Stormy weather is brewing off the coast, and the timing couldn’t be worse as the next razor clam digging series is set to get underway Friday.
The National Weather Service has issued a high surf and wind warning along the entire coastal beaches, and that coupled with what is referred to as “King Tides” could create tough digging, but those who’d still like to go could find success with caution.
A persistent strong west wind will develop a swell height of 20 to 25 feet that is expected to last through Sunday. That coupled with the highest incoming and outgoing tides of the year Sunday through Tuesday could allow the waves to run much farther up the beach line.
“The weather forecast looks snaky, but if you’re careful you should still be able to do fine,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “Just remember to not turn your back on the ocean, have a good light (lantern) and simply respect the ocean because it can do some amazing things in the winter time.”
“A lot of people have planned to go out digging during this upcoming dig, but need to keep in mind that there will be plenty of opportunity very soon including one during New Years,” Ayres said. “It is winter time on the coast and that is just part of the allure when you have to fight for them a little bit more than you might in the spring.”
The positive news this winter season, Ayres points out is that many of the razor clam beds just aren’t along the surf line, but very high up on the beaches.
Digging is open Friday to Tuesday at Long Beach and Twin Harbors; Saturday at Copalis; and Saturday and Sunday at Mocrocks. Digging is allowed from noon to midnight each day, and some of the lowest tides of the winter will occur during this series of digs.
Digging was very good from Dec. 3-8 with 11,152 diggers taking home 161,312 clams. Digging was open Dec. 9-10 at Long Beach and Twin Harbors but the weather was so bad that nobody was out.
The average from Dec. 3-8 was 14.9 clams per person (the first 15 dug regardless of size or condition is daily limit) at Long Beach; 14.2 at Twin Harbors; 12.9 at Copalis; and 14.9 at Mocrocks.
So far since the season began Oct. 7 and during 36 days of digging, 25,204 diggers have gotten 343,915 clams at Long Beach for 13.6 average; 24,594 got 328,874 for 13.4 at Twin Harbors; 8,845 got 86,845 for 9.8 at Copalis; and 14,538 got 192,356 for 13.2 at Mocrocks.
Other digs are planned at Long Beach and Twin Harbors on Dec. 31-Jan. 7; Mocrocks on Dec. 31-Jan. 4; and Copalis on Dec. 31-Jan. 3. More digs are also scheduled from January through February.