Tag Archives: razor clams

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/.

South Coast Razor Clam Digs Coming Up March 16-17, More Pencilled In For April 19-22

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 two-day opening beginning March 16.

(JASON BAUER)

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.

“Last weekend, we had a great turnout for the dig at Mocrocks,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW. “We’ll have more beaches open for this upcoming dig and expect to draw some crowds, especially with the Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival on Saturday.”

With daylight savings coming up, Ayres noted the best digging will take place before sunset each night of the opening. Typically, Ayres encourages people to dig an hour or two before low tide for optimal results. Digging is not allowed at any beach before noon.

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

  • March 16Friday7:03 p.m.; +0.2 feet; Copalis, Mocrocks
  • March 17Saturday7:36 p.m.; +0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

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 2017-18 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.

Another dig is tentatively scheduled on various ocean beaches April 19-22. State shellfish managers typically announce whether a dig will go forward about a week before the opening. For updates on upcoming digs, see WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

Yuasa: Tons Of Blackmouth Fishing, Razor Clam Digging Ops In March

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

The feeling of excitement started to build in the middle of last month when the days were getting a little longer, spring felt just that much closer, and most of all more fishing options are now coming into play throughout the Pacific Northwest.

It was back during the Seattle Boat Show – our most successful in attendance and boat sales – after logging 90-plus miles on my sneakers and putting in 12- to 15-hour days where people came up to chat with me on all things fishing. But, in particular it was one man who said, “Hey you’re Mark Yuasa and I just loved your columns, but miss you not being in the newspaper.”

AUTHOR MARK YUASA REPORTS THAT FAMED POSSESSION BAR HAS BEEN PRODUCING BLACKMOUTH SINCE IT REOPENED FEB. 16. (NMTA)

I replied, “Well thank you for the kind words, but no need to miss out on my column.”

That drew a rather perplexed look, which in turn I told him you can still find me in places like the Reel News and other outdoor publications. His response was “Wow that is great and I’m stoked! So where should I go fishing in the next couple of months?”

That last comment got his head swirling faster than a jig fluttering to the bottom of Puget Sound as I spoon fed him with plenty of fishing choices.

Even if you could stay “Sleepless in Seattle” there wouldn’t be enough time to hit every spring-time fishery on the must do list, but there’s no doubt with a little homework that an angler who uses their free time wisely can score an A+ in the fishing gradebook.
In order to keep everyone’s grade above the standards here are the possibilities for success.

After months of delays, the northern Puget Sound and east side of Whidbey Island (Marine Catch Areas 9, 8-1 and 8-2) finally reopened for hatchery chinook.

It appears hitting the pause button did work to some extent as the catch of sub-legal chinook – those under the 22-inch minimum “keeper” size limit – were less abundant as they had been way back before the Christmas holidays.

The first few days of the fishing season – which began on Feb. 16 – saw nasty weather with winds 10 to 30 knots blowing, but by President’s Day (Feb. 20) the situation calmed down enough that anglers managed to dial-in on success.

Hit the usual spots like Possession Bar, Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend, Point No Point, Marrowstone Island; Double Bluff off south west side of Whidbey Island; Hat Island at the “racetrack”; Columbia Beach; Onamac Point; and Elger Bay.

Still on top of list, but not quite as grand as it had been in January are the San Juan Islands (Area 7) where catches of nice-sized fish were still coming from places like Thatcher Pass; Peavine Pass; Speiden Island; Spring Pass; Obstruction Island; Clark and Barnes Islands; Parker Reef; Point Thompson; Peavine Pass; Doughty Point; Obstruction Pass; Waldron Island; Lopez Pass; and Presidents Channel.

Even more exciting is the fact that the Strait of Juan de Fuca comes into play for hatchery chinook this month.

Sekiu in the western Strait harkens me back to the “good old days” of salmon fishing, and it’s open March 16 through April 30. The good news here is that don’t expect any premature closure with hungry chinook from the Caves to Eagle Point, and west from Slip Point-Mussolini Rock area to Pillar Point. The eastern Strait off Port Angeles to Freshwater Bay is another stop off for chinook through April 15.

Closer to Seattle, the doors to salmon fishing in central Puget Sound (Area 10) have closed, but south-central Puget Sound (Area 11) and Hood Canal (Area 12) are open through April 30, and southern Puget Sound is open year-round.

This month also marks a special time for coastal communities who come out of a winter slumber as the bottom-fishing season kicks into high gear.

Ilwaco, Westport and La Push for opens lingcod and other bottom-fish on March 10. Bottom-fish fishing west of the Bonilla Tatoosh Island line off Neah Bay also opens on March 10, and east of the line is currently open year-round. The lingcod fishery on northern coast opens April 16.

Many will begin to make regular trips to the Lower Columbia River in pursuit of spring chinook. The 2018 forecast is 166,700 upriver spring chinook, which is 90 percent of recent 10-year average return. That is compared to 160,400 forecasted in 2017 and an actual return of 115,822, but somewhat down from 2016’s 188,800 and 187,816.

Spring coastal razor clam digs will be down somewhat from previous years, but mark your calendars for tentative dates set through April.

Final approval will depend on further marine toxin testing, which will likely be announced a week before each scheduled dig series. Digs in March occur during evening low tides after 12 p.m. while those in April are during morning low tides until 12 p.m. or until times noted below.

Dates are: March 2-3 at Mocrocks; March 16 at Copalis and Mocrocks; March 17 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; April 19-20 at Mocrocks; April 21 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks, digging hours will be extended to 1 p.m.; and April 22 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks, digging hours will be extended to 2 p.m.

More digging dates could occur later this spring if sufficient clams remain available to harvest.

The Puget Sound salmon forecasts were released on Feb. 27, and those who’d like to get involved with this rather arduous process should take a seat at some of the upcoming meetings.

Early word on the street is that fishing seasons could resemble last season, but it’s still too early in the game to know exactly how things will pan out. For a list of other meeting dates, go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.

First three events in Salmon Derby Series start off with decent action

Thousands of anglers converged to San Juan Islands for three salmon derbies – part of the NMTA’s NW Salmon Derby Series – since the New Year with good catches and decent weather conditions.

The Friday Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 8-10 had 100 boats with 329 anglers that weighed-in 122 fish (winning fish was 19.15 pounds).

In Roche Harbor Salmon Classic on Jan. 18-20 had 100 boats with 357 anglers weighing in 179 chinook (winning fish was 17 pounds, 11 ounces). The Resurrection Derby on Jan. 5-7 saw 102 boats with 334 anglers reeling-in 50 hatchery chinook (winning fish was 18.28 pounds).

There are 15 derbies in Washington, Idaho and British Columbia, Canada. Next up is Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby on March 9-11, and Everett Blackmouth Derby on March 17-18.

(NMTA)

Check out the grand prize $65,000 KingFisher 2025 Falcon Series boat powered with a Honda 150hp and 9.9hp trolling motors on an EZ-loader trailer. It is fully-rigged with Scotty downriggers; Raymarine Electronics; custom WhoDat Tower; and Dual Electronic stereo. Drawing for the boat will take place at conclusion of derby series. For details, go to http://www.nwsalmonderbyseries.com/.

Lastly, it was super great meeting everyone at the Seattle Boat Show where our combined net attendance for all three locations was 52,928, up 2.1 percent over last year. Indoor attendance at CenturyLink Field Event Center over all nine days of the show was 46,938, up 0.8 percent compared to last year.

On that note, I’ll see you on the water very soon!

Another Round Of Razor Clam Digging Coming Up On Washington Coast

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

Seven days of razor clam digging will get underway beginning Sunday, Jan. 28, on various coastal beaches.

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.

CADEN AND NATHAN HOLDER SHOW OFF RESULTS FROM A JANUARY 2018 DIG ON THE WASHINGTON COAST. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Four beaches will be open for digging on different days throughout the seven-day period, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager with WDFW.

“Not every beach is open every day – so folks need to be sure they know if the beach they are headed for is open,” Ayres said. “We’ve staggered the days various beaches are open to maximize the length of the opening.”

The best digging typically occurs one to two hours before low tide, said Ayres, noting that digging is not allowed at any beach before noon.

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

  • Jan. 28, Sunday, 4:06 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Mocrocks
  • Jan. 29, Monday, 4:59 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Copalis
  • Jan. 30, Tuesday, 5:47 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Jan. 31, Wednesday, 6:33 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Feb. 1, Thursday, 7:17 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Feb. 2, Friday, 8:00 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Feb. 3, Saturday, 8:42 p.m.; -0.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

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 2017-18 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.

WDFW will review harvest levels after this opening and announce a tentative schedule for upcoming digs in the next few weeks, Ayres said.

For updates on upcoming openings, see WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

 

Yuasa: Blackmouth, Chums, Razor Clams, More On Tap This Month

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

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

In the blink of an eye summer has ended, and while fall is ushering in iffy weather and waning daylight hours that shouldn’t stop anglers from venturing out on the water.

First and foremost are the decent chances this month to hook a winter blackmouth in northern Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 9), eastside of Whidbey Island (8-1 and 8-2), central Puget Sound (10); south-central Puget Sound (11); and southern Puget Sound (13).

CENTRAL PUGET SOUND’S MARINE AREAS 8-1, 8-2, 9 AND 10 ARE NOW OPEN FOR BLACKMOUTH. TEGAN YUASA, THE AUTHOR’S SON, GOT IN ON THIS NICE HAUL OF WINTER FEEDER KINGS. (MARK YUASA)

Many charter-boat owners and sport anglers will tell you this is their favorite time of year since blackmouth – a term used for a chinook’s black gum-line – are wired to constantly feed on schools of herring and candlefish.

In other words: “Find the bait and you’ll likely find a hungry blackmouth!”

Places like Possession Bar, Point No Point, Double Bluff off the south side of Whidbey Island, Jefferson Head, West Point, Point Monroe, Allen Bank off Blake Island, Hat Island, Baby Island, Clay Banks off Point Defiance, Camano Island and Southworth all come to mind with a plethora of other hot spots layered in between.

Another school of thought that makes this salmon fishery so much fun is the blackmouth’s predictability since the best bite is based on tidal influence. The payoff: If they bit the day before at a certain time frame, it’s very likely they’ll still be there the day after only an hour later into a tidal series.

Those planning on heading out for the Wednesday opening day of winter chinook fishing in northern and central Puget Sound (Marine Catch Areas 9 and 10) will likely find lots of chinook under the 22-inch legal-size limit.

According to WDFW test fishery folks who have been plying the water in advance of tomorrow’s opener have found on average the chinook were 2-inches smaller than last year during the same time frame in Area 9. Even the three legal-size chinook were just BARELY over 22 inches.

In northern Puget Sound they encountered two legal-marked chinook, one legal-unmarked, 14 sub-legal marked and two sub-legal unmarked.

In central Puget Sound they encountered one legal-unmarked and three sub-legal marked.

This may be of concern since the fisheries could close if the chinook guideline is achieved.

Get over the crabbiness by pulling in a pot of Dungies!

To make the winter holiday feast even more appealing is the fact you can set pots again for Dungeness crab in open Puget Sound areas now through Dec. 31.

While summer crab fishing was less than stellar those who dropped pots in the “zone” filled them up with plenty of Dungies. Word has it since reopening on Oct. 7 the crab have started to fill out and are much more meatier as they fatten up for the winter.

Look for good crabbing around Whidbey Island, northeast side of Kitsap Peninsula, Camano Island, Hat Island, Port Angeles Harbor, Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Islands. Remember due to a downtrend in crab abundance locations south of Edmonds and Hood Canal – Marine Catch Areas 10, 11, 12 and 13 are closed this winter.

Dog days of fall upon us!

The good news for salmon anglers is two-fold as the chinook fishery reopens in some local marine areas, but the bigger news is what looks to be an extremely strong chum return.

“It appears we’re at the beginning of a stronger than forecasted chum run for Hood Canal and South Sound,” said Marisa Litz, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) chum salmon biologist.

THIS FALL’S CHUM SALMON RUN IS COMING IN STRONGLY; PETE SERGEEF HOISTS A NICE ONE CAUGHT OFF JEFF HEAD LAST YEAR. (MARK YUASA)

Sport anglers at Hoodsport in Hood Canal saw some good catches of chum this where 53 anglers on Oct. 29 had 124 chum, and 67 on Oct. 28 had 150.

Likewise catches from commercial boats in central and south-central Puget Sound and Hood Canal were scoring good catches too.

“We had our initial (purse seine and gill-net) openings last week and this week, and based on our (catch per unit effort) they’re among the largest we’ve seen in the last 10 years,” Litz said.

Early boat ticket reports showed some as high as 4,000 chum per commercial boat on Oct. 18, and it appears they remained steady this past week.

“We had several purse seiners in Hood Canal and South Sound filling up their holds, and catching a lot of good quality bright chum,” Litz said. “Of course, it is still too early, and we haven’t changed any of our preseason run-size forecasts just yet.”

The total fall chum return is 1,070,968, and a breakdown of that figure shows 492,892 for Hood Canal and 291,357 for South Sound rivers and streams.

Other fall chum forecasts are 109,337 for Nooksack/Samish; 6,966 for Skagit; 5,981 for Stillaguamish; 20,53 for Snohomish; 141,893 for central Puget Sound; and 2,061 for Strait of Juan de Fuca. Many rivers are closed to all salmon fishing to protect weak returning stocks. Check the WDFW pamphlet for what is open and/or closed to fishing.

“This is still the early stage of chum returns, but all indications show we’re going to exceed that based on the catches the last few weeks,” Litz said. “We’ve had pretty atrocious returns of pinks, and issues with chinook and coho so to see this chum return likely exceeding expectations is great news.”

WDFW and tribal fishery managers are assessing chum forecasts, and will likely start having conversations to consider increasing the run-size very soon, which could be as soon as this week.

Chum salmon – better known as dog salmon for their ferocious-looking jawline at spawning time – are also one of the hardest-fighting fish a sport angler will hook, and they can weigh up to and over 20 pounds with most averaging 8 to 15 pounds.

Anglers pursuing chums will have plenty of opportunities along some of the more traditional fishing holes, which will give up decent action in the weeks ahead with the peak usually occurring around Thanksgiving.

Popular locales are the estuaries off Kennedy Creek in Totten Inlet, Perry Creek in Eld Inlet, Johns Creek and Canyon Creek in Oakland Bay, Chico Creek estuary in Dyes Inlet and Curly Creek estuary near Southworth.

Other good places to try for chum are North Bay near Allyn, 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.

The heavy rain in past couple of weeks has pushed a lot of the early chums toward estuaries where they’ll stage before up into rivers and streams.

A bobber and anchovy or small firecracker-sized herring is the most productive way to catch fish, but tossing flies, spinners, jigs and spoons will also catch their fair share of fish. In this fishery many believe the color chartreuse is the “must have” color in your tackle gear to catch chums.

The strong abundance of chum also bodes well when northern Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 9) and east side of Whidbey Island (8-1 and 8-2) reopens for blackmouth on Wednesday (Nov. 1). Anglers at places like Possession Bar and Double Bluff off the south side of Whidbey Island, Point No Point, Kingston, Pilot Point and Port Townsend should find their decent share of fish to catch.

Can you dig it?

Coastal razor clam diggers searching for the prized bivalves at Mocrocks. Fall and winter may bring harsh weather, but diggers can find hot digging.

If you can dig this news as much as I dig it, be sure to add razor clams to the cornucopia of holiday meals. Hint: Think clams instead of turkey or ham or better yet all three for a surf-and-turf celebration.

Digging is open during evening low tides on Thursday (Nov. 2) and Saturday (Nov. 4) at Copalis; Friday (Nov. 3) and Sunday (Nov. 5) at Mocrocks; and Friday through Sunday at Long Beach and Twin Harbors.

Diggers are reminded that the dig on Nov. 5 is when we set the clocks back one hour. Low tides are plus-0.1 feet at 6:03 p.m. on Thursday; minus-0.7 feet at 6:47 p.m. on Friday; -1.2 at 7:31 p.m. on Saturday; and -1.4 at 7:16 p.m. on Sunday.

Other coastal razor clam digs tentatively planned are Dec. 1 at Copalis; Dec. 2 and 4 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; Dec. 3 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Copalis; and Dec. 31 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. The season openers on Oct. 6-7 lured 28,300 diggers with an average of 12.5 clams per digger – the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit. A breakdown showed Long Beach seekers averaged 11.9; Twin Harbors, 12.4; Copalis, 13.3; and Mocrocks, 12.6. Average size was 4 to 5 inches with bigger clams at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.
The only thing holding back future digs are a passing grade for marine toxin testing conducted prior to each series of digs. For details, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

On freshwater scene, state fisheries plans to plant about 260,000 catchable-sized trout to boost holiday fishing in Puget Sound and Southwest Washington year-round lakes.

Issaquah’s Beaver Lake got a plant of 800 jumbo-sized trout last month with 800 more going in right before Thanksgiving. Then just before Christmas another 800 will be added to zest up the holiday fishing fun. Check WDFW’s website for latest statewide trout plants at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/.

Word on NW Salmon Derby and more

Next up on the Northwest Salmon Derby Series is Everett No-Coho Blackmouth Salmon Derby this weekend (Nov. 4-5). This year’s grand prize – an $85,000 fully-loaded Hewescraft 220 OceanPro powered with Honda 250- and 9.9-horsepower motors on an EZ-Loader Tandem axle galvanized trailer – will be given away at the derby in a raffle drawing to one lucky person.

SOME LUCKY NORTHWEST SALMON ANGLER’S GOING TO WALK AWAY WITH THIS GREAT BOAT AT THE CONCLUSION OF THIS WEEKEND’S EVERETT NO-COHO BLACKMOUTH DERBY. (NORTHWEST SALMON DERBY SERIES)

We’ve also got plenty more exciting surprises coming up in 2018 for the derby series so stay tuned as we get amped up on forthcoming news.

Lastly, I’m drafting The Seattle Boat Show fishing seminars, and we’ve got new additions to spice it up when the show drops anchor Jan. 26 to Feb. 3 at Century Link Field and Event Center. It’s a one-stop get all the tips on where and how to catch fish from some of the best experts in Pacific Northwest.

It’s On! Razor Clamming Kicks Off Oct. 6-7 On Washington’s South Coast

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

The first razor clam dig of the fall season will get underway Oct. 6-7 at four ocean beaches.

(JASON BAUER)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has approved the dig on evening tides at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks after marine toxin tests showed that clams on those beaches are safe to eat. No digging will be allowed on any beach before noon.

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

  • Oct. 6, Friday, 7:49 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Oct. 7, Saturday, 8:33 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, recommends that diggers hit the beach about an hour or two before low tide for the best results.

Before receiving the test results, Ayres said he had received a number of calls from diggers about an erroneous newspaper story that suggested that ocean beaches would remain closed to digging.

“A map on the Washington Department of Health’s website indicates that beaches are closed to razor clam digging up until they are cleared to open by the test results,” Ayres said. “We’re pleased that we are able to move ahead with this opening as scheduled.”

A recent statement in a story about Pierce County’s shellfish ban might have caused some confusion among razor clam diggers. While it’s true that the Washington coast has been closed to clam digging, that closure could be superseded by favorable results from a marine toxin test, due as early as Oct. 3. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will post the results of that test at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

WDFW has tentatively scheduled another dig for Nov. 2-5, pending results of future toxin tests. More information on planned digs can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 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, 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 throughout the 2017-18 razor clam season, a research team from the University of Maryland will be out on the beaches seeking volunteers to participate in a survey about razor clam consumption and harvesting practices. For more information, contact Lynn Grattan at 877-668-4559 or LGrattan@som.umaryland.edu.

Oregon’s Best Beaches For Razor Clams Opening Sunday After 1-plus-year Closure

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

Razor clamming on Clatsop County beaches will reopen on Sunday, Oct. 1 after a 16-month closure.

Razor clamming in this area has been closed since July 2016 due to high levels of biotoxins found in the clams and an annual closure to protect newly set young clams that runs from July 15-Sept. 30 each year. While other parts of the state’s coast have been open to razor clamming, Clatsop County beaches are the most popular spot and account for 90 percent of Oregon’s harvest.

AFTER BEING CLOSED FOR HARVEST FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, CLATSOP COUNTY BEACHES ARE REOPENING THIS COMING SUNDAY FOR DIGGING RAZOR CLAMS. (ODFW)

Oregon Dept. of Agriculture tests shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides permit, to determine if razor clams and other shellfish are safe to eat. Results from ODA’s two most recent tests (on Sept. 22 and Sept. 8) show clams are safe.

The last time Clatsop County’s season was open in summer 2016, razor clammers experienced a record year, with most reaching their daily bag limit of 15 in a short time. Clammers will find different conditions when they return on Oct. 1 as ODFW’s annual survey found significantly lower abundance of razor clams since surveys began in 2004.

“In 2016, abundance peaked and surveys estimated 16 million razor clams in the 18-mile stretch between the Columbia River south jetty and Tillamook Head,” says Matt Hunter, ODFW’s Shellfish Project Leader. “This year, the estimate is just 3 million clams in that area.”

“These low numbers are troubling, as they mean Clatsop beaches haven’t seen a significant recruitment event for two years,” continued Hunter.  “But this recruitment issue is not isolated to just Clatsop beaches. It’s being seen on the entire Oregon coast and for Washington beaches, too.”

Razor clam populations are very cyclical and the population appears to be in a low abundance period, following a very high abundance period in 2015-16. However, current clams are larger, averaging about 4 ½ inches, with only a few clams smaller than 4-inches found. Surveys showed clams distributed sporadically along the entire stretch of the beach.

“While razor clam numbers are lower this year, clams are quite large,” Hunter said. “To be successful, clammers should be diligent, choose the best low tides and actively ‘pound’ to get razors to show.”

AN ODFW CHART ILLUSTRATES RAZOR CLAM ABUNDANCE BETWEEN THE MOUTH OF THE COLUMBIA AND SEASIDE. (ODFW)

As always, the bag limit for razor clams is the first 15 dug, with no sorting or releasing allowed.

ODA tests for shellfish toxins twice per month, as tides permit, and closes seasons with ODFW when toxins reach an unsafe level. Clammers should always call the shellfish hotline (800-448-2474) or check the ODA website before harvesting clams.

 

Get Out Your Calendars! Tentative WA Coast Razor Clam Season Announced

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

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has announced a tentative schedule for the fall razor clam season set to begin in early October.

Final approval of all scheduled openings will depend on results of marine toxin tests, which are usually conducted about a week before a dig is scheduled to begin.

RAZOR CLAMMERS WORK THE BEACH DURING AN EARLY 2010 SEASON OPENER. (JASON BAUER)

“We’re releasing a tentative schedule to give people plenty of time to make plans to go digging this fall,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW.

State shellfish managers are also seeking public input on management options, including scheduling for spring digs. Comments on the spring digs can be sent via email to razorclams@dfw.wa.gov.

A summary of last season and an overview of the recently completed razor clam stock assessment are available in WDFW’s 2017-18 Razor Clam Management Plan at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fi…/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.

Based on beach surveys conducted this summer, WDFW estimates the total razor clam population on Washington’s beaches has decreased significantly from last season, which means fewer days of digging this season.

Ayres said the decline in clam populations was likely caused, at least in part, by an extended period of low salinity in surf zone ocean waters, particularly those near Long Beach and Twin Harbors.

“The total number of clams may be down this year, but we still expect good digging on most beaches,” Ayres said.

Proposed razor clam digs through December are listed below, along with evening low tides and beaches:

· Oct. 6, Friday, 7:49 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

· Oct. 7, Saturday, 8:33 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

· Nov. 2, Thursday, 6:03 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Copalis

· Nov. 3, Friday, 6:47 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

· Nov. 4, Saturday, 7:31 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

· Nov. 5, Sunday, 7:16 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

· Dec. 1, Friday, 4:42 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Copalis

· Dec. 2, Saturday, 6:49 p.m.; -1.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

· Dec. 3, Sunday, 6:15 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

· Dec. 4, Monday, 7:02 p.m.; -1.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

· Dec. 31, Sunday, 5:12 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Long Beach Razor Clam Tox Test Results Due Tuesday

Though Shoreline is a long way from Washington’s razor clam beaches, diggers will want to keep their eyes out for news from this Seattle suburb tomorrow about a potential Long Beach opener.

If results from the state health lab there are good, we could see digging green-lighted at Long Beach for the first time in a year.

A WDFW GRAPH SHOWS LEVELS OF TOXIC DOMOIC ACID IN RAZOR CLAMS AT LONG BEACH. TWENTY PARTS PER MILLION, THE BLACK DASHED LINE, IS CONSIDERED THE ACTION LEVEL FOR CLOSING DIGGING, OR OPENING IT IF WE GET TWO SUCCESSIVE READINGS BELOW IT. (WDFW)

The key is for the sample of 12 razor clams that were collected yesterday, cleaned and put into a blender, and now are undergoing testing by high-performance liquid chromatography to ring up a reading of less than 20 parts per million of domoic acid.

If they do, that would be the second test in a row that would meet state health standards, and WDFW shellfish manager Dan Ayres in Montesano said he could be looking at a midweek opener.

And in almost the same breath Ayres warns that we were at this very same point just a month ago, when a March 12 test result showed just 9.0 ppm at the state’s longest strand, but then the follow-up came in at 21.0.

He termed it “frustrating” that the razor clams haven’t cleared the domoic acid they picked up last September from their systems to allow an opener. With digging wrapping up in May, time’s running short for one.

By somewhere around this time on Tuesday, we’ll know if it’s a go for this week, or if we’re back to square one.

Fingers crossed!