More coastal razor clams were set for next month, and those come on the heels of what was one of the earliest starts of the fall season which occurred last Thursday through Monday (Sept. 19-23).
“We had on and off again digging success with great weather conditions on two nights followed by some bad conditions on the others,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager.
“There was great weather on Thursday night (Sept. 19), and Friday was a little rough when the rain and wind came up,” Ayres said. “Then Saturday it was bluebird conditions, which was the calm before the storm came. Then on Sunday it went downhill and we had a pretty big swell train hit the coast with a high surf advisory and 17-foot swells. Things were also tougher on Monday.”
A total of 8,900 diggers turned out for the five-day dig at Twin Harbors producing a catch of 14.3 clams per person (the first 15 dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit and each diggers clams must be kept in separate containers).
“We had some wastage (where clams are discarded on beaches) and that is always a frustration,” Ayres said. “In general it looks like we’re in great shape heading down the road for more digging.”
The next tentative digs are:
Oct. 4, Friday, 6:56 p.m. with a low tide of 0.0 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; Oct. 5, Saturday, 7:36 p.m. with a minus-0.4 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; Oct. 6, Sunday, 8:17 p.m. with a -0.7 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors Mocrocks;
Oct. 7, Monday, 9:48 p.m. with a -0.8 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks; and Oct. 8, Tuesday, 10:40 p.m. with a -0.4 feet at Twin Harbors.
Oct. 17, Thursday, 6:15 p.m. with a -0.2 feet at Twin Harbors; Oct. 18, Friday, 6:57 p.m. with a -0.6 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; Oct. 19, Saturday, 7:38 p.m. with a -0.7 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; Oct. 20, Sunday, 8:16 p.m.; with a -0.7 feet at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks; Oct. 21, Monday, 8:55 p.m. with a -0.4 feet at Twin Harbors, Mocrocks; and Oct. 22, Tuesday, 9:34 p.m. with a -0.1 feet; Twin Harbors.
“We are still finalizing more digs for the remainder of the year into December, and those will likely be an every other week schedule,” Ayres said.
A report on last year’s season and prospects for this year are available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.
So far, the marine toxins have remained low in clams on all open beaches although fisheries managers are watching Oregon levels closely which spiked recently.
“We are watching some numbers on razor clams that were published (Tuesday) from Clatsop County beaches (on northern Oregon coast) which reached eight parts per million (the cutoff to close beaches is 20 ppm),” Ayres said. “This is highest I’ve seen in a long time and I’m a bit nervous although we aren’t seeing significant rises of plankton counts on our beaches. We can’t tell if it’s a bloom or not.”