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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 14, 2011 at 3:09 PM

A slight rise in marine toxins found in razor clams on one coastal beach, but others appear good

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The first fall coastal razor clam digs are scheduled to begin on Oct. 28-29 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks, but there has been some minor issues over marine toxins at Twin Harbors.

“We got test dig results (Thursday, Oct. 13) and there is a little concern about Twin Harbors for the toxin that creates paralytic shellfish poison (PSP), which is up a bit in razor clams,” said Dan Ayres, the head coastal state Fish and Wildlife shellfish manager.

“It is the highest levels we’ve seen so far this year, but still below the action level,” Ayres said. “It is not off the charts high, and I don’t want to get anyone too spooked.”

State Fish and Wildlife will conduct their next round of test digging around Oct. 19, and might have the results back from those samples from the Department of Health soon after.

“I’m not sure when we’ll get the news release out and it could be either Oct. 21 or Oct. 24, I just don’t know at this point,” Ayres said.

As for other coastal beaches, Ayres says it appears nothing should hold back the upcoming digs.

“Everything else looks kosher, and we have seen PSP bounce up, but not quite as much as Twin Harbors,” Ayres said. “During out first round of samples we noticed that there are some small clams mixed in, which isn’t unusual in the fall digs.”

Asked if they expect a huge turnout for the first fall digs, Ayres says a lot of that factor points to mainly weather and a few other parameters.

“This fall’s opener is a little later than in most years, and so I expect the turnout won’t be quite as big,” Ayres said. “Last year, we had an early October opener so we had a bigger turnout, but there are a lot of clam hungry people out there.”

After the initial opener most other opportunities are set at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks, because those beaches have the highest number of clams available for harvest. Those dates are Nov. 11-12, Nov. 25-26 and Dec. 22-23 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

Additional digs at Copalis Beach are Nov. 25 and Dec. 23. The reason for the short window of opportunity at Copalis is due to a lack of clams.

No digging will be allowed before noon on any of the open beaches.

Dates are still being worked out for Kalaloch Beach.

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

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Diggers must take the first 15 razor clams dug regardless of size or condition. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

Dates and low tides:

Oct. 28 – 8:28 p.m., minus-1.8 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.

Oct. 29 – 9:17 p.m., -1.5 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.

Nov. 11 – 6:48 p.m., -0.4 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

Nov. 12 – 7:23 p.m., -0.4 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

Nov. 25 – 6:27 p.m., -1.9 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.

Nov. 26 – 7:14 p.m., -1.8 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

Dec. 10 – 6:30 p.m., -0.5 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

Dec. 22 – 4:40 p.m., -0.9 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

Dec. 23 – 5:29 p.m., -1.4 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.

(Photos taken by Mark Yuasa during last spring’s digs)

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