Razor Clams

WDFW tentatively plans 12 days of digging for razor clams starting March 16

OLYMPIA – State shellfish managers have tentatively scheduled razor clam digs on ocean beaches for 12 days starting Mar. 16 and extending into late April.

Final approval of all scheduled openings at Copalis, Mocrocks, Long Beach, Kalaloch and Twin Harbors beaches will depend on whether results of marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) typically announces whether a dig will go forward about a week before the opening, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the department.

Ayres noted the first three digs in March are on evening low tides, while those that follow are on morning low tides.

No digging is allowed before noon during evening digs and digging must be completed by noon during morning digs. 

WDFW will consider additional dates later this spring if enough clams remain available for harvest, Ayres said.

The proposed razor clam digs, along with low tides and beaches, are listed below:

  • March 16, Saturday, 3:43 p.m.; 0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis (during the Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival); 

  • March 17, Sunday, 4:43 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors (during the Ocean Shores Razor Clam Festival), Mocrocks; 

  • March 21, Thursday, 7:48 p.m.; -0.5 feet; Mocrocks

Switch to a.m. tides.

  • March 22, Friday, 8:14 a.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch; 

  • March 23, Saturday, 9:01 a.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Kalaloch

  • March 24, Sunday, 9:49 a.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch

  • April 6, Saturday, 8:05 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis

  • April 7, Sunday, 8:42 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

  • April 8, Monday, 9:20 a.m.; 0.0 feet; Mocrocks 

  • April 20, Saturday, 7:58 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach (during the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival), Twin Harbors, Copalis; 

  • April 21, Sunday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

  • April 22, Monday, 9:25 a.m.; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors Mocrocks

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. New 2019-20 fishing licenses will be required for dates in April.

Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license (starting at $9.70) to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW's website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

In order to ensure conservation of clams for future generations, WDFW sets tentative razor clam seasons that are based on the results from the annual coast-wide razor clam stock assessment and by considering harvest to date. WDFW authorizes each dig independently after getting the results of marine toxin testing.

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.

More information can be found on WDFW's razor clam webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities. WDFW razor clam digs support outdoor lifestyles and coastal economies.

How to Dig Razor Clams

From wdfw.wa.gov

First look for a "clam show". What is a clam show? That's where a clam has withdrawn its neck or started to dig leaving a hole or dimple in the sand. There are three major kind of "shows" to look for:

  • dimple: a depression in the sand 

  • doughnut: which has raised sides 

  • keyhole: which is usually in drier sand areas and is shaped like an "hour-glass" or is a hole with very distinct sides. 

Always look for the larger sized hole shown here next to a quarter. This is a good indication that the clam will be larger, but not always. 

Clams will also show at the edge of the surf line when you pound the beach with a shovel handle or your foot. They may squirt sand and water out of the hole where they are located. You need to be quick when digging in the surf as razor clams dig quite fast in the soft fluid sand. 

Proper digging improves your efficiency, minimizes the breaking of clams and cut fingers.

Rachel Hansen