The next chance to dig for razor clams, if tests show they are OK to eat, will include the first morning digs of the 2010-11 season.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced plans to open beaches to razor clam digging in mid-March and April.
The March dig is tentatively scheduled to begin after noon March 19, then switch to morning hours March 20-22. Digging will be allowed at four beaches – Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks – on March 19-20, then continue at Long Beach and Twin Harbors on March 21-22.
No digging will be allowed before noon March 19 or after noon March 20-22.
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“We’re planning this opening at the time of year when the best tides for digging razor clams switch from the evening to the morning,” Dan Ayres, state coastal shellfish manager, said in a prepared statement. “It’s a little tricky from a scheduling standpoint, but it does provide an opportunity for back-to-back digs the evening of March 19 and the morning of March 20.”
Coinciding with the dig, the fifth annual Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival, which includes a chowder cookoff, is scheduled March 19. Information on the festival is available at www.2011clams.com.
While the morning digs will certainly attract many diggers, Ayres said Kalaloch Beach will remain closed to razor-clam digging until further notice. The closure is so biologists can conduct a clam population assessment on the beach.
The proposed digging days and low tides for March are:
March 19: 7:04 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
March 20: 7:36 a.m., -0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
March 21: 8:23 a.m., -0.9 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
March 22: 9:12 a.m., -1.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
In April, the state plans to open Long Beach and Twin Harbors for digging April 7-9 until noon each day tests show the clams are safe to eat. Those dates are:
April 7: 9:37 a.m., 0.1 feet
April 8: 10:19 a.m., 0.2 feet
April 9: 11:07 a.m., 0.4 feet
Harvesters may take no more than 15 razor clams and must keep the first 15 taken, regardless of size or condition. Each digger’s catch must be kept in a separate container.
The 2010-11 state fishing licenses expire March 31, so Ayres reminded diggers 15 or older that they must purchase a 2011-12 license to participate in the April opening. Various licenses, ranging from a three-day razor-clam license to a multi-species combination license, are avaiIable at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, by phone (866-246-9453) and from sporting goods stores and other retail license dealers around the state.