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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 2, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Recent coastal razor clam digs showed limits were the rule

Spring1The most recent coastal razor clam digs from March 28 through Sunday were off-the-charts, according to state Fish and Wildlife.

“It was a spectacular weekend for clam digging with lots of happy diggers,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “The weather and surf cooperated, we had a decent low tide, and the ocean was so flat it looked like you could walk across the water to Japan.”

An estimated 39,600 digger trips were take coastwide (23,000 of those trips occurred on Saturday alone) and 594,000 clams were harvested for an average of 15.0 clams per person (the first 15 clams dug are a daily limit).

“It was very easy digging and many were done with their limits of big clams in 10 minutes,” Ayres said. “Our enforcement guys were busy as some folks were tempted to take more than their share.”

“I worked at Copalis and all the limits of clams I saw were beautiful and we’ll be close to a 5-inch average on size,” Ayres said.

Ayres says there was some pretty big issues with clam wastage (where diggers leave clams on top of beaches in search of bigger ones) especially at Twin Harbors and to some degree at Long Beach.

“It is not unusual when you have a mix of big and small clams on beaches,” Ayres said. “The law says you must take your first 15 clams dug regardless of what you get.”

The wastage rates of razor clams, Ayres points out, are included in the total harvest so those who do follow the rules are affected by those who aren’t in the future.

State Fish and Wildlife dug the latest test samples on Monday (April 1), and will go to the lab Tuesday (April 2). Test results should be known by this Wednesday or Thursday.

“We’re not seeing anything in the water, but it has been warm and sunny and the (marine toxin) plankton love that so we’ll keep an eye out,” Ayres said.

Tentative opening dates in April are:

Twin Harbors – Tuesday, April 9, 0.0 feet at 6:39 a.m., Wednesday, April 10, -0.3 at 7:19 a.m.; and Thursday, April 10, -0.4 at 7:57 a.m.

Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks – Friday, April 12, -0.4 at 8:34 a.m.; Saturday, April 13, -0.2 at 9:11 a.m.; and Sunday, April 14, 0.1 ay 9:49 a.m.

Twin Harbors – Wednesday, April 24, -0.3 at 6:10 a.m.; Thursday, April 25, -1.0 at 6:54 a.m.

Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks – Friday, April 26, -1.5 at 7:38 a.m.; Saturday, April 27, -1.7 at 8:24 a.m.; Sunday, April 28, -1.7 at 9:11 a.m.

Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks – Monday, April 29, -1.5 at 10:01 a.m.

Twin Harbors – Tuesday, April 30, -1.0 at 10:55 a.m.

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