The recent coastal coastal razor clam digs were not only stellar, but also generated one of the largest turnouts this winter.
“It was off the charts digging (Feb. 7-12), and we had a total of 37,600 diggers coastwide with 14.95 clams per person (the first 15 dug is a daily limit),” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager.
A total of 561,000 clams were dug, and was by far the biggest series this year as far as turnout goes. The October season opener lured 19,000 diggers and 22,000 diggers came out on New Years.
“On Saturday alone we saw just shy of 23,000 people out, and that is one of the bigger single days we’ve had a in a longtime,” Ayres said. “The size of the clams weren’t too bad.”
At Long Beach razor clams averaged 3.9 inches; Twin Harbors it was 4.4 inches; Copalis it was 4.6 inches; and Mocrocks it was 4.5 inches.
“The big clams are mixed with some smaller ones, but from a biological standpoint this is great news,” Ayres said. “The clams are also in good condition. There is a lot of feed on the beaches. I believe this is why they were showing so well on the surface of the sand as they were actively feeding.”
“People were reporting a lot of brown stuff on beaches, and I had to tell them that it is diatoms (which the clams are feeding on),” Ayres said. “They need that, and a happy ocean equals happy clams.”
Ayres said his family got done digging at Twin Harbors before it got dark and just prior to low tide.
“It was daylight digging and it was great to see everybody getting limits,” Ayres said. “I like happy clam diggers.”
The next tentative dig is Feb. 23-24 at Long Beach and Twin Harbors. Digging is allowed after noon each day. State Fish and Wildlife will make a final announcement about a week before the opening.
Other afternoon digging dates are March 7-8 and March 11 at Twin Harbors; and March 9-10 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.
Morning digs will occur March 28 and March 31 at Twin Harbors; March 29-30 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.
More digs are also planned in April and May.
“We’ve got plenty of digging days ahead,” Ayres said. “We’ll announce more dates after the March digs.”
(Photo by Mark Yuasa)