It’s almost time to dig into coastal beaches, as state Fish and Wildlife has given the green light for the next round of digs to begin Thursday (Feb. 23) at Twin Harbors with other beaches opening soon after.
Digging dates are Feb. 23 at Twin Harbors; Feb. 24-26 at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; and Feb. 27-28 at Twin Harbors. Digging is open during evening low tides only.
Long Beach remains closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid – a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae – that can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.
“We’ve also got more digs planned at Copalis, Mocrocks and Kalaloch in March and April,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “Digs during that period for Twin Harbors and Long Beach won’t be made until additional marine toxin testing is conducted. Once those beaches open we should have a lot more digs to offer on them.”
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Future tentative dates planned for evening low tides are: March 9 at Mocrocks; March 10 at Copalis; March 11 at Mocrocks and Kalaloch; March 12 at Copalis and Kalaloch; March 24 at Mocrocks; March 25 at Copalis; and March 26 at Mocrocks.
Future tentative dates planned for morning low tides are: March 30 at Mocrocks; March 31 at Copalis and Kalaloch; April 1 at Mocrocks and Kalaloch; April 2 at Copalis; April 13 at Copalis; April 14 at Mocrocks; April 15 at Copalis; April 16 at Mocrocks; April 27 at Mocrocks; April 28 at Copalis; April 29 at Mocrocks and Kalaloch; and April 30 at Copalis and Kalaloch.
The coastal razor clam digs during the last opener were good at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks (open Feb. 7-12), and Copalis (open Feb. 7-9).
Overall 18,007 digger trips produced 210,307 clams, which averaged to almost 12 clams per person – the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit.
A breakdown showed 7,825 diggers at Twin Harbors took home 103,470 clams for 13.2 average; 2,001 diggers at Copalis had 23,942 clams for 12.0 average; and 8,181 diggers at Mocrocks had 82,894 clams for 10.1 average.
Ayres said the first two days (Feb. 7-8) of the digs were very productive, and then effort dropped off when weather was dicey on Feb. 9. By last weekend (Feb. 10-12) success improved although diggers on the northern end of Mocrocks struggled, which was puzzling to fishery officials.
The season total for 32 days of digging from Oct. 16 to Feb. 12 saw 57,419 diggers with 668,087 clams. A breakdown showed 17,653 diggers at Twin Harbors took home 198,836 clams for 11.3 average; 25,918 diggers at Copalis had 309,165 clams for 11.9 average; 19,151 diggers at Mocrocks had 201,184 clams for 10.5 average; and 637 diggers at Kalaloch had 1,410 clams for 2.2 average.