By Kim Mason
For The Chronicle
The last evening razor-clam dig of the season will take place Feb. 18-19 on three ocean beaches — Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks. After that, clam diggers can look forward to a series of digs on morning tides.
No digging will be allowed at any beach before noon.
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said Copalis beach will remain closed for razor-clam digging this month, due to a relatively low abundance of clams. That closure will affect beaches near Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis.
“We want to save some of the clams available for harvest in the Copalis management area for spring digs,” Ayres said. “The other three beaches have enough clams to take us right through the end of the season.”
Kalaloch Beach will also remain closed, due to a low abundance of razor clams. The National Park Service, which manages that beach in cooperation with WDFW, has announced plans to open Kalaloch for a razor-clam dig April 7-9.
For the upcoming dig, the evening low tide Saturday, Feb.18, is at 4:13 p.m. (0.0 feet), and on Sunday, Feb.19, at 5 p.m. (-0.2 feet).
Ayres recommends that diggers hit the beach one to two hours before evening low tide for best results.
Once the harvest is totaled for this month’s dig, WDFW will announce plans for future digs, starting in early March, Ayres said. Because of the change in tides that occurs in spring, those digs will all be held during morning hours.
Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day, and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2011-12 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach.
Ridgefield: Volunteer Open House, March 9
It takes a lot of volunteers to keep a refuge like Ridgefield up and running, you are invited to join them in their efforts.
Staff and Friends of the Ridgefield NWR will meet on Saturday, March 10, 12 to 3 p.m., at the refuge shop on Bachelor Island, hosting an open house to welcome individuals interested in volunteering for the refuge.
Staff will lead a behind the scenes tour of the closed area of the refuge and gather afterwards for pizza and a raffle drawing of prizes.
Bachelor Island is a biological as well as historical gem for the refuge and the surrounding area. Those attending will get hear a little about the Native American inhabitants, early settlers, as well as current users including geese, cranes, heron, raptors, coyote, and more.
For more information and to RSVP contact: Refuge Volunteer Coordinator at (360) 887-4106.
Rivers, Lakes, Streams and Saltwater
As of Monday, Feb. 13, the fishing on the Cowlitz River is doing OK at best, said Marshall Borsom of Fish Country in Ethel.
“The boaters at Blue Creek and down seem to be doing the best right now. Mostly, pulling plugs or running diver with coon shrimp or eggs and picking up a few here and there,” he said.
“The bank anglers are having a tougher time right now though. They are trying everything, from jig and bobber, spoons, worms, sand shrimp, etc. and having a rough time,” Borsom added.
The water is running about 8,410 cfs today, but has been a bit higher this last week.
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 76 winter-run steelhead during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week Tacoma Power employees released eleven winter-run steelhead at the Lake Scanewa Day Use Site above Cowlitz Falls Dam, and released 14 steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.
Rumors of better fishing abound, however.
“We did hear that the lower river was doing quite well for steelhead, so maybe we will be getting a new push coming up this week,” Borsom said. “And rumors are circulating about a springer or two being caught, also in the lower river, but who knows for sure.”
Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center, said your best bet is to hit the rivers in the Chehalis system.
“The Skookumchuck is fishing well from Schaeffer Park to the mouth,” McElroy said, “and the Wynoochie is fishing well.”
“I’ve heard of some pretty big steelhead coming out of the Chehalis system lately,” he said. “A 24-pounder was caught earlier this week. I also heard of a 22-pound fish coming out of the Sol Duc.”
South Sound is fishing well for resident silvers and blackmouth, McElroy has heard.
In news further afield, Rufus Woods Lake is spitting out triploids by the truckload and Banks Lake is starting to give up some nice walleye.
Riffe Lake has picked up near Mossyrock Dam, according to Borsom, several reports of people catching nice sized silvers at about 15-feet with worm and/or cocktail shrimp and a bobber.
Mayfield Lake is seeing some nice trout caught down by the hatchery, one was reported at 16-inches.
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.