September 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Dig this: Twin Harbors to open early for coastal razor clam digs starting Sept. 19
Keep clam coastal razor clam enthusiasts about this exciting news!
Coastal razor clam enthusiasts will get a jump start on the season as Twin Harbors is set to open Sept. 19-23 for evening low tide digs between noon and midnight each day.
“There are a lot of clams at Twin Harbors, and we need to get an early start if we want a chance to dig them up this coming season,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “We have 800,000 more clams available to harvest than we had last year.”
Last year at Twin Harbors there was 1.5-million clams for sport harvest, and this coming season 2.3-million will be up for grabs.
The Twin Harbors Beach extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
Low tides: Sept. 19, minus-0.3 feet at 7:13 p.m.; Sept. 20, -0.5 at 7:57 p.m.; Sept. 21, -0.5 at 8:39 p.m.; Sept. 22, -0.3 at 9:21 p.m.; and Sept. 22, 0.0 at 10:04 p.m.
State Fish and Wildlife is also in the process of developing digging seasons for other beaches where clam populations are also very abundant and more digging days will be available than last year.
“At Mocrocks, the clam population is the highest we’ve ever measured dating back 20 years,” Ayres said of the area just north of Ocean Shores. “Populations are also up at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Long Beach. Short of any marine toxin issues, this is pretty exciting news.”
Diggers can expect a lot more digging opportunities at Long Beach and Twin Harbors, and north of Grays Harbor also will get additional days to harvest clams.
A total of 420,000 digger trips were made in 2012-13 with 6.1 million clams dug for an average of 14.5 clams per person (the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit).
“It was a darn good season, and the highest number of razor clams we’ve harvested in a given season in a long time,” Ayres said.
For comparison, in 2011-12 a total of 194,976 digger trips produced 2.5 million clams for 13.2 per digger average; and in 2010-11, a total of 244,500 produced 3.2 million for 13.1.
Unlike last year, when clams were abundant but small in size, surveys taken this summer paint a much different picture.
“Overall, the size of clams will be larger than last year by a half an inch or so,” Ayres said. “We’ll see some nice clams coming off the beaches right from the get-go, and they will only grow as we head into springtime.”
The only downside was Kalaloch off the northern coast, which has been in a funk for quite some time although recent clam surveys showed a slight increase.
“Kalaloch has been a disappointment, and the last time it was open (in 2011-12) we only offered three days of digging in the spring,” Ayres said. “We haven’t seen a good dig there in a long time, and it goes back a decade (to the 2003-04 season).”
Razor clam diggers will receive some good news at a pre-season public meeting scheduled by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in Long Beach this month.
State shellfish managers will present an update on coastal razor clam stocks and discuss options at a public meeting 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 at the City of Long Beach Depot, 102 Third Street Northwest.
Written comments will be accepted through Sept. 30 by emailing email@example.com. State Fish and Wildlife has also released this season’s stock assessment for public viewing at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.
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