It was a wacky bag of success for coastal razor clam diggers who headed to beaches in the past week.
“We had off the charts crowds on Saturday, and it was pretty darn close to a record turnout, and then by Sunday it dropped off a little bit,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager.
“On Saturday, the weather was disappointing and the surf was up, plus the clams weren’t showing up well anywhere,” Ayres said. “And then on Sunday, it was just the opposite.”
On Saturday, about 8,200 diggers were surveyed at Mocrocks, but the average was only 6.8 clams per person (the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit) although some managed to get their limits.
Success to the south at Long Beach on Saturday also saw 6,800 diggers who managed to pull out just 4.1 clams per person out of the sand.
The scene at Mocrocks by Sunday, when digging shifted to morning low tides, was much different and a little more than 2,000 diggers turned out and averaged 13.4 clams per person.
“A few people we encountered Sunday at Mocrocks got cold and simply gave up,” Ayres said. “Overall the clams were smaller at Mocrocks, but that was likely because the surf was up and pushed the diggers higher up on the beach where they encountered much smaller clams.”
“I had a report that digging was fantastic (on Sunday and Monday) at Long Beach and Twin Harbors,” Ayres said. “Hopefully the weather is better on the next series of digs, and we’ve got some decent low tides. We’ll also see how many clams we have left once the smoke clears (during the mid- and late-April digs), and hopefully plan more digs in May.”
Upcoming digging dates on morning low tides are:
Tuesday, April 1 (low tide at 8:22 a.m., -0.7 feet) at Twin Harbors and Long Beach; Wednesday, April 2 (low tide at 9:05 a.m., -0.6 feet) at Twin Harbors and Long Beach ; and Thursday, April 3 (low tide at 9:49 a.m., -0.3 feet) at Twin Harbors and Long Beach. Diggers must keep the first 15 razor clams dug regardless of size or condition. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.
More digs are also planned later this month and will get final approval probably about a week prior to each series of digs.
Tentative dates are: Monday, April 14 (plus-0.2 feet at 6:46 a.m.) at Twin Harbors; Tuesday, April 15 (-0.3 at 7:24 a.m.) at Twin Harbors and Long Beach; Wednesday, April 16 (-0.6 at 8:03 a.m.) at Twin Harbors and Long Beach; Thursday, April 17 (-0.8 at 8:43 a.m.) at Twin Harbors and Long Beach; Friday, April 18 (-0.8 at 9:26 a.m.) at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; Saturday, April 19 (-0.7 at 10:14 a.m.) at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks; and Sunday, April 19 (-0.4 at 11:06 a.m.) at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.