Latest News for Crabbers, Clamming on Oregon Coast
(Oregon Coast) – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) officials have plenty of good news for crabbers and clam diggers this spring, but this could be very dependent on weather and surf conditions, which haven't always been cooperative lately. However, calmer conditions are now in store and several factors bode well for the recreational crabber and clam digger. (Above: Seaside, where some of the best clamming is)
The last low tide series at the beginning of April showed some exceptional razor clam harvesting numbers, according to ODFW, especially on the north Oregon coast.
“Ocean conditions were conducive to optimum harvest with surf levels as low as they have been all year,” ODFW said. “During this tide series harvest was good along the entire beach with the best occurring at the Seaside and Sunset beach areas. Harvesters averaged nearly 14 clams per person during the tide series in these two areas while the rest of the beach areas averaged almost 12 clams per person. Clams harvested were quite large with many harvesters digging clams well over 4½ inches and even a few close to 6 inches”
Water temperatures have warmed up quite a bit and thus there is much food in the surf for the clams, making them show quite easily.
2012 had a large number of clams considered rather small, less than three and a half inches. Because of this, ODFW advises harvesters to use extreme caution when digging for clams and only choose the largest shows so as to limit the chances of digging a small clam.
“Shellfish staff observed wastage rates that are higher than average this time of year,” ODFW said. “Wastage is the intentional replanting of small or broken clams. A full 80 percent of these replanted clams die due to damage or improper placement. Harvesters need to keep the first 15 clams they dig regardless of size or condition as per permanent regulations.”
Another set of minus tides is starting now and running through April 14 – just in time for the weekend. Yet another series of large minus tides happens at the end of the month.
ODFW said harvesters should pay close attention to the surf forecasts and be on the beach one to two hours before low tide. If the forecast calls for combined seas over 8 or 10 feet, razor clam harvesting can be very difficult because the clams tend to show much less in those conditions.
As far as crabbing goes, ODFW said crabbing has been more productive in some of the bays than on the ocean.
“However, during periods of rain, crabbing in bays may slow due to decreased salinity, but boat crabbers can still expect to land a few keepers,” ODFW said.
Ocean crabbing has been decent, ODFW said, although some crabs are still reportedly soft.
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