Post-Thanksgiving razor clams will be ready to dig beginning Nov. 24, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) coastal shellfish managers confirmed Tuesday.
Not all beaches are open for every dig, so diggers are encouraged to make sure their intended destination is open before heading out, WDFW stated in a news release.
“By luck of the draw, the tide charts have aligned to allow for some nice sunset low tides starting Friday of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend,” said Bryce Blumenthal, a WDFW coastal shellfish biologist.
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 Washington State Department of Health (DOH) showed razor clams are safe to eat:
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. More information about domoic acid, as well as current levels at ocean beaches, can be found on WDFW’s domoic acid webpage.
Final approval of marine toxin testing usually occurs about a week or less — sometimes two to three days — before the start of each digging series.
Below are additional tentative dates:
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. It’s not unusual to encounter some small clams, especially in the early part of the season.
All diggers 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses can be purchased from WDFW’s licensing website, and from hundreds of license vendors around the state. WDFW recommends buying a license before visiting coastal beach communities.
Proposed digging schedule
WDFW shellfish managers are considering an alternative digging schedule for Copalis and Mocrocks beaches beginning in 2024. The proposed change would open each beach for multiple days rather than alternating openings between areas every other day. For example, during a four-day tide series, Mocrocks would be open Friday and Saturday and Copalis would be open Sunday and Monday. Proposed dates would provide consecutive open dates on each beach in a way that spreads digging opportunities evenly, according to WDFW.
The approach to offering consecutive open days may reduce confusion as to which beach is open, create more digging opportunities 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, according to WDFW.
Tentative digging dates for January and February will be announced in early December.