Razor clamming came to a halt in late March 2020 to the great disappointment of many. What, we can’t go razor clamming? It seemed like the perfect antidote to social distancing and being cooped up in the house. The beach, the good salt air, the clams. Just a week before WDFW had said the dig was a go. But then WDFW said nope and cancelled the late March and April digs.
Of course, WDFW also put a halt to all fishing. That had outdoor folk climbing the walls. People were canoeing, motor boating, and paddle boarding. Why couldn’t a fisher throw out a line or go out in a float tube? One explanation was about hazards to WDFW personnel who might be at risk doing regulatory enforcement.
As far as razor clamming, a different explanation was that it wasn’t WDFW precisely, but health authorities in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties with whom WDFW consulted who wanted the digs cancelled; they didn’t want legions of visitors coming to their towns potentially spreading the virus. Indeed, Pacific County ordered its beach access roads closed on March 22. That was the same day Gov. Inslee required hotels, motels and other hospitality lodgings to close. WDFW had little choice but to follow suit and cancel scheduled digs.
The Seattle Times ran a story about Long Beach and a prevailing attitude of residents: “Your vacation is not worth our lives. Go home. Stay home. Save lives.”
As of this writing, April 27th, boat ramps are expected to reopen May 5th along with some warm-water fishing, and razor clamming sometime thereafter. Here’s hoping there will be some razor clamming in May and maybe even into June. Those are months with favorable morning tides that diggers love.
As Joni Mitchell famously sang, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.