By The Chronicle
Clam diggers can rejoice as it’s official: a four-day razor clam dig is set to begin this Saturday on four beaches.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife approved the dig after marine toxin tests showed that the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.
Four beaches — Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks — will open for digging at noon Saturday. However, because of a seasonal shift in the tides, digging will be restricted to the hours before noon Sunday through Tuesday.
The dig will start at the four beaches, then continue at two beaches — Long Beach and Twin Harbors — Monday and Tuesday.
No digging will be allowed at Kalaloch Beach, located inside Olympic National Park. The National Park Service, which manages that beach, has closed clam digging at Kalaloch for the rest of the season due to low harvest levels.
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, advises prospective diggers to pay particular attention to the shift in digging times during this month’s razor-clam opening.
“It gets a little tricky scheduling digs at this time of year, but the goal is to arrange openings during the best clam tides,” Ayres said. “The split schedule also provides an opportunity for back-to-back digs the evening of Saturday, March 19, and the morning of Sunday, March 20.”
He also notes that the annual Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival is scheduled Saturday. Information on the festival is available at www.2011clams.com.
Ayres reminds diggers that WDFW is tentatively planning another razor-clam opening April 7-9 until noon each day at Long Beach and Twin Harbors if marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.
Because current licenses expire March 31, diggers will have to purchase a 2011-12 license to participate in that dig.
WDFW also expects to announce additional digging opportunities in April, so diggers may want to take that into account when they go to purchase a license, Ayres said.
Beaches in Washington with razor clam fisheries Include:
Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point.
Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.
Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.
Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Pacific Beach and Moclips.
Digging Days and Low Tides for March Are:
• Saturday, March 19, 7:04 p.m. (-0.1 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks.
• Sunday, March 20, 7:36 a.m. (-0.5 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks.
• Monday, March 21, 8:23 a.m. (-0.9 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors
• Tuesday March 22, 9:12 a.m. (-1.0 feet); Long Beach, Twin Harbors