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Originally published Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 6:52 PM

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Coastal razor clam digs feature big turnout | Fishing report

The coastal razor clam digs remain one of the more popular springtime choices. "It was pretty good with a lot of happy diggers, and limits...

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The coastal razor clam digs remain one of the more popular springtime choices.

"It was pretty good with a lot of happy diggers, and limits (the first 15 clams dug is a daily limit) for most people," said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager.

A total of 20,477 diggers turned out April 9-14 and netted 296,582 clams, or 14.5 clams per digger.

More digs are planned for April 24-25 and April 30 at Twin Harbors only; and April 26-28 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks; and April 29 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks. Digging is allowed until noon each day. State Fish and Wildlife will make a decision by Thursday.

Depending on how things pan out and if enough razor clams are left to harvest state Fish and Wildlife could have more digs planned in May. Harvest totals on coastal beaches is slightly more than 50 percent of the allowable season total.

It was a busy weekend for fisheries enforcement officers on emphasis patrol during razor clam digs.

"Two of my officers noticed some very unusual behavior by the four individuals," said Sgt. Matt Nixon with the state Fish and Wildlife enforcement division.

Enforcement confronted the group from British Columbia, and found 151 razor clams in their possession. Officers issued citations for first-degree over limit of clams, fail to submit and digging for another person.

"Clam digging is a wonderful family event, but it is this small percentage of people who make it unpleasant for everybody," Nixon said.

There were two other incidents, and one that ended up tragically with a man drowning.

The Grays Harbor Sheriff's Office and state Fish and Wildlife were called Sunday after an angler surf fishing for perch was reported missing in the water.

A 74-year-old Lynnwood man who had been razor clam digging earlier in the day was found rolling in the surf near Ocean Shores, and had been in the water for seven to 10 minutes. He was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

"It can be dangerous, and if the bottom shifts and an unexpected wave comes along you can easily disappear," Nixon said.

In another incident a helicopter headed to coast for the razor clam digs crashed April 12 at Hogan's Airport in Ocean Shores.

A 76-year-old man and 51-year-old woman from Forest Grove, Ore., managed to safely walk away from the incident.

Fishing report
Location Comment
Statewide

rivers

Lower Columbia has closed for spring chinook, but open above Bonneville Dam and improving in Drano Lake and The Dalles Pool. No reported catch yet in Wind and Klickitat. Fair for steelhead and spring chinook in Cowlitz. Fair for steelhead Sol Duc, Queets, Bogachiel, Calawah and Hoh.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 2 stars

Statewide lakes Fair to good for trout in Angle, Beaver, Green, Alice, Meridian, Sawyer, Ballinger, Cassidy, Flowing, Battleground, Caliche, Kress, Horseshoe, Gissburg, Deer, Roses, Martha, Shoecraft, Panther, Cranberry and Lone. For latest plantings, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/">http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/. Statewide lowland-lakes trout opener is April 27. Good for kokanee and lake trout in Lake Chelan. Fair to good for kokanee in American and Stevens. Potholes Reservoir is good for trout, bass and walleye.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

Marine areas Very good for lingcod and black rockfish off Westport. Neah Bay, La Push and Ilwaco are also open for bottom-fish. Chinook fishing is fair to good in San Juan Islands, Hood Canal and Saratoga Pass, which are open through April 30. Slow for chinook in south central and southern Puget Sound, both are open through April 30. North Puget Sound is now closed for salmon. Spot shrimp fishery opens May 4 in many areas; the halibut fishery opens in early or late May depending on the area of Puget Sound and Strait; and the halibut fishery off the coast opens in early May. For details, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

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