Razor clam

Cooper Petit, 10, grabbed a razor clam pulled by his brother, Byron, 8, as their mother, Angela, looked on during a February dig.

With sunny skies and temperatures near 60 in the forecast, a two-day razor clam dig has been approved on the Long Beach Peninsula this weekend, just in time for the annual Razor Clam Festival.

Likely marking the close of the peninsula’s meager 2018-19 season, which included only two prior digging days, a large and enthusiastic crowd is anticipated.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife approved the dig on morning low tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. The opening had been uncertain, since last week levels of the plankton species that can produce toxic domoic acid were fluctuating.

The dig is approved on the following beaches, dates, and low tides:

• Saturday, 7:58 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis;

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

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

“This is a weekend opening that should not be missed,” said Dan Ayres, Department of Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “The Long Beach Razor Clam festival on Saturday features clam digging and chowder contests, clam digging lessons, and live music — even pirates and mermaids making an occasional appearance.”

Although the beach in north Pacific County, which the state refers to as Twin Harbors, has been highly productive for clams this season, Long Beach was kept closed on all but two days this winter because a preseason census found the clams were too small for harvest. They have been growing well, however, and exceeded an average of 4 inches during a Feb. 17 dig.

As in past years, the state is asking beachgoers to take care to avoid nesting snowy plovers.

“With barely 100 of these birds still surviving on the southwest Washington coast, it is vitally important for beachgoers to stay out of posted areas,” Ayres said. “Snowy plover nests are nearly invisible, so we want people to give these birds the space they need to live and thrive during their nesting period, especially near Midway Beach and while walking towards the north end of Long Beach.”

Ayres recommends people avoid leaving leftover food or trash on the beach — which attract predators — avoid the dunes as much as possible, and heed the 25 mph speed limit if driving on the beach.

Diggers should hit the beach about an hour or two before low tide for the best results.

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