Success from last dig bodes well for opening next month. Test sample results will determine seasons at other beaches.
The winter coastal razor clam season opened at Copalis Beach with very good success last Thursday to Saturday, and more chances could be looming on the horizon.
Thousands of diggers flocked to Copalis Beach and averaged 14.5 clams per digger, which is just short of a daily limit of 15 clams per person.
“We’re pretty sure on opening Copalis again (sometime between Jan. 8-12 during evening low tides), and Long Beach is the big question mark,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal-shellfish manager. “Hopefully we’ll have a clean sample for marine toxins, and move forward with opening both beaches.”
State Fish and Wildlife dug test sample clams Tuesday and Wednesday, and they’ll go to the Department of Health lab on Thursday.
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“Because of the New Year’s holiday we won’t have final results until Monday,” Ayres said.
Recent test samples showed the toxin level Dec. 15 at Long Beach was 16 parts per million — the action level is 20 ppm — Copalis was 12 ppm; Mocrocks was 25 ppm; and Twin Harbors was 50 ppm.
Last May, domoic acid — a natural marine toxin produced by certain types of marine algae — in razor clams skyrocketed well above the action level. Domoic acid can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.
Razor-clam diggers have enjoyed back-to-back excellent seasons in 2013-14 and 2014-15 that rank as some of the best seen in more than 30 years. Clam population assessments taken this past summer showed populations remained healthy on all coastal beaches.
In other shellfish news, the winter Dungeness crab fishing season has been extended in two marine areas and other waterways will close after this month.
Hood Canal and a portion of northern Puget Sound – also known as Admiralty Inlet — north of the Hood Canal Bridge to the Foulweather Bluff to Olele Point will remain open daily through Feb. 28.
Elsewhere, the fishery ends at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Strait of Juan de Fuca east of Neah Bay to Port Angeles; San Juan Islands; Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay; Ports Susan and Gardner; central, south-central and southern Puget Sound; and the section of northern Puget Sound not included in the extension.
Those fishing for crab in the two areas remaining open won’t be required to record crab on catch cards, but must possess a current shellfish license with a Puget Sound crab endorsement.
|Marine areas||Fair to good squid jigging along the Seattle waterfront at Seattle Aquarium Pier, and Piers 57, 62, 63, 70 and 86; A-Dock at the Shilshole Bay Marina; Des Moines Pier; Edmonds Pier; Illahee State Park Pier; Seacrest Pier in West Seattle; and the Waterman and Indianola piers in Kitsap County. Improved for hatchery chinook in San Juan Islands; eastern Strait off Port Angeles; and east side of Whidbey Island at Gedney Island, Hat Island, Elger Bay, Langley and Camano Head. Slow in south-central Puget Sound and Hood Canal, which close for salmon after Thursday. Southern Puget Sound is open for salmon, but slow.|
|Biting: YesRating: ★★|
|Statewide rivers||Slow to fair for hatchery steelhead at Tokul Creek, Skykomish River near Reiter Ponds, Cascade, Satsop and Skykomish. Anglers may now keep hatchery steelhead in Nooksack, Stillaguamish and Stillaguamish North Fork. Fair for hatchery steelhead on Calawah (33 anglers Dec. 25-27 caught 19 steelhead and released one), and Bogachiel (128 anglers Dec. 25-27 caught 61 and released seven), but spotty on Sol Duc and Hoh. Slow to fair for steelhead in Cowlitz and Kalama, and fair in Columbia at Bridgeport, Wenatchee, Entiat and Okanogan.|
|Biting: YesRating: ★|
|Statewide lakes||In Clark County, Battleground was planted Dec. 21 with 4,000 trout; Klineline on Dec. 22 with 2,000; and Lacamas on Dec. 21 with 1,000. Locally, Goodwin in Snohomish County was planted Dec. 15 with 5,000 trout. Fair to good at Lake Roosevelt for trout. Slow to fair for cutthroat in Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. Slow to fair for trout at American, Angle, Lone, Green, Spanaway and Kapowsin. Good for walleye and perch in Potholes Reservoir. Good for lake trout and a few kokanee in Lake Chelan. Good for trout at Roses near Chelan.|
|Biting: YesRating: ★★|