A clammer looks for his catch on the Washington coast. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

A clammer looks for his catch on the Washington coast. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

OUTDOORS: Razor clam season heats up with January digs

Outdoor Adventure Series kicks off with ‘This Mountain Life’ documentary

OLYMPIA — Razor clam diggers can return to ocean beaches for seven days of digging beginning Wednesday.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife approved digs late last week on evening low tides after marine toxin tests showed clams are safe to eat.

The approved digs are for the following beaches, dates and low tides:

• Wednesday, 5:05 p.m. -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Thursday, 5:47 p.m. -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

• Friday, 6:29 p.m. -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Saturday, 7:11 p.m. -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

• Sunday, 7:53 p.m. -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

• Monday, Jan. 13, 8:36 p.m. -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

• Tuesday, Jan. 14, 9:20 p.m. -0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

No digging is allowed before noon on these days when low tide occurs in the evening.

Numbers are good

“Our great razor clam digging is continuing right into the new year,” said Dan Ayres, Department of Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “We saw some impressive harvest opportunities last year and expect more of the same to ring in 2020.”

“The razor clams are good. They have a really strong population,” Ayres said.

Ayres said that clammers should be aware of possible high surf from stormy weather. The wind waves last week were up to 11 or 12 feet (only 2 to 4 feet this week). Before going out clamming, clammers should check the NOAA surf website.

The weather this week is forecast to be stormy, with winds on the coast as high as 22 mph Wednesday.

In order to ensure conservation of clams for future generations, Fish and Wildlife sets tentative razor clam seasons that are based on the results from an annual coast-wide razor clam stock assessment and by considering harvest to date.

The department is also asking razor clam fans around the state to weigh in on the perennial question: Which is better, clam gun or shovel? To register support for a favored digging method, clam diggers can post a photo or video, complete with hashtag #TeamClamShovel or #TeamClamGun on any social media platform before the end of the spring season.

These newest digs are just the beginning of winter digs on the outer coast. For a list of proposed razor clam digs on Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks beaches through February, go to the Department of Fish and Game’s website.

The Department of Fish and Wildife authorizes each dig independently after getting the results of marine toxin testing. Final approval of the tentatively scheduled openings will depend on whether results of marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.

Additional safety considerations are important this time of year with the early darkness of winter.

“Diggers want to be sure to come prepared with good lighting devices and always keep an eye on the surf, particularly at this time of year when low tides come at dusk and after dark,” Ayres said. “Diggers can also start gathering clams an hour or two before the tide, which on some days allows folks to enjoy daylight for most of their time on the beach.”

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2019-20 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on Fish and Wildlife’s website and from license vendors around the state.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches 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.

Documentary showing

The Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club and the Hurricane Ridge Ski Team kick off the first of its Outdoor Adventure Series with a screening of the documentary, “This Mountain Life.”

In this film, Martina Halik and her 60-year-old mother Tania embark on a six-month trek through the treacherous Coast Mountains of British Columbia in a journey that has never before been completed by a duo. Their adventure is interspersed with beautifully crafted portraits of high-altitude human endurance and passion — an avalanche survivor, a snowshoe artist, a snowbound convent — that are by turns captivating and inspiring.

The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Saturday on the second floor of The Landing Mall in Port Angeles. There is a suggested donation of $10. Food and beverages are available from Smuggler’s located across the hall.

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