Digging softshell clams

Hello, this is a repost from the iFish forums. I posted it to start a dialogue about digging clams, and 12 hours later my account does not work. I'm not sure what that's about but this seems like a much friendlier forum so here we go!

Hello everyone,

I'm new to this forum but it seems like a great place for folks to get together and talk about clams and clamming. The subject of this post is my experience digging softshell clams.

When I first decided to dig softshell clams, I got a free map of where to clam in Coos Bay from ODFW. It's sort of like a clam-by-numbers type arrangement, with different areas shaded and identified through a key as certain species.

Seeing the huge areas with only softshell clams up in east Coos Bay / North Bend, I took my boat up there at low tide... went right to the shore where the map said to go, saw the muddy bottom, jumped out of my boat, and... sunk up to my belly button! It was terrible. It took an hour for me to manage getting back on to the boat because there was some submerged timber in the mud that I was able to push myself out of the mud with. So... there may be clams there (I sure didn't get any during that adventure) but it was not a safe area for clamming.

For my next softshell adventure, I tried Bolon Island (it's a rec. area in between Reedsport and Gardiner) which is in between two bridges with a parking area on the east side of highway 101. I managed to successfully dig a few clams but the tide came in a lot faster than it was supposed to, according to my corrected tide chart for that area. They were delicious!! I highly recommend them as table fare, and the limit is generous (36).

Nowadays, I dig softshell clams often, but I keep a few things in mind.. 1) know the ground before you set foot on it, because softshell clams often associate with really loose substrate; 2) know the area you're going to be clamming and how the tide behaves (do not trust correction charts), especially if you are going to be boating; and 3) be really, really careful handling the clams. "Papershell" is a better description than softshell. They are softer than any other clam and you have to take extra care, but it's well worth it.

My friend Bill Lackner & I recorded this video of digging softshell clams up on the Umpqua a few months ago, check it out. We're part of the Clam Diggers Association, a free/no dues 501(c)(3) non profit organization promoting recreational clamming.

Glad to have you

Glad to have you

Welcome,Clamslayer! That is an awesome report. Love all the details and good advice. I have never checked out the notoriously UN-friendly "ifish", but they don't sound like our kind of fisher folk. If you want to honestly share your experiences,ask questions and get answers about anything having to do with all aspects of fishing, this is home to 775 great fisher folk. I love telling folks about the most Caring & Sharing fishing forum in the country! We are glad to have you, again, welcome.
(Insert sarcasim here)

Ah hell Ill do it myself...

I****.n** huh? Nah...That doesn't sound like something they would do...

Sorry I dont have any input at all on the subject of your thread. Just jumpin at the opportunity to bash I****.
the just hopping off your boat part was pretty dangerous man.

I only do razors pretty much. Never sank waist deep doing that!

I wonder why they banned you. Probably cause of the responses you got.
Welcome to the Family clamslayer.........................:D

I've never looked fer clams.................i mostly surfished fer Stripers & anything else i could mostly C&R. I caught a lot of sand crabs for bait

I caught many crab out on the piers.....................:D
I wish WDFW had maps for digging clams up here. I have tried for years to find out where to dig Cockle clams and horsenecks and no one knows where in Grays Harbor.

I hear ya though on the mud to your neck. Luckily I have never done it but we saw a guy that wanted to try and dig some kind of clam on a really low tide here. Wasn't from around here and jumped off his boat into almost shoulder deep mud. It took 3 private boats and 2 coast guard boats to get him out before the tide came in. At least he was smart enough to do it where people were around.
Yo, bro! Good to see you here!!!!

BTW, I'm the guy what went with y'all on the june clamming expedition in Coos Bay last year and stuck around for the cockle raking after... they were quite tasty, BTW... We'd met before, I think that we agreed on that... *chuckle*

I've been doing a lot of shellfish gathering lately... forgotten how much I LOVE mussels...

I'm heading out tomorrow in search of steelhead and looking to see if there are purple varnish clams on the south jetty in Florence (I've been looking for the gapers that are supposedly on the north jetty with no luck...) and then some softshells in the estuary.... mmmmmmmm...

Again... go to see that you here!

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