring personal protective equipment like hand sanitizer. Specific for diggers: pack out belongings and garbage, purchase licenses ahead of the trip, and bring non-cash payment methods to reduce contact. Licenses can be purchased online and printed at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/fishing.

Tentative digs

Razor clam managers with the agency previously announced extensive tentative digs through December. Final approval of tentatively scheduled openings depends on results of marine toxin tests, usually announced a few days before the tentatively scheduled dig.

The tentative razor clam through December, along with low tides and beaches:

Oct. 31, Saturday, 7:26 p.m., 0.0; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 1, Sunday, 6:59 p.m., -0.1; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 2, Monday, 7:33 p.m., -0.1; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Nov. 3, Tuesday, 8:08 p.m., -0.1; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 13, Friday, 4:58 p.m., -0.3; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 14, Saturday, 5:45 p.m., -1.3; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Nov. 15, Sunday, 6:32 p.m., -1.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 16, Monday, 7:19 p.m., -1.8; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Nov. 17, Tuesday, 8:06 p.m., -1.6; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Nov. 18, Wednesday, 8:56 p.m., -1.1; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Nov. 19, Thursday, 9:47 p.m., -0.5; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 1, Tuesday, 7:14 p.m., -0.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 2, Wednesday, 7:51 p.m., -0.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 3, Thursday, 8:30 p.m., -0.3; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 4, Friday, 9:12 p.m., -0.1; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 12, Saturday, 4:44 p.m., -0.8; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 13, Sunday, 5:32 p.m., -1.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 14, Monday, 6:19 p.m., -1.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 15, Tuesday, 7:05pm, -1.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 16, Wednesday, 7:50 p.m., -1.5; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 17, Thursday, 8:35 p.m., -1.0; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 18, Friday, 9:21 p.m., -0.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 28, Monday, 5:43 p.m., -0.2; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 29, Tuesday, 6:20 p.m., -0.5; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Dec. 30, Wednesday, 6:57 p.m., -0.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

Dec. 31, Thursday, 7:34 p.m., -0.7; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

No digging is allowed before noon during digs when low tide occurs in the afternoon or evening.