Razor Clams in the Morning This Weekend; Cowlitz River Heats Up

By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle

Clammers can enjoy the first morning razor clam dig of the year at four ocean beaches this weekend, March 10 and 11.

The digs are scheduled for Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches. No digging will be allowed after noon at any of those beaches.

“This is the first in a series of multi-day morning digs tentatively scheduled in the coming weeks,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “A lot of people wait all year to dig razor clams on morning tides.”

Morning low tides and beach openings for this weekend are:

Saturday, March 10, (7:39 a.m. -0.3 ft.): Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Sunday, March 11, (9:28 a.m. -0.4 ft.): Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

Ayres recommends that diggers hit the beach about two hours before morning low tide for best results. He also reminds prospective diggers that Daylight Savings Time begins March 11, which is why there is an extra hour between the low tides this weekend.

“It’s important that everyone is operating on Daylight Savings Time for the dig on Sunday, because the beaches close to digging at noon,” Ayres said.

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 a 2011/2012 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licensing options range from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, which can be purchased on WDFW’s website (https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov) and from license vendors around the state.


Rivers, Lakes, Streams and Saltwater

According to Marshall Borsom of Fish Country in Ethel, fishing on the Cowlitz River picking up.

“The river is running around 9,400 cfs and perfect steelhead green,” Borsom said. “We’ve had several reports of boaters catching nice steelhead this weekend — mostly near Blue Creek. Seems like we a have new fresh push of fish that have come in. They are running divers with coon shrimp or sand shrimp and seem to be doing real well. Other guys are plunking with spin n glows and doing fine off the bank, also from Blue Creek on down to the lower river. We had the first springer of the season weighed in to the store on Friday. I was a nice bright 12 pounder.”

The springer Chinook are here, but not in huge numbers quite yet.

“Try big ole gobs of eggs with sand shrimp, either from a boat or off the bank,” said Borsom.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 122 winter-run steelhead and one spring Chinook adult during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 26 winter-run steelhead at the Day Use in Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam, and they released 15 steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

“The guides I’ve been talking to are concentrating their efforts in the Columbia right now,” said Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center.

The Skookumchuck was fishing well last week, said Borsom, until the water “colored up.”

“It should be good by the weekend,” he added, “all of the rivers should be doing better by the weekend.”

Riffe Lake is really hot right now, for the silvers, said Borsom, “mostly near Mossyrock Dam, 8 to 10 feet deep with worm, cocktail shrimp and/or corn under a bobber.”

No reports on Mayfield Lake again this week.


Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer based in Cinebar. She can be contacted at kim@almostdailynews.com.