OUTDOORS: Razor clam dig on starting Wednesday

Diggers got the go-ahead from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife Thursday to proceed with razor clam digs running through Sunday.

“We had a great tide series of clam digging over Thanksgiving weekend, and we hope the favorable conditions will continue into the December holiday season,” said Bryce Blumenthal, a WDFW coastal shellfish biologist.

Not all beaches are open for every dig, so diggers are encouraged to make sure their intended destination is open before heading out. Optimal digging occurs between one and two hours before the listed time of low tide.

The following digs during afternoon and evening low tides (noon to midnight only) will proceed as scheduled, after marine toxin results from the state Department of Health (DOH) showed razor clams are safe to eat:

• Wednesday, 6:55 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks.

• Thursday, 7;39 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis.

• Friday, Dec. 15: 8:25 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks.

• Saturday, Dec. 16: 9:12 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis.

• Sunday, Dec. 17: 10:01 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks.

The DOH requires test samples for marine toxins, and domoic acid levels must fall under the guideline level before a beach can open for digging.

Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. Final approval usually occurs about a week or less — sometimes two to three days — before the start of each digging series. More information about domoic acid, as well as current levels at ocean beaches, can be found on the WDFW’s domoic acid webpage.

Additional tentative dates in December are Dec. 26-29.

Schedule change

State shellfish managers have agreed to an alternative digging schedule for Copalis and Mocrocks beaches during January and February.

“After considering the potential scheduling change and the public’s feedback, we felt comfortable with altering our current every-other-day schedule,” Blumenthal said. “The tentative Copalis and Mocrocks dates are grouped into two-day blocks of consecutive digs with some single-day digs at the beginning or end of each tide series.”

This approach to offering consecutive open days should reduce confusion as to which beach is open, create more digging opportunity when only one beach is available for harvest, allow for increased digging success due to beach familiarity and reduce travel to and from open beaches.

All the tidal series have a beach switch after the Saturday dig to allow for both beaches to be dug during the weekend. The schedule is also structured so there are equal amounts of Saturdays and Sundays for Copalis and Mocrocks beaches only.

“While we see some potential benefits, we don’t know exactly what the results of this new scheduling will be until we give it a try,” Blumenthal said. “WDFW welcomes additional feedback as we implement this in 2024.”

WDFW is accepting public comments on the proposed change. The public may email their feedback to razorclams@dfw.wa.gov.

On all open beaches, the daily limit is 15 clams per person. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container, and all diggers must keep the first 15 clams they dig, regardless of size or condition, to prevent waste.

All diggers 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses can be purchased from the state licensing website, and from hundreds of license vendors around the state. It’s recommend to buy licenses before visiting coastal beach communities.

Ridge cam back

Snow is starting to pile up at Hurricane Ridge again after a week that saw heavy rain wipe out any accumulation.

Unfortunately, Thursday’s snowfall won’t lead to an opening of the ski area this weekend.

Think snow for the mountains if you are so inclined and check out the view from Hurricane Ridge through the recently reprised webcam at https://tinyurl.com/PDN-RidgeCam.

Thanks to Olympic National Park for recognizing how beloved that ridge view is by all of us and getting it back in operation.

Pinks in good shape

Quilcene’s Ward Norden, a tackle maker and former fisheries biologist, checked in after the recent rain storms.

“As always, I watch the river levels and pictures on TV of the flood debris flowing down the Snohomish River tributaries with keen interest as it is related to future pink runs,” Norden said.

“The eggs of last summer’s excellent pink salmon run are in the gravel but can be vulnerable to major flooding in the Snohomish River system, the primary contributor to pink salmon runs passing [through the Strait of Juan de Fuca past] Port Townsend.”

But Norden said anglers have reason to rejoice.

Anglers who enjoy fishing for these small salmon on odd-numbered years have dodged a flood bullet so far this rainy season.

Last week’s atmospheric river did not create the extreme flooding that was predicted beforehand, and the “rototilling debris” that digs up salmon eggs were not seen on television news broadcasts.

The recent flood will probably not cause more than 10 to 15 percent loss of eggs, which can easily be canceled out by good ocean feeding conditions next summer.

So far, so good for the 2025 humpy run.

________

Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at mcarman@peninsuladailynews.com.

More in Sports

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Peninsula's Jenilee Donovan sets up for a trey as Everett's Jada Andresen looks on during Saturday's home finale in Port Angeles.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: PC women win as records fall

Jenilee Donovan hits eight 3-pointers

KEITH THORPE/PENINSULA DAILY NEWS
Peninsula's Ese Onakpoma, left, shoulders into Everett's Derek Smith on Saturday in Port Angeles.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: Peninsula College still in hunt for postseason berth

The Peninsula College men’s basketball team came back with… Continue reading

AREA SPORTS: Bicycle tune-up fundraiser benefits Olympic Discovery Trail

Razor clam digs underway along ocean beaches The following razor clam digs… Continue reading