Spring is sprung for razor clams

HOOK AND FUR By Bob Brown The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced last week it has approved a series of razor clam digs in April and May to cap a season with more beach days than anytime in the past 25 years. Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager said "After a nine-day opening that ran through March 24, the department plans to end the season with another 24 days of digging during low tides at various breaches from April 4 through May 17. Counting the new digging dates in April and May, the department plans to provide a total of 286 beach days on Washington beaches this season - the highest number since 1989. A beach day is defined as one beach open for a single day. Annual razor clam seasons typically end in mid-to-late May, when the clams begin to spawn and are less desirable for eating.GÇ¥ State wildlife managers are also urging clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in soft, dry sand at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula and on a section of Twin Harbors Beach. Proposed digging days in April and May are posted on the department's website. -á Fishing update
" Fishing has been heating up on the Cowlitz. Karen Glaser, of Barrier Dam Campground, located at Salkum reported fishing is actually going very well right now. Anglers are picking up quite a few spring chinook, plus a lot of steelhead. Chinook are weighing 10 -27 pounds. A variety of baits are being used: lots of shrimp. Loonie Coonies, jig and bobbers, corkies and yarn and Blue Fox spinners. Joe Hymer of the WDFW Vancouver office reported fish samplings taken during the week, March 10-22, checked 42 boat anglers with 36 steelhead kept plus one released. Thirty-two bank anglers had six adult spring chinook and nine steelhead kept and one steelhead released. The majority of steelhead were caught near the trout hatchery; spring chinook at the salmon hatchery. During five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator during the same week, Tacoma Power recovered 494 winter-run steelhead and two spring chinook. Effective April 1, anglers on the Cowlitz may retain up to three hatchery steelhead until further notice. Hymer also reported angler effort has been increasing in the mainstem Columbia below Bonneville Dam, but not so much on the catch. Last week, we sampled 1,709 salmon anglers (including 563 boats) with 68 adult spring chinook and 15 steelhead. Salmon effort doubled from Thursday to Saturday. On Saturday, 889 boats and 676 bank anglers were counted. Effort was spread out throughout the river. Anglers are reminded the main stem Columbia below Bonneville Dam will be closed to fishing April 7 for salmon, steelhead and shad. " Anglers can expect halibut fishing seasons this year to be similar to 2014 for Puget Sound and coastal waters with some additional fishing opportunities in the Columbia River area. The recreational catch quota this year for all Washington's areas will be 214,110 pounds; the same as last year. WDFW has also revised the season structure for the Columbia River fishery to encourage anglers to fish there, said Heather Reed, WDFW coastal policy coordinator. The season for that area will run continuously instead of being divided between and early and late season. Anglers will again be allowed to retain all bottom fish while having halibut onboard their boats in the near shore section of the Columbia River fishery (Marine Area 1) which opens May 4 on a Monday through Wednesday schedule. Additional changes will allow anglers to retain flatfish, in addition to sablefish and Pacific Cod with halibut on board during the all GÇôdepth fishery that opens May 1 on a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule. In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restrictions. Anglers may possess a maximum two fish in any form and must record their catch on a WDFW catch record card. More information regarding this year's recreational halibut and bottom fish seasons on the WDFW website. -á Bob Brown lives in Roy and is a freelance outdoors writer. He can be contacted at robertb1285@ centurylink.net


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