Eight straight days of clam digs start Saturday

By GEORGE KUNKE


By GEORGE KUNKE

Razor clam diggers can rejoice and be thankful. Eight digs are scheduled from November 30 through December 7 on harbor beaches. Then there’s another eight days of tentatively scheduled digs starting December 14. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Coastal Shellfish Manager Dan Ayres chatted with the Herald while walking his dog Sunday afternoon.

Ayres said the clamming during the fall season has been exceptional on the Twin Harbors. Thanks in part to good weather and perfect tides, clams have been big and easy to dig up.

“Twin Harbors has had every low tide open, which is probably about 25 digs or so, and the clamming has been great,” Ayres said. “With eight days in a row for the Twin Harbors, it will be the most digging by far than any other beach, and that will be the case for the remainder of the seasons.

“The largest clams have been at the Twin Harbors (Mocrocks and Copalis),” Ayres said. “Those beaches are producing some really nice clams. I’ve heard people telling me over and over that they are really excited and pleased about what they’ve been getting. The biggest ones are about 4½ inches long (including the shell), and that’s what we typically see in the spring.

“Ocean Shores (Copalis) is always the most crowded,” Ayres said. “People just flock there. It’s not that the clams are any better.”

Ayres said that he went clamming with 10 family members and had great success. “I went to the south end of Grayland and eleven of us got our limit in one hour. (Clammers get to keep the first 15 clams that they dig up.)”

What can diggers expect for the upcoming digs?

“Saturday after Thanksgiving is always a popular time,” Ayres said. “We will probably get about 10,000 people in one night alone if the weather stays good. We could get about 30,000 for those eight days, and then, after the weekend, it dies with as little as 1,000 a day.”

“Look out the window and it will help decide if you’ll do well or not,” Ayres said. “If it’s windy, it will be more difficult. And if the wave heights are 12 feet or above, it will be tougher clam digging. If you’re an old pro, you’ll do OK.”

Ayres said that nothing out of the ordinary has occurred during the clam digs other than the “typical shenanigans over-limits that people try to pull off.”

Ayres pointed out that final word on the first series of digs will be announced after marine-toxin test results confirm clams are safe to eat prior to each dig.

“Although these digs are still tentative, tide levels look good,” Ayres said. “That’s especially true for the eight-day dig beginning Nov. 30, and for the New Year’s Eve dig.”

Ayres highlighted ample opportunities to dig delicious razors for holiday celebrations this year.

“Razor clam digging on New Year’s Eve has become a tradition for many Washingtonians,” Ayres said. “The tides aren’t conducive to a holiday dig every year, but they’re with us in 2013.”

In past years, as many as 20,000 people have descended on ocean beaches to dig razor clams on New Year’s Eve, Ayres said.

Listed are the dates, beaches, and evening low tides for the proposed end-of-the-year digs are as follows:

Nov. 30, Saturday, 4:28 pm; -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, and Mocrocks

* Dec. 1, Sunday, 5:13 pm; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

* Dec. 2, Monday, 5:59 pm; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

* Dec. 3, Tuesday, 6:44 pm; -1.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

* Dec. 4, Wednesday, 7:30 pm; -1.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors

* Dec. 5, Thursday, 8:17 pm; -1.4 feet; Twin Harbors

* Dec. 6, Friday, 9:05 pm; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors

* Dec. 7, Saturday, 9:56 pm; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors

* Dec. 14, Saturday, 4:45 pm; -0.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, and Mocrocks

* Dec. 15, Sunday, 5:26 pm; -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbor, and Mocrocks

* Dec. 16, Monday, 6:03 pm; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, and Mocrocks

* Dec. 17, Tuesday, 6:38 pm; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors

* Dec. 18, Wednesday, 7:12 pm; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors

* Dec. 29, Sunday, 4:05 pm; -0.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, and Mocrocks

* Dec. 30, Monday, 4:55 pm; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, and Mocrocks

* Dec. 31, Tuesday, 5:42 pm; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, and Mocrocks