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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

February 24, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Spring coastal razor clam digs set after what had been a great winter season

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The spring coastal razor digs have been tentatively set for March and April, and comes on the heels of an excellent winter season.

“We saw a pretty consistent winter season with some crummy weather thrown in there,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish biologist. “There was a total of 87,000 diggers trips and 1.05-million clams dug for a 12.1 clams per person average.”

Ayres said this will allow people time to get the digs on their spring calendars, and final word on openings will be decided about a week before each is scheduled to start.

The dates are: March 10-11 and March 24 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; March 25 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; April 7-8 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Kalaloch; and April 9 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch.

Unlike the winter digs which occur at night, the spring digs will be allowed during morning low tides and open beaches will close after noon each day.

Additional digs in late April and early May at some beaches may occur if enough clams are still available for harvest.

The dig planned at Copalis on March 24 will coincide with the popular Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival, which includes a chowder cookoff and other events. Details: www.oceanshores.org.

Terrible surf conditions didn’t stop razor clam diggers from turning out off the coast last weekend.

“I was at Mocrocks, and was actually surprised at the turnout where we saw 4,000 diggers on Saturday,” Ayres said. “We had a surf advisory, and while the surf was up and the wind was blowing, the weather cleared and it wasn’t raining.”

“Half the people we talked to at Mocrocks had their (15-clam daily) limit, and the others had nothing so we ended up with an 8.2 average there,” Ayres said. “By Sunday the tide was a hair better, and conditions improved markedly.”

Coastwide on Saturday almost 11,200 diggers turned out and averaged 8.0 clams per person. And on Sunday, 17,300 diggers turned out, and they averaged 14.0 clams per person with close to limits at Mocrocks and limits for diggers at Long Beach.

“I was at Long Beach on Saturday and there was 20-foot swells, but it was doable, and the clams were there,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “We got our limits pretty easily (both days) and there was some nice-sized clams.”

At Twin Harbors the average was 10.0 clams per person on Sunday.

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