Spring tides mean clams

During the spring we experience some very low tides and with the weather changing, it’s time to get out your shovels, rakes and buckets and head to the beach for some clams.

Clam digging is an activity for the whole family to enjoy. Kids love to dig around the beach and splash in the water, so keeping them entertained is easy.

Penn Cove is by far the most popular beach for local diggers. The clam beds exposed by the spring tides provide everyone with an opportunity to harvest their limits with relative ease.

In Penn Cove, the most popular place to park is the small area just off of Highway 20 but if you go down Magnolia about a half mile, you will find the southern area where the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has seeded the beach with oysters as well. I have never personally tried for oysters, but that would be where I would start.

For those who have access to the Seaplane Base, give the beach on the west side of Maylor Point a try. This beach, although smaller, can provide the kids with a lot more to do and see as the rocky bottom to the south side of the beach exposes quite a bit more sea life.

This weekend’s low tides are around 9 a.m., so you don’t have to get up extremely early. They hit a maximum low of minus 4 feet around mid-week at noon. Be sure to check the tide listing in the newspaper for exact times.

Before you head out, make sure to give the Department of Health shellfish hotline a call at 1-800-562-5632 to determine if there are any health warnings for the area you plan on visiting.

I believe that getting rid of the wearable shellfish license was a great idea. I have personally misplaced mine a couple of times between clam digging and the crab season opener. Now I just have to remember to get my license out of the boat.

Shrimping continues to be better than normal but in these extreme tide changes it is almost impossible and you will spend most of your time looking for pots that have gone adrift or your floats have submerged completely. I found this out when I missread the tide book a few weekends ago. It’s best to wait for the smaller tide changes in the afternoon before setting your shrimp pots.

Ling cod anglers had better results last week. With under a month remaining in the season, the better action came just in time. Deception Pass, which I would have guessed was already fished out, has been producing nice keepers. The San Juan Islands have also started kicking out good numbers.

Halibut fishing continues to be productive for those that have targeted them at the banks. Use any of the methods I have mentioned before and cover a lot of area, and you too could put some nice fillets in the freezer before the season closes.

Bass anglers are getting excited as the temperature increases. Campbell Lake is a popular one to hit right now before all the summer wake boarders and skiers get in the way.

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