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people clamming

Clamming


April 3, 2024
Contact: Bryce Blumenthal, 360-249-4628, ext. 232
Media contact: Mark Yuasa, 360-902-2262

WDFW approves seven days of coastal razor clam digs starting April 8; additional tentative digs planned for April and May

OLYMPIA – Razor clam diggers can look forward to more digging opportunities on coastal beaches beginning April 8, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) coastal shellfish managers confirmed today.

“April digs are finally here, and hopefully they come with milder weather and sunnier days,” said Bryce Blumenthal, a WDFW coastal shellfish biologist. “The best low tides in April fall during the middle of this next digging series with weekend tides that should still provide ample harvest opportunity.”

Not all coastal beaches are open for every dig, so diggers are encouraged to make sure their intended destination is open before heading out. Optimal digging occurs between one and two hours before the listed time of low tide.

The following April 8-14 digs will proceed as scheduled, after marine toxin results from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) showed razor clams are safe to eat.

Confirmed dates during morning (midnight to noon, except until 1 p.m. on April 13-14) low tides:

  • April 8, Monday, 6:44 a.m.; -0.5 feet; Mocrocks
  • April 9, Tuesday, 7:29 am.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Mocrocks
  • April 10, Wednesday, 8:14 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • April 11, Thursday, 9:00 a.m., -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • April 12, Friday, 9:48 a.m., -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 13, Saturday, 10:40 a.m., -0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks (digging extended until 1 p.m.)
  • April 14, Sunday, 11:38 a.m., 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Copalis (digging extended until 1 p.m.)

Tentative dates during morning (midnight to noon) low tides:

  • April 23, Tuesday, 6:58 a.m.; 0.0 feet; Copalis
  • April 24, Wednesday, 7:30 am.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Mocrocks
  • April 25, Thursday, 8:03 a.m.; -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 26, Friday, 8:39 a.m., -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • April 27, Saturday, 9:19 a.m., -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • April 28, Sunday, 10:05 a.m., -0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 29, Monday, 10:58 a.m., 0.3 feet; Long Beach, Mocrocks

Tentative dates during morning (midnight to noon) low tides:

  • May 6, Monday, 5:41 a.m.; -0.7 feet; Mocrocks
  • May 7, Tuesday, 6:28 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Mocrocks
  • May 8, Wednesday, 7:13 a.m.; -2.0 feet; Long Beach, Copalis
  • May 9, Thursday, 7:57 a.m.; -2.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • May 10, Friday, 8:41 a.m.; -1.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks (Long Beach Razor Clam Festival)
  • May 11, Saturday, 9:27 a.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks (Long Beach Razor Clam Festival)
  • May 12, Sunday, 10:16 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

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. Final approval, including the upcoming April and May digs, usually occurs about a week or less – sometimes two to three days – before the start of each digging series. More information about domoic acid, as well as current levels at ocean beaches, can be found on the WDFW’s domoic acid webpage.

As in past years, WDFW is asking beachgoers to avoid disturbing nesting snowy plovers – a small bird with gray wings and a white breast – by staying out of the dunes and posted areas along the southwest coast. Snowy plover nests are nearly invisible, and it is vital to give birds the space to live and thrive during nesting period, especially along the southern end on Twin Harbors – known as Midway Beach – the north end of Long Beach and the area north of Ocean City on Copalis Beach.

Avoid leaving leftover food or trash – which attracts predators – on the beach and picnic areas, keep pets on a leash, stay out of dunes, and avoid areas which are clearly marked with posted signs. When driving on the beach, please respect the 25 MPH speed limit and enter only at designated access points. Stay on the hard-packed sand near the high tide line to avoid crushing clam beds and snowy plover nests.

Shellfish and seafood enthusiasts can also start making plans to attend the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival on May 10-11. This long-running event celebrates the unique contribution of razor clams to Washington’s culture and coastal communities.

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.

Now that spring has arrived, Washingtonians must have a valid 2024-2025 recreational hunting and fishing licenses. Licenses can be purchased from WDFW’s licensing website, and from hundreds of license vendors around the state. All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

razor clam limit

Photo by Zach Forster


King Tides

Stay Safe During King Tides in Washington State

As the king tides approach, we urge everyone to enjoy the spectacle responsibly:

Keep Your Distance: These tides can be stunning, but they’re also powerful. Watch from a safe spot, especially at spots like Cape Disappointment State Park.

Respect the Power of the Ocean: Steer clear of closed areas and be vigilant of sneaker waves—these giants can come unexpectedly!

Plan Your Visit: Check weather and wave forecasts to pick a safe day for tide watching.

Remember: Today’s king tides give us a glimpse into the future of rising sea levels.
Enjoy the view, capture the moments, but above all, stay safe!

Remember, NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN!!
For more information on King Tides, visit the University of Washington’s King Tides Program at https://conta.cc/40OTrEA


Nahcotta Tidelands located at 26608 Sandridge Rd, Ocean Park, WA 98647

WDFW has information on public areas designated for shellfish harvesting. One of those areas is the Nahcotta Tidelands known for harvesting oysters. Here are links for more information on what is open and what licenses is needed.

Click here for licensing

Click here for Nahcotta Tidelands season information


Clamming is a great family activity but caution is always advised when you are on the beach.  Watch out for sneaker waves, stay away from logs in or at the water’s edge, keep your eye on the tide and drench all beach fires dead out before leaving.  The dunes are off-limits to foot and vehicle traffic.  All beach approaches have public restrooms and please pack your trash out with you.  Approximately 6 miles of beach on the north end of the peninsula may be closed to traffic at various times during the year – please follow all posted directions regarding these closures.

Clamming Checklist

A Shellfish/Seaweed License is required for harvesting razor clams and must be in the harvester’s immediate possession and available for inspection during harvest and transport. Everyone claiming a limit must actively participate in the harvesting process, unless they possess a disability permit.

Call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington State.

The first fifteen razor clams regardless of size or condition must be retained. One daily limit of fresh shellfish may be in possession.  Razor clams may not be returned to the beach. For razor clams, holes do not have to be refilled as is required for hardshell clam digging.

Razor clams may be taken by hand, hand-operated shovel, or tube (clam gun) with a minimum outside diameter of 4″ or (4″ x 3″ if elliptical). Each digger must use a separate container, but may share digging equipment.

For more detailed information visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing

man clamming

Vehicle Information

It is illegal to drive any vehicle, or lead or ride a horse on the clam beds. You must stay on the upper “hard-sand area”. Pressure from the weight of the vehicles or digging action of horses’ hooves cause clam mortality.

There are 7 beach approaches for vehicles along the peninsula.  Starting from the north end, they are:

  • Oysterville Road
  • Bay Avenue
  • Klipsan Beach (south of 227th)
  • Cranberry Road
  • Bolstad Road
  • Sid Snyder Road
  • Seaview (at 38th Street)

Local Places to Buy a Shellfishing License

JACKS COUNTRY STORE
26006 Highway 103
Ocean Park, WA 98640
(360) 665-4988

DENNIS COMPANY #1
2nd and Pacific ST
Long Beach, WA 98631
(360) 642-3166

SEAVIEW MOBIL STATION
3909 Pacific Highway, Seaview, WA
(360) 642-4023 

PIONEER MARKET
2006 N Pacific Hwy 103
Long Beach, WA 98631
(360) 642-4004

CHINOOK COUNTRY STORE
775 HWY 101
Chinook, WA 98614
(360) 870-7310

ILWACO FOOD MARKET
108 SPRUCE ST. W
Ilwaco, WA 98624
(360) 642-2413

For a complete list places selling clamming licenses in Pacific County 
Visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers?name=&city=&county=65

BUY ONLINE

Licenses may be purchased online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/login
Children under the age of 15 do not need a razor clam license. 


Razor Clam Recipes

If you have a recipe you would like to share, please email it to opchamber@opwa.com
Be sure to provide your name so we can post who contributed the recipe

Creamy Clam Chowder Recipe

If you’ve successfully cleaned some razor clams and are looking for a delightful way to enjoy them, consider making a creamy clam chowder. This recipe serves 6–8 people and is perfect for a cozy dinner with family or friends.

Ingredients For the Chowder:

4 cups cleaned and chopped razor clams (You can also use canned clams if fresh aren’t available)

4 cups clam juice (or chicken broth as a substitute)

4 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 large onion, finely chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

4 slices bacon, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon thyme (fresh or dried)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

For Roux (Thickening Agent):

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Clams

If you’re using fresh razor clams, make sure they are cleaned thoroughly before chopping them into small pieces.

Step 2: Cook the Bacon and Vegetables

In a large pot, add the chopped bacon and cook over medium heat until it turns crispy.

Remove the bacon and set it aside, leaving the grease in the pot.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot.

Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots to the pot and sauté until the onions are translucent.

Step 3: Prepare the Roux

In a separate pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat.

Add 4 tablespoons of flour to the melted butter and whisk continuously until it forms a smooth paste.

Cook the roux for 2–3 minutes, making sure it doesn’t brown.

Step 4: Combine and Simmer

Add the diced potatoes and thyme to the pot with the sautéed vegetables.

Pour in the clam juice or chicken broth.

Add the roux to the pot and stir well to combine.

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15–20 minutes.

Step 5: Add the Clams and Dairy

Add the chopped clams to the pot.

Pour in the whole milk and heavy cream.

Stir well and allow the chowder to simmer for an additional 10–15 minutes. Be careful not to let it boil to prevent the dairy from curdling.

Step 6: Season and Serve

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked bacon back into the chowder for extra flavor (optional).

Serve hot, garnished with some chopped parsley or chives if desired.

Tips

If you’d like to add a smoky flavor, you can use smoked bacon.

Some people like to add a dash of hot sauce or paprika for a little kick.

This creamy clam chowder is rich, hearty, and incredibly satisfying. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the fruits of your clam-cleaning labor. Bon appétit!

Lucille Downer’s Taste of the Peninsula: Clam Fritters

With clam season going strong, here’s Lucille Downer’s popular recipe for clam fritters, which we first published about two decades ago. Lucille and her husband Jack were the founders of Jack’s Country Store in Ocean Park.

2 cups ground clams

1 cup biscuit mix

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon sage (if desired)

2 eggs, beaten.

Enough milk to make the right consistency

2 tablespoons oil

Salt and pepper

Stir all together mixing well. Refrigerate for about an hour. Put heaping tablespoonfuls into frying pan with hot shortening. Flatten each with the back of the spoon. Brown on both sides.