Tag Archives: long beach

Yuasa: I-5 Fall Trout Releases Boosted, Plus Squid, Crab, Salmon Ops In November

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

We’ve been hanging our salmon fishing lines in the water for more than five months, and I’d like to switch gears and set sights on another exciting opportunity to get through the impending holiday madness.

Yes, take some time to let go of your snobbish salmon attitude and harken back to days when you pursued trout with nothing more than high hopes, a jar of salmon eggs, Power Bait or a container of worms.

Now is the time to hit the refresh button and replay those memorable moments or share it with someone new to fishing.

“We’re trying out a couple of pilot programs, which allowed us to be creative on how we structure trout fisheries in our region, and we’ve kept intact a couple others that have been successful,” said Justin Spinelli, a WDFW biologist in Mill Creek.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Earlier this year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) strategized ways to boost trout prospects at a time when many have holiday plans or shopping on their minds.

According to Spinelli, WDFW hatchery staff had space in some hatcheries and funding to raise thousands of rainbow trout to catchable size (8 to 11 inches) this past spring and summer.

“During this pilot program, we plan to monitor and conduct creel surveys so we can get an idea on participation and success,” Spinelli said. “Keeping fish in hatcheries longer was expensive. We need to make sure for budget purposes that it’s worth our effort to provide this special opportunity.”

WDFW is planting 27,000 rainbow trout along the I-5 corridor in 12 lakes within Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish and King counties.

“I’m really excited and hopefully it leads to getting more people into the sport,” he said. “We’re trying this out in urban centered areas. We know a lot of people in the cities may be interested in getting outside and going fishing.”

Spinelli says this offers easy access to nearby lakes and it’s not too complicated of a fishery to learn, doesn’t take a whole bunch of expensive fishing gear and provides fish that are willing to bite.

Two popular local lakes where late-season annual plants have become the norm are Beaver Lake in Issaquah and Goodwin Lake in Snohomish County.

Beaver was expecting a plant – possibly as soon as this week – of 1,250 trout averaging 2 pounds apiece and another 1,250 just prior to Thanksgiving. Goodwin will receive 5,000 in December.

Here are other scheduled plants (most lakes are open year-round except two have seasonal dates):

King County – Green, 3,600 (1,611 planted last week); Steel, 1,600 (open Nov. 1-Jan. 5 only and 804 were planted last week); and Fivemile, 1,200 (616 were planted last week). Snohomish County – Gissburg Ponds, 2,000; Tye, 2,000; Silver, 2,000 (1,005 were planted last week); and Ballinger, 1,600 (804 were planted last week). Skagit County – Clear, 1,500; and Cranberry, 1,750. Whatcom County – Padden, 1,750 (open Nov. 1-Jan. 5 only and 1,000 were planted last week).

“Some lakes we plant will have fish biting for quite a while,” Spinelli said. “I’m thrilled with this new program and hope we can demonstrate that this can be a stimulus for our trout fisheries at a time when choices of fishing activities are much slimmer.”

The popular “Black Friday” trout fisheries also give anglers a chance to get out and burn off the calories from a Thanksgiving feast. This includes thousands of beefy trout averaging 1 to 1.3 pounds going into more than a dozen southwest Washington lakes.

Clark County – Klineline, 2,000; and Battle Ground, 2,000. Cowlitz County – Kress, 2,000. Klickitat County – Rowland, 2,000. Lewis County – Fort Borst Park Pond, 2,000; and South Lewis County Park Pond, 2,000. Pierce County – American, 2,000; and Tanwax, 1,000. Thurston County – Black, 1,000; Ward, 300; Long, 1,000; and Offutt, 1,000.

Millions of fry-size trout were planted this past spring in eastern Washington lakes that are open from Nov. 29 through March 31. These fish should have grown to catchable size (8 to 11 inches). They include Hatch, 10,000, and Williams, 12,000, in Stevens County; Fourth of July, 80,000, on Lincoln/Adams county line; and Hog Canyon, 20,000, in Spokane County.

Elton Pond in Yakima County open from Nov. 29 through March 31 will be planted with 2,000 trout averaging 1.2 pounds.

Be sure to check the WDFW website for additional lakes open year-round, which are expected to be planted in late fall and winter. For weekly stocking reports, go to www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly.

Other holiday fishing opportunities

This is a magical time of the year with opportunities blooming for squid, salmon and Dungeness crab just to name a few.

Hitting up many Puget Sound piers has become a nightly affair as millions of tasty squid – known in the culinary society as “calamari” – are pouring into Puget Sound marine waterways from Edmonds south to Tacoma.

Squid jigging is good at the Les Davis Pier in Tacoma; Des Moines Marina Pier; Seacrest Boathouse Pier in West Seattle; Seattle waterfront at Piers 57, 62, 63, 70 or the Seattle Aquarium Pier; Edmonds Pier; A-Dock and Shilshole Pier; Point Defiance Park Pier; Fauntleroy Ferry Dock; Illahee State Park Pier; and the Waterman and Indianola piers in Kitsap County.

Night-time on a flood tide are the best periods to catch squid as they’re attracted to lighted public piers. Squid like to lurk in the darker edges of lighted water and dart out into the light on their unsuspecting prey. The WDFW website has a wealth of information on squid jigging at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/squid/.

Salmon chasers still have opportunities in central Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 10), which is open for chum and maybe a late coho through Nov. 15. Target chums around Jefferson Head, West Point south of Shilshole Bay, Point Monroe, Kingston, Allen Bank and Southworth near Blake Island, and the east side of Bainbridge Island.

Southern Puget Sound (Area 13) is open year-round and should be fair game for hatchery winter chinook off Fox Island, south of the Narrows Bridge, Anderson Island and Johnson Point.
Hood Canal (Area 12) is often an underfished location in the winter for hatchery chinook around central region at Misery Point and Oak Head.

A reminder the daily catch limit is two coho, chum or hatchery chinook in southern Puget Sound (Area 13). The daily limit in Areas 10 is two salmon but only one may be a coho (you can retain chum, pink and coho but need to release chinook).

Central Puget Sound (Area 10) and south-central Puget Sound (Area 11) reopens Jan. 1 for hatchery chinook. Northern Puget Sound (Area 9), San Juan Islands (Area 7) and east side of Whidbey Island (Areas 8-1 and 8-2) reopens Feb. 1 for hatchery chinook.

There’s nothing sweeter than having a plate of Dungeness crab sitting on the holiday dinner table and fishing has been fairly good since it reopened back on Oct. 1. Dungeness crab fishing is open daily through Dec. 31 at Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line (Marine Area 4); Sekiu area in western Strait of Juan de Fuca (5); Port Angeles area eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca (6); San Juan Islands (7); and northern Puget Sound/Admiralty Inlet (9) except for waters south of a line from Olele Point to Foulweather Bluff. The east side of Whidbey Island in Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay (8-1); Port Susan and Port Gardiner (8-2) has closed for crabbing.

Sport crabbers are reminded that setting or pulling traps from a vessel is only allowed from one hour before official sunrise through one hour after official sunset. For more information, go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/.

Can you dig it? Coastal razor clam success very good since opening in late September

The coastal razor clam digs have gotten off to a stupendous start and be sure to get some for the holiday dinner table.

The first digs of the 2019-2020 season began Sept. 27-29 at Long Beach and success was excellent with 18,000 diggers taking home 296,000 clams.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

“Digging went really well during the first series opener at Long Beach,” said Dan Ayres, the head WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “It was as close to limits as you can get (the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily per person limit).”

Digging this week also was off-the-charts good at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. There’s still a last chance on tonight (Nov. 1) at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Copalis (minus-0.2 feet at 10:38 p.m.). No digging is allowed during PM low tides only.

Many night-time low tide digs are planned in the weeks ahead on Nov. 1, 11, 13, 15, 17, 24, 26, 28 and 30 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Copalis; and Nov. 12, 14, 16, 25, 27 and 29 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks. Dec. 10, 12, 14, 16, 23, 27 and 29 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; and Dec. 11, 13, 15, 26 and 28 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Copalis.

Final approval is announced by WDFW about one or two weeks prior to each series of digs and are dependent on marine toxin levels being below the cutoff threshold.

WDFW shellfish managers are saying this could be one of the best seasons seen in quite a while for many digs planned from winter through spring. For details, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/razor-clams.

New name and new events happening in 2020 during the NW Fishing Derby Series

A quick look back at the 2019 derby season saw a total of 6,176 anglers entered into 13 derbies (one was cancelled) which is up from 4,690 in 2018 and there’s plenty of excitement coming up in 2020.

We’ve now hit the refresh button and renamed it the “Northwest Fishing Derby Series” with a tentative 18 derbies scheduled. It will include two lingcod/rockfish “For the Love of Cod Derbies” in Coos Bay, Charleston and Brookings, Oregon in March 21-22 and March 28-29 respectively, and the Something Catchy Kokanee Derby at Lake Chelan in April.

The highlight is a chance enter and win a sleek $75,000 fully loaded, grand-prize all-white KingFisher 2025 Series Hardtop boat powered with Yamaha 200hp and 9.9hp trolling motors on an EZ Loader Trailer. Our newest sponsor of the derby – Shoxs Seats (www.shoxs.com) – has provided a pair of top-of-the-line seats that are engineered for maximum comfort in the roughest of seas.
The good news is anglers who enter any of the 18 derbies don’t need to catch a fish to win this beautiful boat and motor package!

A huge “thank you” to our other 2020 sponsors who make this series such a success are Silver Horde and Gold Star Lures; Scotty Downriggers; Burnewiin Accessories; Raymarine Electronics; WhoDat Tower; Dual Electronics; Tom-n-Jerry’s Marine; Master Marine; NW Sportsman Magazine; The Reel News; Outdoor Emporium and Sportco; Harbor Marine; Prism Graphics; Lamiglas Rods; KIRO/ESPN 710AM The Outdoor Line; Salmon, Steelhead Journal; Rays Bait Works; and Salmon Trout Steelheader Magazine.

First up in the series are the Resurrection Salmon Derby on Feb. 1-2; Friday Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 6-8; and Roche Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 13-15. For details, go to http://www.nwsalmonderbyseries.com/.

In the meantime, take a break from holiday shopping and hit up a lake or open saltwater areas for a feisty fish tugging on the end of your line.

I’ll see you on the water!

Razor Clam Digs OKed At Mocrocks, Copalis; Info Friday On Twin Harbors, Long Beach

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Razor clam diggers can return to Mocrocks and Copalis beaches for a seven-day opening beginning Oct. 26.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig on evening low tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat on Copalis and Mocrocks beaches.

COPALIS, WHERE THESE RAZOR CLAMMERS ENJOYED A NIGHT DIG, IS ONE OF TWO WASHINGTON COAST BEACHES THAT WILL OPEN IN THE COMING DAYS. (DAN AYRES, WDFW)

At this time, Twin Harbors and Long Beach remain tentative and not approved, but additional domoic acid tests conducted by the Washington Department of Health (WDOH) will provide a final determination on those beaches by Friday morning.  WDFW will announce whether these beaches have also been approved on Friday as well.

“In the last few days, we’ve seen increasing levels of the algae that can cause domoic acid in ocean water at Long Beach and Twin Harbors,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “Our first priority is safety, and we, working alongside the Department of Health, are reserving judgment on opening of these areas in order to ensure safety for all those who enjoy this activity.”

While an unexpected increase in domoic acid in razor clams has been observed in clam samples collected from the surf zones at Long Beach and Twin Harbors, similar increases have not been observed in samples collected at Copalis and Mocrocks.

The upcoming dig is for the following dates and low tides as of Tuesday.

  • October 26, Saturday, 5:59 pm, 0.0 feet; Copalis
  • October 27, Sunday, 6:47 pm, -0.8 feet; Mocrocks
  • October 28, Monday, 7:33 pm, -1.2 feet; Copalis
  • October 29, Tuesday, 8:18 pm, -1.4 feet; Mocrocks
  • October 30, Wednesday, 9:03 pm, -1.2 feet; Copalis
  • October 31, Thursday, 9:50 pm, -0.8 feet; Mocrocks
  • November 1, Friday, 10:38 pm, -0.2 feet; Copalis

No digging is allowed before noon for allowed digs, where low tide occurs in the evening.

For a list of proposed razor clam digs on Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches through December, please see WDFW’s razor clam website. Final approval of the tentatively scheduled openings of all digs depends on whether results of marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.

Additional safety considerations are important to those who engage in digs near dusk and at night.

“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 Ayres.

WDFW is also asking for razor clam fans around the state to weigh in on the perennial question: Which is better, clam or shovel? To register support for a favored digging method, clam diggers can post a photo or video, complete with hashtag #TeamClamShovel or #TeamClamGun on any social media before the end of the season.

“Razor clam digs are a major source of livelihood for coastal communities, bringing out hundreds of thousands of tourists each year to enjoy all we have to offer, including terrific nature, food, entertainment and fun on the beach for the whole family,” said Andi Day, Executive Director at Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau. “We value and appreciate WDFW’s work to manage this terrific resource for our communities.”

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2019-20 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 and from license vendors around the state.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

WDFW Lays Out Tentative Razor Clam Digs Thru End Of 2019

THE FOLLOWING IS A WDFW PRESS RELEASE

State shellfish managers have tentatively scheduled additional razor clam digs on ocean beaches for dates in October, November and December.

Final approval of all scheduled openings will depend on whether results of marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.

CADEN AND NATHAN HOLDER DISPLAY RAZOR CLAMS DUG ON THE WASHINGTON COAST DURING A JANUARY OPENER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) typically announces whether a dig will go forward about a week before the opening, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the department.

“Abundant razor clam populations on all beaches, except Kalaloch, are allowing for more digging opportunity this year,” said Ayres. “But, it is important that razor clam diggers be sure to only dig where it is allowed.”

Razor clam diggers can find detailed beach maps that indicate locations and local names for beaches on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/razor-clams#beachmaps.

The proposed razor clam digs to date, along with low tides and beaches, are listed below:

  • September 27, Friday, 5:52 a.m. -0.9 feet; Long Beach only
  • September 28, Saturday, 6:36 a.m. -0.8 feet; Long Beach only
  • September 29, Sunday, 7:19 am -0.6 feet; Long Beach only

No digging is allowed after noon for the late September digs where low tide occurs in the morning.

  • October 26, Saturday, 5:59 pm, 0.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • October 27, Sunday, 6:47 pm, -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • October 28, Monday, 7:33 pm, -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • October 29, Tuesday, 8:18 pm, -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • October 30, Wednesday, 9:03 pm, -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • October 31, Thursday, 9:50 pm, -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • November 1, Friday, 10:38 pm, -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

 

  • November 11, Monday, 5:51 pm, 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • November 12, Tuesday, 6:27 pm, -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • November 13, Wednesday, 7:03 pm, -0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • November 14, Thursday, 7:41 pm, -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • November 15, Friday, 8:22 pm, -0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • November 16, Saturday, 9:08 pm, -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • November 17, Sunday, 9:59 pm, -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

 

  • November 24, Sunday, 4:47 pm, -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • November 25, Monday, 5:34 pm, -1.0 feet; Long Beach Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • November 26, Tuesday, 6:18 pm, -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • November 27, Wednesday, 7:02 pm, -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • November 28, Thursday, 7:44 pm, -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • November 29, Friday, 8:29 pm, -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • November 30, Saturday, 9:10 pm, -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

 

  • December 10, Tuesday, 5:28 pm, -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • December 11, Wednesday, 6:06 pm, -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • December 12, Thursday, 6:45 pm, -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • December 13, Friday, 7:26 pm, -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • December 14, Saturday, 8:08 pm, -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • December 15, Sunday, 8:53 pm, -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • December 16, Monday, 9:41 pm, -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

 

  • December 23, Monday, 4:35 pm, -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • December 26, Thursday, 6:47 pm, -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • December 27, Friday, 7:26 pm, -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • December 28, Saturday, 8:05 pm, -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • December 29, Sunday, 8:43 pm, -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

No digging is allowed before noon during digs in October, November and December where low tide occurs in the afternoon or evening.

Ayres notes that low tides around New Years are not low enough for successful razor clam harvest, so digging will not open then.

In order to ensure conservation of clams for future generations, WDFW sets tentative razor clam seasons that are based on the results from an annual coast-wide razor clam stock assessment and by considering harvest to date. WDFW authorizes each dig independently after getting the results of marine toxin testing.

“Razor clam digs are a major source of livelihood for coastal communities, bringing out hundreds of thousands of tourists each year to enjoy all we have to offer, including terrific nature, food, entertainment and fun on the beach for the whole family,” said Andi Day, Executive Director at Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau.  “We value and appreciate WDFW’s work to manage this terrific resource for our communities.”

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach.

Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license (starting at $9.70) to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from some 600 license vendors around the state.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

More information can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

3-day Late Sept. Long Beach Razor Clam Dig Proposed

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Razor clam diggers may be able to return to Long Beach for a three-day opening beginning Sept. 27, pending favorable marine toxin results later this month.

WDFW SHELLFISH GURU DAN AYRES IS FORECASTING SOME “TERRIFIC RAZOR CLAM DIGGING” DURING THE UPCOMING SEASON, WHICH MAY KICK OFF AS EARLY AS LATE SEPTEMBER AT LONG BEACH. (DAN AYRES, WDFW)

The upcoming dig is proposed for the following dates and morning low tides:

  • Sept. 27, Friday, 5:52 a.m. -0.9, Long Beach only
  • Sept. 28, Saturday, 6:36 a.m. -0.8, Long Beach only
  • Sept. 29, Sunday, 7:19 am -0.6, Long Beach only

Final approval of the scheduled opening will depend on whether results of marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat. No digging would be allowed after noon.

“We know people have been looking forward to digging razor clams at Long Beach, and we’re pleased to say we believe based on our surveys that the beach is going to enter the line-up more frequently this fall and winter,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2019-20 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.

“There will be some terrific razor clam digging in the months ahead,” said Ayres. He and his crew completed the final clam population survey of the summer on Friday, Aug. 30 in Ocean Park.

WDFW is currently assessing additional digs for Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks in October, but has not yet finished those assessments, nor set dates.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

3 Days Of Razor Clam Digging Coming To Washington Coast

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Razor clam diggers can return to various ocean beaches for a three-day opening beginning Saturday, April 20 and extending through Earth Day, April 22.

RAZOR CLAM DIGGERS HAVE AN OPENER COMING UP ON THE WASHINGTON COAST. (DAN AYRES, WDFW)

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig on morning low tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates, and low tides:

  • April 20, Saturday, 7:58 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis;
  • April 21, Sunday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 22, Monday, 9:25 a.m.; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

“This is a weekend opening that should not be missed,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “The Long Beach Razor Clam festival on Saturday (http://longbeachrazorclamfestival.com), features clam digging and chowder contests, clam digging lessons, and live music – even pirates and mermaids making an occasional appearance.”

As in past years, WDFW is asking beachgoers to take care to avoid nesting snowy plovers.

“With barely 100 of these birds still surviving on the Southwest Washington Coast, it is vitally important for beachgoers to stay out of posted areas,” said Ayres. “Snowy plover nests are nearly invisible, so we want people to give these birds the space they need to live and thrive during their nesting period, especially near Midway Beach and while walking towards the north end of Long Beach.”

A SNOWY PLOVER SITS ON WET BEACH SAND. (JOSEPH BUCHANAN, WDFW)

Ayres recommends people avoid leaving leftover food or trash on the beach–which attracts predators–avoid the dunes as much as possible, and heed the 25-mile per hour speed limit if driving on the beach.

Diggers should hit the beach about an hour or two before low tide for the best results.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2019-20 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach; 2018-19 licenses are no longer valid for this dig. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license (starting at $9.70) 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, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

Ayres noted that based on the remaining number of clams to harvest, this is very likely the last razor clam dig of the season at Long Beach and Copalis beaches.

WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities. WDFW razor clam digs support outdoor lifestyles and coastal economies.

March, April Razor Clam Dig Dates Tentatively Set

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

State shellfish managers have tentatively scheduled razor clam digs on ocean beaches for 12 days starting Mar. 16 and extending into late April.

LED BY THEIR “RAZOR CLAM MASTER” GRANDFATHER, WALLY SANDE (LEFT), CORBIN, LEXI AND AUSTIN HAN, THEIR PARENTS JERRY AND BRITT, ALONG WITH WALLY’S WIFE CAROL, ENJOYED A GREAT DIG A COUPLE APRILS AGO NEAR WESTPORT, LIMITING IN JUST HALF AN HOUR OR SO. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Final approval of all scheduled openings at Copalis, Mocrocks, Long Beach, Kalaloch and Twin Harbors beaches will depend on whether results of marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) typically announces whether a dig will go forward about a week before the opening, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the department.

Ayres noted the first three digs in March are on evening low tides, while those that follow are on morning low tides.

No digging is allowed before noon during evening digs and digging must be completed by noon during morning digs.

WDFW will consider additional dates later this spring if enough clams remain available for harvest, Ayres said.

The proposed razor clam digs, along with low tides and beaches, are listed below:

  • March 16, Saturday, 3:43 p.m.; 0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis (during the Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival);
  • March 17, Sunday, 4:43 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors (during the Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival), Mocrocks;
  • March 21, Thursday, 7:48 p.m.; -0.5 feet; Mocrocks

Switch to a.m. tides.

  • March 22, Friday, 8:14 a.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch;
  • March 23, Saturday, 9:01 a.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Kalaloch
  • March 24, Sunday, 9:49 a.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • April 6, Saturday, 8:05 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • April 7, Sunday, 8:42 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 8, Monday, 9:20 a.m.; 0.0 feet; Mocrocks
  • April 20, Saturday, 7:58 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach (during the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival), Twin Harbors, Copalis;
  • April 21, Sunday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 22, Monday, 9:25 a.m.; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors Mocrocks


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All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. New 2019-20 fishing licenses will be required for dates in April.

Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license (starting at $9.70) 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.

In order to ensure conservation of clams for future generations, WDFW sets tentative razor clam seasons that are based on the results from the annual coast-wide razor clam stock assessment and by considering harvest to date. WDFW authorizes each dig independently after getting the results of marine toxin testing.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

More information can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

Kalaloch Penciled In Among Tentative January, February Clam Digs

If today’s windy, stormy weather has you rethinking hitting this evening’s Washington Coast razor clam dig, take note of a potential opener a little further down the line this season.

RAZOR CLAM DIGGING COULD OCCUR AT KALALOCH BEACH IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY. (NATIONAL PARK SERVICE)

WDFW has added Kalaloch to its list of tentative January and February dates.

Six days worth of digging would occur at the Olympic National Park beach between the mouths of the Hoh and Queets Rivers from Jan. 19-21 and Feb. 16-18.

Those and 2019 digs at Copalis, Mocrocks and Twin Harbors still do need to get final green lights, but it will be the first time in two years that razor clam harvesting will be allowed at Kalaloch.

January 2017 saw a two-day opener before March digs were cancelled due to “low abundance.”

State shellfish manager Dan Ayres still isn’t sure what happened to all the clams that he and his crews found there during a 2016 assessment but were gone by that winter.

Still, during recent toxin testing at Kalaloch he found improved numbers.

“They’re not the biggest clams, but they’re in the 4-inch neighborhood, with some smaller,” says Ayres. “I think it’ll be OK. I hope I’m not wrong. Folks can go check it out.”

In the meanwhile, there’s a high wind warning at this evening’s open sands, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks, through 4 p.m.

Ayres reports 28-foot swells offshore, with both highways to the beaches having been temporarily closed for trees over the roadway, and power out at WDFW’s Montesano office.

If you bail, there are still more openers through the weekend, including Long Beach on Saturday evening.

“It’s been a good season so far,” Ayres reports. “Nothing out of the usual. Clams are on the small side. Some are fine with that. Some expect big ones every time they go.”

He expects to be able to offer more dates, but here’s a look at January and February’s proposed openers and when low tide occurs, per WDFW:

  • Jan. 2, Wednesday; 4:22 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 3, Thursday; 5:06 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 4, Friday; 5:46 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Jan. 5, Saturday; 6:23 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Jan. 6, Sunday; 6:59 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Jan. 17, Thursday; 3:39 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 18, Friday; 4:30 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 19, Saturday; 5:18 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Jan. 20, Sunday; 6:05 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Kalaloch
  • Jan. 21, Monday; 6:51 p.m.; -1.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch (Martin Luther King Holiday)
  • Feb. 1, Friday; 4:48 p.m.; 0.2 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Feb. 2; Saturday; 5:28 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Feb. 3, Sunday; 6:04 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Feb. 15, Friday; 3:11 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Feb. 16, Saturday; 4:08 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Kalaloch
  • Feb. 17, Sunday; 4:59 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Feb. 18, Monday; 5:46 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch (Presidents’ Day Holiday)
  • Feb. 19, Tuesday; 6:31 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 20, Wednesday; 7:14 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 21, Thursday; 7:56 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors

 

 

October’s Not Just For Hunting: Lots Of Salmon Fishing, Clamming Ops — Yuasa

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

Anglers who live in the Pacific Northwest have plenty of year-round fishing opportunities to rave about.

As an outdoor journalist this means my word count on stories never dwindles month-to-month and I’m constantly heading to the pencil sharpener to make sure the end of the No. 2 has enough lead to jot down my “slimy” scribbles on a notepad.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Now let’s keep this writing streak going as there’s still a “boatload” of time to hit your favorite fishing holes before the winter holidays roll around.

Fundamentally it’s all about decisions, decisions on where to go and what you want to catch!

On top of the autumn decision list is salmon in local marine waterways like central Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 10) open through Nov. 15 for coho or chum or south-central Puget Sound (11) open through April 30 for a salmon trio of coho, chum and hatchery-marked chinook.

Last month an unexpected nice coho return streamed into Puget Sound creating a fishing frenzy and keep in mind the caboose on this “silver streak” is still sitting somewhere out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

This past winter, WDFW biologists predicted a coho return of 557,149 (249,174 wild and 307,975 hatchery), and the actual run size could be larger than what appeared in the crystal ball.
Add to the fishing equation in the coming weeks a hard-fighting fall chum – better known as dog salmon for their gnarly, toothy jaw line at spawning time – with an expected Puget Sound return of 1,216,031.

We rolled out the red carpet for the Puget Sound hatchery kings this past summer, and there’s no doubt the good times will keep on rolling for our next salmon royalty well into next month and beyond.

Look for coho and chum in Area 10 at Jefferson Head, West Point south of Shilshole Bay, Point Monroe, Allen Bank off Blake Island and Southworth.

Further south in Area 11 anglers can score a hat trick (a coho, chum and hatchery chinook) by hitting Colvos Passage, Point Dalco, the Clay Banks off Point Defiance Park, Redondo Beach and Three Tree Point.

As the days get shorter heading into winter be sure to watch the chum catch rates soar at estuaries off Kennedy Creek in Totten Inlet, Johns Creek in Oakland Bay, Hoodsport Hatchery in Hood Canal, Chico Creek in Dyes Inlet and Curly Creek near Southworth.

Other chum fishing holes are North Bay near Allyn, Perry Creek in Eld Inlet, Whatcom Creek in Bellingham, McLane Creek, Eagle Creek south of Potlatch State Park, and the public-access shores off Highway 101 from Eldon to Hoodsport.

Your other marine salmon options are Hood Canal (13) open now through April 30 and southern Puget Sound (13) open year-round.

Anglers will also begin targeting migrating salmon in local rivers like the Skagit and Snohomish river systems – closed in 2016 and 2017 for coho – as well as the Chehalis, Clearwater, Bogachiel, Calawah, Green, Humptulips, Hoh, Queets, Quinault, Sol Duc and Wynoochee. Anglers should consult the WDFW regulation pamphlet or app for what is open and what types of salmon species you can target in each river.

Winter Dungeness crab outlook

If you like to fish for winter Dungeness crab as much as I do, then pay close attention to a forthcoming announcement from WDFW in the weeks ahead about a possible winter crab fishing season.

“Hopefully we’ll have a preliminary estimate soon so we can make decisions on a winter crab season,” said Don Velasquez, a WDFW Puget Sound shellfish manager.

Fishing areas with crab remaining on their annual allocation, will re-open, seven days a week through the end of this year. However, if the entire annual sport catch quota was taken or if it was closed this past summer, then it’s game over this winter.

“Some said crabbing was fine and others were asking what’s wrong,” Velasquez said. “We had a mixed bag of reports from Area 7 (San Juan Islands) and 8-1 and 8-2 (east side of Whidbey Island) had an average year.”

Velasquez said sport anglers who got out during the July opener in Area 9 (northern Puget Sound) benefitted with good catches as the tribal fisheries didn’t get out until a couple weeks later. Preseason test fisheries conducted by WDFW in Area 10 (central Puget Sound) showed a low abundance of crab thus leading to poor success this past summer.

For more information, go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/.

Tentative dates set for first-half of coastal razor clam season

The tentative coastal razor clam digging dates have been set and Long Beach will see a very brief 2018-19 season although WDFW shellfish managers are hopeful it is just be a gap year.
WDFW attribute this decline of razor clams to low salinity levels from Columbia River freshwater run-off along the southern-most beaches.

There is no shortage of razor clams at Long Beach with about 330,000 clams available for harvest in 2018-19, but 80 percent of them are less than 2-inches long.

On the other-hand coastal beaches to the north look robust for the upcoming fall and winter digs.

Twin Harbors is in good shape, and Copalis and Mocrocks beaches razor clam populations are up over last year.

WDFW is working with Olympic National Park staff to assess possible digging dates on Kalaloch Beach.

Upcoming digs are reliant on testing for marine toxins known as domoic acid — a natural marine toxin produced by certain types of marine algae that can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.

Domoic acid levels remained well under the 20 parts-per-million cutoff ranging from 0.0 to 2.0.

Here are the proposed evening low tide digging dates, and final approval will be announced about one or two weeks before each series of digs:

Oct. 11, 13, 26 and 28 at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; and Oct. 12, 25 and 27 at Twin Harbors and Copalis.

Nov. 8, 10, 23 and 25 at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; Nov. 9, 11 and 22 at Twin Harbors and Copalis; and Nov. 24 at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.

Dec. 6, 8, 21 and 23 at Twin Harbors and Copalis; Dec. 7, 9 and 20 at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; and Dec. 22 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

For details, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclam.

NW Salmon Derby Series ends on high note and a look ahead to 2019

It has been an extremely busy 2018 season with the NW Chevy Dealer Silverado truck and fully-loaded KingFisher boat traveling across the Pacific Northwest!

In all we had 14 derbies including our newest – the Brewster Salmon Derby Aug. 2-5 on the Columbia River – and returnees after a two-year hiatus were the Edmonds PSA Coho Derby and the Everett Coho Derby with each drawing thousands of anglers.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

We had a total of 6,585 anglers entered into the derby series, and the winner of the fully-loaded, grand-prize KingFisher 2025 Series boat powered with Honda motor on an EZ Loader Trailer.

Winner of the Everett Coho Derby – which lured 1,694 adult and 201 youth participants with 548 coho averaging 7.04 pounds on Oct. 22-23. Winner was Michael Rien with a 13.27-pound coho worth $10,000! Also congratulations to the youth winner Baron Kuehlwein with a 10.79-pound coho worth $300!

For the second year in a row the winner of the grand prize derby boat hails from the Big One Salmon Derby in Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho! Joshua Stokes who is an avid angler from Post Falls, Idaho, has fished the Big One Salmon Derby for as long as he can remember.

A huge “thank you” goes out to all our sponsors that also include Scotty Downriggers; Raymarine Electronics; WhoDat Tower; Dual Electronic Stereo; Tom-n-Jerry’s Marine; NW Sportsman Magazine; The Reel News PSA; Outdoor Emporium/Sportco; Harbor Marine; Silver Horde; Prism Graphics; and Salmon, Steelhead Journal.
We’ve got a lot of exciting news on the plate for the 2019 derby series and we’ll be making announcements very soon so stay tuned!

For details, go to www.NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.
In the meantime, the days may be getting shorter as we head into fall and winter, but there’s nothing like a feisty coho or chum salmon tugging on the end of the fishing line.

I’ll see you on the water!

Yuasa: Silvers Are Gold In September

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

I wish there was a way to slow down how quickly summer comes and goes, especially with the memorable king salmon fishing we got to experience in some parts of Puget Sound.

And while we’re still relishing the “good old days” of the past few months, I can’t help but get geared up for silver being the gold medal winner in September and beyond!

AUTHOR MARK YUASA SHOWS OFF A NICE OCEAN-RETURNING COHO. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Coho salmon – often referred to as “silvers” for their distinct brightly metal-colored body – appear to have crossed the bridge of dire straits from the warm “blob” that plagued the North Pacific Ocean, and the drought-like conditions and warm water temperatures in river spawning grounds that led to a huge decline in salmon survival in late 2013 to 2015.

Puget Sound anglers who haven’t seen a viable early-fall silver salmon fishery since 2014 will be giddy to know that we’ve turned the corner and opportunities should be decent from the Strait of Juan de Fuca clear into southern Puget Sound.

WDFW biologists are predicting a coho return of 557,149 (249,174 wild and 307,975 hatchery) this season, which is down slightly from 595,074 (294,360 and 300,713) in 2017, but well above 2016 when coho runs tanked faster than the financial crisis in 2008.

Forecasts for the five Puget Sound wild coho stocks in 2018 that make or break our sport salmon seasons – Strait, Skagit, Stillaguamish, Snohomish and Hood Canal – are all up big time from years past.

The Skagit wild coho return forecast of 59,196 is up a whopping 350 percent over 2017’s return of 13,235 and up 564 percent of 8,912 in 2016. The Stillaguamish forecast of 18,950 is up 149 percent from 2017’s return of 7,622 and up 584 percent of 2,770 in 2016. The Snohomish will also see a big bounce back with 65,925 up 294 percent from a return of 16,740 in 2016.

When the salmon seasons were signed, sealed and delivered last April, the sport coho fisheries set by WDFW increased dramatically. In all, 30 weeks of total fishing opportunity was closed the past two years to address conservation issues of wild Puget Sound coho stocks and will reopen based on the stronger 2018 forecasts.

Some early indicators leading to this “happy face emoji” was the great June resident silver fishery in central Puget Sound (Area 10) that carried on well into August, and some early migratory coho began to show up in catches during the late-summer hatchery chinook fishery. In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Sekiu was also seeing some decent early hatchery coho action in late August.

Hatchery coho are fair game Sept. 1-30 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Sekiu to Port Angeles (Areas 5 and 6). It is a given at this time the “no vacancy” sign will be flashing at resorts in the Strait and marinas will be filled to the brim with boats as hordes of anglers pursue feisty, big ocean-run coho.

In the San Juan Islands (Area 7) anglers can keep all coho through Sept. 30. The northern section of Whidbey Island’s east side (Area 8-1) is open through Sept. 30 for all coho, and the popular southern portion (Area 8-2) – Ports Susan and Gardner – are open until Sept. 23. Popular fishing spots will be from the south part of Camano Island clear down to the Shipwreck and Possession Bait House areas.

Shore-bound anglers can also get in on the action at the Bait House where coho were present when it opened last month. Other “go to” locations from shore are west side of Whidbey Island at Bush and Lagoon points, Fort Casey, Point No Point, Marrowstone Island, Point Wilson near Port Townsend, and various piers, docks and shorelines from Edmonds to Seattle and as far south as Tacoma.
The two marine areas that will be glittering with silvers are northern (Area 9) and central (Area 10) Puget Sound. Hatchery coho salmon fishing will be open in Area 9 through Sept. 30, and in Area 10 anglers can keep all coho through Nov. 15.

South-central (Area 11) and southern (Area 13) Puget Sound and Hood Canal (Area 12) are all open for coho through Sept. 30, and then each location remains open beyond that date for salmon fishing. Anglers should consult the regulation pamphlet for what salmon species you can target in each area.

Marine locations like Sekiu in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca were good coming into the end of last month as was popular coho places like east side of Whidbey Island from Mukilteo south to Shipwreck; Possession Bar; west side of Whidbey Island from Bush Point to Fort Casey; Jefferson Head; Edmonds oil dock; and Meadow Point south to West Point near Shilshole Bay.

Lastly, anglers will also have a chance to fish certain sections of the Skagit and Snohomish river systems – closed in 2016 and 2017 – for coho salmon in September.

2018-19 coastal razor clam outlook is a mixed bag

This coming fall, winter and spring will see some highlights and lowlights for coastal razor clams depending on what beaches you choose to dig.

WDFW have finished summer razor clam population assessments and places like Copalis, Mocrocks and Twin Harbors while Long Beach looks somewhat dismal and Kalaloch is still in a rebuilding stage.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Expect this to be a gap year for Long Beach where a loss of juvenile razor clams and poor digging success in 2017-18 will lead to another season of struggles where abundance levels are the lowest seen in the past 25 years.

One theory in the population decline is poor salinity levels on a good portion of Long Beach and freshwater run-off from the Columbia River aren’t favorable for young clams to thrive in.

Preliminary postseason estimates coast-wide from 2017-18 for 27 digging days showed 257,004 digger trips produced 2,731,461 razor clams for 10.6 clam per person average – the first 15 clams is a daily limit regardless of size or condition.

The good news is a marine toxin known as domoic acid – a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae that can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities – is very low.

The latest testing showed levels between 1 to 2 parts-per-million and the action level is 20 parts-per-million.

Fall and winter razor clam digs occur during evening low tides while spring-time digs occur during morning low tides.

Dates haven’t been determined by WDFW although looking at the calendar it appears the best low tides start date will occur on Oct. 26-29 and Nov. 8-10. Exactly how much digging time hinges on discussions between WDFW and tribal fishery co-managers.
State Fish and Wildlife plans to have the public comment review period should ready by the middle of September. For details, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

NW Salmon Derby Series culminates this month with boat raffle

It has been a very busy summer with the NW Chevy Dealer truck and KingFisher boat traveling across the Pacific Northwest!

Angler turnout and fishing success has been delightful in July and August at the Bellingham PSA Salmon Derby; Big One Salmon Derby at Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho; Brewster Salmon Derby; South King County PSA Derby; Gig Harbor PSA Derby; and Vancouver, B.C. Canada Chinook Classic.

SOME LUCKY ANGLER IS GOING TO WIN THIS BOAT THIS MONTH! (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Now it’s time to rev up the trolling motors for the PSA Edmonds Coho Derby on Sept. 8, and the biggest derby on West Coast – the Everett Coho Derby on Sept. 22-23.

We’ll be drawing the lucky name at Everett on Sept. 23 to win a grand-prize $65,000 KingFisher 2025 Falcon Series boat powered with Honda 150hp and 9.9hp motors on an EZ-loader galvanized trailer. It is fully rigged with Scotty downriggers, Raymarine electronics, a WhoDat Tower and a Dual Electronic Stereo. Details: www.NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.

I’m just as stoked about the weeks ahead filling the cooler with silvers like I was back in June for kings in Area 11 off Tacoma. I’ll see you on the water with a few cut-plug herring spinning fast off the stern of my boat!

 

Washington’s Last Razor Clam Dig Of The Season Coming Up April 19-22

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Clam diggers have one last chance to dig razor clams this season during the final opening set to begin April 19.

LED BY THEIR “RAZOR CLAM MASTER” GRANDFATHER, WALLY SANDE (LEFT), CORBIN, LEXI AND AUSTIN HAN, THEIR PARENTS JERRY AND BRITT, ALONG WITH WALLY’S WIFE CAROL, ENJOYED A GREAT DIG A COUPLE APRILS AGO NEAR WESTPORT, LIMITING IN JUST HALF AN HOUR OR SO. AFTERWARDS, JERRY ALSO ENJOYED CATCHING REDTAIL SURFPERCH ON CLAM NECKS. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

Mocrocks will be open for digging for four days, April 19-22, joined by Long Beach and Twin Harbors during the weekend of April 21-22. Copalis will be open only on Saturday, April 21.

“Since this is likely the last dig of the spring season, we expect a good turnout,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW’s coastal shellfish manager. “The opening also coincides with the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival on Saturday.”

For the first two days of the opening, digging must be completed by noon. That is not the case, however, for the final two days, when low tides occur close to noon those days, Ayres said. WDFW has extended digging times for April 21-22, as listed below.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and morning low tides:

  • April 19, Thursday9:46 a.m.; -0.9 feet; Mocrocks
  • April 20Friday10:37 a.m.; -0.7 feet; Mocrocks
  • April 21Saturday11:34 a.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Copalis (digging hours will be extended to 1 p.m.)
  • April 22Sunday12:38 p.m.; -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks (digging hours will be extended to 2 p.m.)

Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2018-19 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 the dig, state wildlife managers urge clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in the soft, dry sand on the southern section of Twin Harbors beach and at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula. 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.

More details on how to avoid disturbing nesting birds can be found on the WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.