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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 2, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Upcoming low tides will boost shellfish gathering choices

An extreme low tide between Thursday and Monday should expose a lot of Puget Sound and Hood Canal beaches for clams, oysters and the fabled geoduck.

“Clam populations are good and we’ve got longer seasons overall on most of our beaches,” said Alex Bradbury, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Brinnon. “We’ve added 17 months on 13 different beaches than we had last year for clams. And for oysters we’ve added seven months on 10 beaches.”

Good shellfish beaches include Dosewallips State Park, Fort Flagler, Potlatch State Park, Duckabush and South Indian Island County Park. Note: All Whatcom County beaches, including Birch Bay State Park are closed due to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning.

Bradbury points out that the colder spring weather has delayed oysters to mature, and that is good because they’re spawning later and right now they’re still “fat and flavorful.”

“That is not backed up by science, but just my impression, and I just had some (oysters) for lunch,” Bradbury said.

All eastern mainland beaches from Everett south into southern Puget Sound are also closed for shellfish due to unsafe pollution levels.

Before heading to a beach, call the marine biotoxin hotline at 800-562-5632 or visit the

Department of Health website. Also check the state fisheries hotline at 866-880-5431 or state Fish and Wildlife website. State Fish and Wildlife offers a good interactive shellfish map .

Come celebrate the mysterious and deep-dwelling geoduck clam at the Allyn Geoduck Festival 10 a.m.-2 p.m. this Saturday at Allyn in Case Inlet. Activities include a chain saw geoduck carving, geoduck derby, oyster shucking contest, and food and beverage.

Low tides: Thursday, minus-2.2 feet at 11:47 a.m.; Friday, -2.4 at 12:26 p.m.; Saturday, -2.4 at 1:07 p.m.; Sunday, -2.0 at 1:51 p.m.; and Monday, -1.3 at 2:36 p.m.

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