Get out your clamming buckets and shovels. This is going to be one of the best weeks of the entire summer for digging up clams and oysters on the Olympic Peninsula.
The Peninsula will be seeing some remarkably low tides this next week, beginning today and lasting until Saturday.
“These are the biggest low tide cycles of the summer,” said Camille Speck with the Department of Fish and Game’s intertidal bivalve office.
The tides will reach into the negative 3s, pushing negative 4 on Friday, the lowest day of the low tides. The extraordinary low tides will last through Sunday.
Not only are the tides especially low, they’re low at a good time of day for clamming — late morning and early afternoon.
“This is a real opportunity. These are easy pickings. This is really rare,” Brian Menkal and Brian’s Sporting Goods in Sequim, said.
“These are some of the best tides of the year. It’ll open up clam bed you’ll only see once a year,” said Bob Aunspach with Swain’s in Port Angeles.
Aunspach said that even if you’re not a clamdigger, such extreme low tides will open up wide swaths of beaches simply for beachcombing or walking.
Speck said there will be three extreme low tide events this summer. This one, another one centered around July 11 and a third one centered around August 9. She said the best day for this extreme low tide will be Friday, but the low tides will last all week until Sunday. Thursday and Saturday will also be outstanding low tides.
Menkal said it’s a good idea to call the shellfish hotline before you go out clamming at 1-800-562-5632 to see if there are health advisories.
There’s a couple of other fantastic resources online clamdiggers can use before they head out to the beach. Both are interactive and really easy to use.
One is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric’s tide table. You can look up the tides for not just the Olympic Peninsula but the entire Pacific Northwest. Go to https://tinyurl.com/Local-Tides.
Speck recommended going to the Department of Fish and Wildlife shellfish map. This map shows in extremely close detail what beaches are open to watch species. You can zoom in extremely close to get details literally down to hundreds of yards.
If you click on specific beaches, you get a little pop-up window that explains the shellfish status of that beach.
This map also explains what beaches are open to the public and which are not. If a beach is black or red, it’s a no-go. If it’s orange, that means there are some species closures, while other species are open. If it’s green it’s a go.
“This map tells you which beaches are legal. You have to be both safe and legal,” Speck said.
Go to https://tinyurl.com/Shellfish-Map to check out this map.
Here’s a sample of some of the low tides this week:
Dabob Bay, Hood Canal
Wednesday, -3.1, 11 a.m.; Thursday, -3.7, noon; Friday, -3.8, 12:40 p.m.; Saturday, -3.5, 1:30 p.m.; -2.7, 2:19 p.m. Sunday
Wednesday, -2.4, 9:35 a.m.; Thursday, -2.9, 10:20 a.m.; Friday, -3.0, 11 a.m.; Saturday, -2.7, 11:50 a.m.; Sunday, -2.1, 12:44 p.m.
Wednesday, -2.5, 9:56 a.m. Thursday, -3.0, 10:40 a.m.; Friday, -3.1, 11:26 a.m.; Saturday, -2.84, 12:15 p.m.; Sunday, -2.2, Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
Sequim Bay entrance
Wednesday, -2.5, 10:06 a.m.; Thursday, -3.0, 10:50 a.m.; Friday, -3.1, 11:30 a.m.; Saturday, -2.84, 12:20 p.m.; Sunday, -2.2, 1:15 p.m.
Wednesday, -2.68, 10:13 a.m.; Thursday, -3.2, 10:57 a.m.; Friday, -3.3, 11:43 a.m.; Saturday, -3.0, 12:32 p.m.; Sunday, -2.36, 1:22 p.m.
Wednesday, -2.83, 10:57 a.m.; Thursday, -3.4, 11:42 a.m.; Friday, -3.5, 12:28 p.m.; Saturday, -3.17, 1:16 p.m.; Sunday, -2.44, 2:07 p.m.
So get digging out there and happy clamming.