Razor clams for the Thanksgiving table may be gathered starting Tuesday, Nov. 13 with the first of five dig days involving four Pacific Coast beach management sectors.
The next scheduled opportunity to dig razors comes the last week in November after the holiday. For now an additional two digs are planned on the December calendar.
Daily openings are from noon to midnight on a progression of evening low tides starting with Tuesday's 5:54 p.m. minus 1.6-foot ebb.
Beach sectors that will be available:
? Twin Harbors (between Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor) all five days.
? Long Beach (between the Columbia and Willapa Bay (Thursday-Saturday).
? Copalis (Grays Harbor to Copalis River) Friday and Saturday only.
? Mocrocks (Copalis River to Moclips) Friday and Saturday only.
Emergency work on the Simpson Avenue bridge (eastbound U.S. Highway 101) in Hoquiam will increase travel time to the two beach zones north of Grays Harbor and motorists are urged to allow for delays.
Beach bound diggers can get more details about this traffic revision at a Washington State Department of Transportation website at goo.gl/hzoM1.
If you're going to include razor clams in your Thanksgiving cuisine but are not sure how, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has some tantalizing suggestions at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/recipes.html.
RULES TO FISH BY
Comments on the package of proposed changes to the fresh and marine waters sport fishing regulations for the 2013-14 season are being accepted by WDFW's Fish Program.
Among the recommendations on the table for consideration by the fish and wildlife commission are at least seven changes applying to waters in Whatcom and Skagit County.
It's important to note that this particular fish rule-making process has its limits, covering the regs for sport fishing for gamefish in freshwater as well as some finfish and shellfish in marine waters.
It is not concerned with fishing rules and seasons for halibut nor are rules devised in this process for the taking of salmon by non-treaty anglers in any Washington waters. Those are done in January and April by a consortium of international, state, tribal and local officials.
This particular opining opportunity focuses on the set of proposals that made the cut done by the department's fisheries specialists earlier in the summer. However, it's still possible to view the ones that didn't when you log onto the website dedicated to the sport rule-making process.
For our neck of the woods in northern Region 4, under consideration this time are several new regs that will restore angling opportunities lost when the so-called new paradigm for streams went into effect three years ago.
My personal favorite is the proposed restoration of fishing in certain beaver impoundments in Whatcom and Skagit counties.
It's proposal Number 41, a measure that will recoup angling in beaver ponds under a general statement reopening such waters if they are on or adjacent to streams that are otherwise open seasonally for trout (gamefish).
Remember, a blanket rule that took effect with the closure of all Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca streams to gamefish angling was that all beaver-made waters were closed to fishing, no exceptions, even if they were on streams that were to be open part-time.
This generalized reprieve is a good start and will see to the restoration of fishing for trout in some challenging but worthy waters such as the upper North Fork Nooksack (above Nooksack Falls) and Baker (above Shannon Dam) river valleys.
Other possible rules (by their numbers), for waters in this area, in the package are:
? No. 47. Open most tributaries to Ross Lake to angling from one mile upstream of Ross Lake to headwaters (except Ruby Creek closed and its tributaries open) under certain restrictions.
? No. 46. Reduce waterfowl hunter/angler use conflicts on Fazon & Tennant Lakes by not allowing fishing from a floating device until January 28th so this coincides with the closing date of waterfowl hunting season.
? No. 50. Increase angling opportunity on the South Fork Nooksack River and all tributaries, upstream from and including Wanlick Creek under fly fishing only plus catch and release provisos.
? No. 53. Shorten fishing season on Channel Creek to protect spawning sockeye by changing to an August 30 closure date.
? No. 54. Open a selective gear rules trout fishery in the lower Skagit River from the mouth to Highway 536 Memorial Bridge at Mount Vernon from March 1 through May 31 under certain controls.
? No. 55. Close angling on Hutchinson Creek to protect wild steelhead.
There are 63 recommended changes for specific waters elsewhere around the state, marine waters or with broader statewide applications.
The system for actually getting your message across has been streamlined and made more convenient as well. It can all be done online now.
All you need do is log onto wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals and click on the link to go to the view and comment portal.
From there you call up the specific rule's page by clicking on the synopsis statement and there is an e-form on which you can to register and comment.
The timetable for this annual regulations fixing process is about half way through its course.
In early December the Fish and Wildlife Commission will be formally briefed on the proposals after which this comment period comes to a close Saturday, Dec. 15.
The nine-member panel will take formal testimony on all proposals at its January session and then will make final decisions on adoption or rejection of these changes in February when the body of 2013-14 sport regulations is enacted.
The new rules take on the force of law the first of May 2013.
SWAN HOT-LINE TURNED ON
Waterfowl hunters and other outdoors enthusiasts coming across solitary or obviously sick or injured trumpeter or tundra swans can call a special 24-hour a day hotline, 360-466-4345, ext. 266, to report the birds' locations so they can be checked by state wildlife biologists.
Persons making the reports should jot down details concerning where the birds are and the nature of their condition so they can record a brief message that also should have their name and phone number.
The hotline will remain on through the end of March.
Even though lead shot use has been barred in waterfowl hunting for nearly two decades, old depositions remain in the environment and are still being found in certain wetland locales and ingested by these birds during their daily winter grit-taking exercises.
Just one lead shot pellet taken into their gizzards and broken down can liberate enough lead molecules to poison them. Once dissolved and in the blood stream, the lead damages the central nervous system. It's toxic effect is irreversible.
Afflicted birds gradually lose strength, become grounded and eventually fall prey to predators, or after they die, scavengers that in turn can pick up the lead toxification.
Annual winter die-offs of trumpeter swans were first formally take note of in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Judson Lake on the U.S. Canada border in Whatcom County has been identified as a source of lead that swans have getting into and efforts continue using hazing methods to deny them access during their winter stay.
Historically hunted fields with sheetwater also can be sources to lead the birds obtain when they are seeking grit.
Doug Huddle, the Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent, since 1983, has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that now appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at http://pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoor.