The start of the coastal razor clam season is expected to begin in early October, and digging this fall, winter and spring will mirror what diggers saw last season.
In my story that ran in the Seattle Times this past Sunday (http://seattletimes.com/html/sports/2024474190_outnotes07xml.html) here is what Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager had to say.
“Generally things look pretty good with a significant increase in razor clams on three of the five coastal beaches,” he said. “We have millions of clam recruits, which should allow us a lot of digging days at Mocrocks, Twin Harbors and Long Beach. Copalis had a decrease, but nothing to be alarmed about. Kalaloch still doesn’t look good with a decrease in clam recruits.”
The harvest totals in 2013-14 surpassed anything seen since 1982, and those were pre-tribal sharing days when the seasons were open nine months out of the year.
The coastwide estimate total from Sept. 19, 2013 to June 1 was 451,046 diggers harvesting more than 6.2 million clams (compared to 420,000 with 6.1 million in 2012-13).
At Long Beach, 181,240 diggers took home more than 2.3 million clams for an average of 12.7 clams per digger (the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit); at Twin Harbors, 119,872 had more than 1.6 million for 13.8; at Copalis, 75,198 dug up more than 1.05 million for 14.0; and Mocrocks, 74,736 bagged more than 1.02 million for 13.5.
The 2011-12 season saw 194,976 digger trips producing 2.5 million clams for a 13.2 average, and in 2010-11, a total of 244,500 generated 3.2 million for 13.1.
Razor clams also were nice size, averaging 4.9 inches at Long Beach, 5.0 at Twin Harbors and Copalis and 4.8 at Mocrocks as the spring season came to an end.
State Fish and Wildlife is taking public comments until Sept. 23 on digging days, catch limits and other management options for the upcoming razor clam season. Email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by postal mail to: Razor Clams, 48 Devonshire Road, Montesano, WA 98563.
An overview of the just completed 2014 coastwide razor clam stock assessment and a look back at the 2013-14 season are available on state fisheries website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.