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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 28, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Coastal razor clam diggers found excellent digging this past week

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Those who turned out for the coastal razor clam digs that occurred from April 19-23 encountered not only excellent digging but ideal spring-like weather.

“It definitely had improved everywhere with very close to limits for everybody, and the tides and conditions were better,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish biologist.

Diggers at Twin Harbors averaged 14.8 clams per person (the first 15 clams dug is a daily limit); at Long Beach it was 15.0; at Copalis it was 14.8; and at Mocrocks it was 15.0.

“You couldn’t have asked for better weather conditions, and we also saw a big bump in the size of the clams and a lot of that had to do with diggers being able to get out farther (into the surf line),” Ayres said.

More digs are planned in early May, although one coastal beach will not be open since it had reached their harvest quota.

“We’ve reached our share of the total allowable catch at Copalis (10,500 diggers showed up for the latest dig compared to 5,000 at Mocrocks) so it is done for the season,” Ayres said. “We are looking at additional days for the other beaches (except Kalaloch which was decided by Olympic National Park to remain closed) and still waiting for the final word.”

“We should get an announcement out by Friday, and the first part of (May) there is a good low tide,” Ayres said.

Ayres did say his crews out surveying the beaches did see some clam wastage (which affects the harvest allotment), although it is not unusual to see.

A total of 34,000 digger trips occurred during this past series of digs, which was one of the larger ones this winter and spring, and fell just short by a 1,000 diggers compared to the largest turnout during the New Year digs.

“Overall effort was a little less than we might have expected especially at Long Beach,” Ayres said. “Normally we see more Oregon license plates, but Oregon said they saw more diggers on their beaches, and that might have something to do with the higher gas prices.”

Ayres says they should also have the marine toxin test results by Friday too since the latest samples of clams were sent to the lab on Wednesday morning (April 27).

“I don’t anticipate any troubles with marine toxins, but sometimes in the spring when it warms up we might see an increase in PSP, but you need some warmth and we haven’t had that this spring,” Ayres said.

(Photo taken by Mark Yuasa)

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