Prospects are bright for another excellent razor clam season

With less than a month before the season likely opens, razor clam diggers should prepare for another outstanding year.

“Based on our assessments, the razor clam populations on some beaches exceed the near record levels found in 2013,” said said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We expect the 2014-15 season to be just as good – if not better than last year.”

During the 2013-14 season, there were 451,000 digger trips, resulting in a harvest of almost 6.3 million clams. The average catch was 13.9 clams per digger trips, not far below the legal daily limit of 15 clams per person.

“From the start of the 2013-14 season, we knew that the number of razor clams had reached near record levels,” Ayres said. “The end result was a season that had the highest total effort and harvest for the Washington recreational razor clam fishery since 1982, 32 years ago.”

Making it more remarkable, the successful season occurred while the Kalaloch beaches were closed the entire season. Biologist at Olympic National Park, which manages the Kalaloch beaches, kept them closed for the second season in a row because of low population numbers.

The department is accepting public comments on possible digging days, catch limits and other management options for the upcoming season.

Suggestions for the 2014-15 season, which is tentatively set to begin the first week of October, can be sent by email to razorclams@dfw.wa.gov or by mail to Razor Clams, 48 Devonshire Road, Montesano, WA 98563.

Comments regarding fall digging opportunities must be received by Sept. 23.