Razor clams

G

Grego

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Washington has been open since the middle of October with some scheduled clamming weekends. Oregon was closed due to the microbes but it's now open. However, it doesn't look like there are specific days that it's open. Since it's been close to 3 decades since I last went clamming (and I'm only 33) you can probably figure I'd have some questions.

I know a lot of people use the guns but I think I'm going to go with a shovel. I know the regs of first 15 taken and low tide is the time to hit them. My problem is the 'where'. Will any beach do or are there some places that are better than others? I'm coming from Beaverton so anything from around Tillamook to around Seaside is a relatively quick drive - and I can hit the Wilson/Trask for fish while waiting on the tide.

I am also confused on the licensing. I obviously have my fishing license but do I need the shellfish license as well or is it covered? The reg book doesn't make it clear.

- Grego
 
S

SNDSLGR

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Welcome to OFF, its a great place.


I have never done it but have been reading a bit lately because I want to. Sounds like there are good areas up around Hammond but I can't really pin down where. If/when I get a chance to go I am going to try out a popular beach and the end of 12th street in Seaside. Claimed easy access and good clamming.

Shelfish licence is needed also.

I also read that it takes a good combo of low tide AND small surf to do well around here. The best tides in the next month are at night which I hear is common. I was told to get a partner, one holds the lantern and the other digs.


I would love to hear from an experienced clammer on the matter... I really want to go soon.
 
F

fishtales

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Columbia Basin
One of those lights that go around your head or clip to a ball cap work too.
 
Irishrover

Irishrover

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Washington has been open since the middle of October with some scheduled clamming weekends. Oregon was closed due to the microbes but it's now open. However, it doesn't look like there are specific days that it's open. Since it's been close to 3 decades since I last went clamming (and I'm only 33) you can probably figure I'd have some questions.

I know a lot of people use the guns but I think I'm going to go with a shovel. I know the regs of first 15 taken and low tide is the time to hit them. My problem is the 'where'. Will any beach do or are there some places that are better than others? I'm coming from Beaverton so anything from around Tillamook to around Seaside is a relatively quick drive - and I can hit the Wilson/Trask for fish while waiting on the tide.

I am also confused on the licensing. I obviously have my fishing license but do I need the shellfish license as well or is it covered? The reg book doesn't make it clear.

- Grego

Hit the beach at Gerhart it's a great place for razors. You can even drive on the beach. Look for a low tide as SNDSLGR mentions. Get down by the water in the wet sand. Look for dimples in the sand (when you see one you'll recognize one). Quickly slip the shovel in the sand on the water side of the dimple and dig. Remember those clams can move fast. Wear boots or be prepared to get wet. One thing to keep you out of trouble.....every one has to have their own container to contain their clams in. Unlawful to share a container. Keep in mind you can share a home with your wife, share a checking account, share you bed, but if you share a clam container you'll get busted:lol: And SNDSLGR is right again get that shell fish license.
 
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S

SNDSLGR

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So when using a shovel on the water side... do you dig along side the dimple or try and dig up the dimple? If you are fairly fast, how deep do you go before feeling around?

Nice call on the headlamp fishtales, I have a few of those too!
 
F

fishtales

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No problem a co worker of mine pointed it out to me when I had the same dilemma.

I would try and dig center on the dimple two scoops then check around but it varies. With a clam gun I usually do one then check. In Gearhart you want to have Tillamook head (big mountain south of seaside) at your back as you dig at least that is how I have been doing it.

Gearhart is great because you can drive onto the beach at the hotel and there is always a warm meal at the rebuilt Sand Trap restaurant bar.
 
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Irishrover

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So when using a shovel on the water side... do you dig along side the dimple or try and dig up the dimple? If you are fairly fast, how deep do you go before feeling around?

Nice call on the headlamp fishtales, I have a few of those too!

I dig a few inches away from the dimple so as to not crush the clam. Thats on the first shove load and the dimple comes out with it. I'll dig as deep as an arms lenght because I'm usually in there with my hand at the end.
 
S

skunk

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Knee deep in it
I had good succes up at Fort Stevens State Park this spring. Just south of the wreck.
 
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INSAYN

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I vote Ft. Stevens as well. Only I go straight out to the water line. I follow the tide out. Big minus tides are the best for finding clam beds that haven't been picked over already.

I'm also in favor of the shovel method over the gun method.

My tried and true procedure is to wear waders (with a tight belt), sand shoes, rain coat that is zipped up, and layers of NON cotton clothing.

I have two ways of going about finding clam shows.

1. ) Walk the tide line where water is going in and out about 2"-8" deep. If the water is clear and not a lot of foam cover, you can see the neck sicking out and will create a V as the water recedes past it. Once you locate the V, work quick on the water side of the show.

2.) Walk along the wet sand just inland of the tide line. Still very wet sand.

In either case....

Slip the shovel in about 3"-4" behind the show, straight down. Pivot the shovel at the tip, breaking the seal in sand at the rear of the shovel, thus forcing the handle away from the clam show. Lift straight up, making sure you don't move the tip any further towards the clam. Do this quickly so you can slip your hand down into the hole before it fills in. Once your hand is in the hole, wiggle your fingers opposite of each other to get your hand down through the slurry of wet sand. Find the clam neck and just pinch it closed with your fingers and thumb. Hold on tight, and it will quit digging (can't pump). Slowly start to pull up, and I mean slowly! Once it starts to move, you can add some speed to your pull. Bottom line, if you start too fast, you could pull it's neck apart.

Also good to note: In Oregon, you are required to KEEP the first 15 clams you have dug, whether you like them, have crushed them, or not. It is illegal to high grade, meaning you can't just bury a smaller clam back in the sand. One, it isn't worth the ticket if you are caught, and two just learn how to feel how big a clam is by the size of it's neck when you initially grab it. Take the time to gauge it's size while you are waiting for it to stop digging. If it's tiny, leave it and don't pull. If it's huge, I leave those too. I personally prefer the 4"-6" length clams for tender texture, and milder flavor.

Once you have your first 10 in the bag/bucket, continually recount your catch after two or three more clams, so you don't find yourself with too many. Again, it's not worth the ticket for being over the limit. You can't just drop the extras.

This is Oregon, and the water is dangerous. Being out near the tide line can get you into trouble if you don't pay attention to the what the water is doing. In most cases, if you work the tide line, wait for the water to start to recede, spot your clam show, work the shovel magic, get your hand in the hole for the grip, evaluate the size, pull it out if its a keeper and stand back up. All before the next wave comes in. It's also good to have a partner WITH you, and not just on the beach somewhere. They can spot danger while you may have your back to the water, and give you a chance to avoid a dunking. Take turns with them digging a clam.

Now, you can also work the beach back towards the high tide line if you didn't get your fill limit at the tide line. Just look for deep dimples that look like someone poked a 1/2" diameter stick into the sand surface. Dig the same way as described above and you won't be crushing any clams. The upside to digging in drier sand is that the clams don't move as fast, and don't have as good of a grip as they do in the wetter sand.

ODFW has some good info on clam digging as well.

Fish Division: MRP: Shellfish Project - Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Their technique for shovel use works great in dry, but not very well in wet sand. Once you get some practice at various techniques, you'll find one that works best for you.

Good luck!
 
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Irishrover

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INSAYN........great post. I like the way you present the information.
 

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