How to dig for clams

How to dig for clams

And that’s as I said before many times the best time to find these clams are throwing it low tide

How do you know where clams are?

How to Find Clams. Start by looking in bays and estuaries that get plenty of tidal flow. Clams live in a variety of conditions, including sand, mud, and even rocky areas, though I favor locations that feature more of a muddy/sandy bottom. Drive around to likely areas at low tide and seek out other clammers.

What months are best to dig clams?

Timing is everything. Soft-shell clams can be harvested only on Wednesdays and Saturdays in September, October, April, and May.

Do you have to clam at low tide?

One of the many interests that bring visitors to our area are the Giant Clams that can be dug during the low tides of the spring and fall. … ​It is also important to not dig more clams than is allowed by law. We work with the wardens from Dept. of Fish and Game to make sure they are on the premises when low tides occur.

What do you need to dig for clams?

  1. Sturdy shoes.
  2. Complete change of clothes.
  3. Shovel.
  4. Bucket.
  5. Bowl.
  6. Washcloth.
  7. Rake (optional)
  8. Clam digging license (if needed)

Do all clams have pearls?

While any oyster — and clams and mussels — can produce pearls, some species of oysters are more likely to produce pearls, while others may be harvested primarily to serve as food.

When should you not eat clams?

Foodie tradition dictates only eating wild oysters in months with the letter “r” — from September to April — to avoid watery shellfish, or worse, a nasty bout of food poisoning. Now, a new study suggests people have been following this practice for at least 4,000 years.

Is it a good idea to go clam digging during a full moon?

The best time to dig clams is when the low ocean tide is lowest (when you have the lowest possible tides). This occurs when the moon is full half full moon quarter moon actually all low tides are about the same.

Where can I dig for steamers?

To find steamers, head out at low tide and look for sandy areas. Walk along the low-tide line and look for tiny holes in the sand – these are clues that steamers live below. Digging steamers is more work than digging quahogs because they live much deeper. Most steamers reside 6 to 12 inches below the surface.

How many clams are you allowed?

Limit: Three. The first three geoduck clams dug must be retained as the bag limit regardless of size or broken condition.

How do you dig for clams in low tide?

Okay tacos are usually on the surface. Yeah they’re usually on the surface. Underwater. You just get

Can you eat clams you find on the beach?

Each year, the California Department of Health quarantines mussels and advises the public to refrain from eating other types of invertebrates, including clams, harvested from certain areas along the coast. … Eating invertebrates that contain high levels of domoic acid can cause sickness or even death in humans.

The Go-To Resource for Fishing Rigs


Harvesting wild clams is a great way to enjoy the outdoors while getting some sustenance out of it. This article will detail how you can dig for various clam species in the U.S., what the different species of clam are, and where you can find these species of clam. If you’re curious about going on your first clamming excursion, read along.

Different Clam Species:

There are a lot of different types of clams but this article will focus on 2 common categories of clams.

Hard Shell Clams

Manila clams, cockles, little neck clams and quahogs are all a part of this category of clam. Like the category implies, these clams’ shells are harder than their counterparts and have short siphons. The siphon of the clam is the part that filters the sea water and is used to feed.

How to dig for clams

The size of the clams range from about 1 to 5 inches in diameter.

Razor Clams

This category includes the Atlantic jackknife and Pacific razor clams. The two characteristics that separates this category from the hard shell clams are that 1, the shells are much softer, and 2, the siphon (and consequently the shell) is much longer with razor clams.

How to dig for clams

How to Dig for Clams:

The tools necessary for digging up clams are simple and you don’t need very much. The technique is also very simple but generally different for the hard shell clams than for the razor clams (generally).

Hard Shell Clams:

For the hard shell clams, they tend to be much shallower in the sand than the razor clams. The tools you’ll need are a small hand shovel and a hand rake. Both can be bought at Home Depot. To start, you basically go to a patch of rocks and sand that you think may have clams and start digging. The rake is used for rocks, and the shovel is used for removing sand.

The depth to dig for hard shell clams is roughly 5-10 inches. If you don’t find any within that depth, you can continue moving to a different area. It doesn’t have to be an entirely different area, just a foot or couple feet over. If you dig around a few patches in a specific area and don’t find any, then maybe it’s time to pick a new spot.

The only other equipment you will need is a way to measure the clams to make sure they are of legal size.
Here is a good introductory video to start learning about digging for these hard shell clams.

There aren’t any tell tale signs with hard shell clams that will signal to you that there are clams present. However, for razor clams, there are some things you can look for.

Razor Clams:

These clams leave marks or “shows” in the sand that you can look for to tell you where they are. These are dimples, doughnuts, and keyholes. A dimple is a depression in the sand. A doughnut is a depression in the sand with a raised outer ring (like a donut). And a keyhole is a hole in the sand. The diameter of these shows can be as large as a quarter.

How to dig for clamsHow to dig for clams How to dig for clams

Razor clams can be buried much deeper in the sand than their hard shell counterparts. They can dig to depths of 4 feet. Keeping that in mind, the tools you’ll use will be different. A clam shovel or a clam gun is recommended. Also, you can get a bag to hold your clams in as well.

The clam gun is used to place over the show and pushed down to remove a cylinder of sand, sometimes with the clam in it. There’s a vent that you can plug with a finger that creates a vacuum so that when you pull up the clam gun, the sand comes with it. Remove the finger to release the sand and to remove the vacuum.

The shovel is used like, well, a shovel. Just be sure you don’t damage or kill the clam in the process. It is best to start digging around the clam show with a 4 to 6 inch offset. It’s hard to determine how deep the clam is though so it might take feeling around with your hand to see if you can find it.

Here’s a really popular video of someone harvesting razor clams:

Where to Find Clams:

All along the eastern seaboard of the U.S., you can find the hard shell clams. Similarly, the west coast usually has all of the razor clams. Check with your local department of fish and wildlife for more information.

Rules, Regulations, and Best Practices:

There are limits per person for how many clams you can harvest. The rules differ for the species of clam you are harvesting as well as for the state you are harvesting them from.

You also need a license to harvest them and depending on where you live, the costs may vary.

Before you go digging for clams, you would want to check if there is any type of biotoxin warning for harvesting bivalves in your region. If there is, eating the bivalves can be harmful to humans so do your due diligence. In California, there is a hotline that you can call to check for this.

Finally, after you dig up the clams, whether the hole or patch of rocks were 1 inch or 4 feet deep, it’s best to cover the holes back up so that the area is left as undisturbed as possible. This promotes the repopulation of clams.

All the specific information can be found from your local fish and wildlife department. Here are some links for each state:

Clam digging or harvesting is the work of getting these colorful underwater shellfish from their homes where they burrow under the sea. There are different levels of clam digging with some doing it for sport and others as a source of food, privately or commercially. The last variation is beyond the scope of this article. You can choose to go out clam digging alone or as a team. There are several factors that will contribute to a great clam harvest.

Low Tide

The best time to go clam digging is when there is a low tide. Actually, at approximately an hour before low tide you should get great results. This makes sense considering the equipment and gear used. It will also be a lot easier for you to work in these conditions. Get tide information for the area you plan to dig in.

Equipment Needed

You will need a strong sturdy shovel, a bucket to place your clams in, a rake and a dowel, which is a cylindrical pin made of metal, wood or plastic. A pair of insulated rubber boots will also prove very useful. In some situations you could use a pitch fork, especially where there maybe some obstruction to easy shoveling.

Best Location

In regard to finding the best spots for clam digging, start with the traditional method of asking local people. In most places there are also clear signs of areas in which clam digging is allowed. Once in the water, concentrate on the areas with some vegetation and a sand bed. You will not find any clam in rocky areas. Once you are able to locate one clam, there will be many more around the same area as clams prefer to be in groups close to each other.

Know the Regulations

As you go out clam digging it is important to make sure that you have the proper permits and are familiar with the regulations that govern clam digging in the area you wish dig in. These regulations include clam sizes allowed for harvesting, periods when clam digging is allowed and the kind of equipment you can legally use to dig clams. It is also critical that you establish if clamming is allowed in the area as it is completely outlawed in some areas.

Look for Breathing Holes

To find clams, look for small holes on the mud or sand. These are generally the clam’s breathing hole. The holes are often shaped like a U. Almost all kinds of clams will leave a small hole on the mud making it easier to find them. However, you may need to dig them out a little bit faster to avoid the tide, water or sand from covering up the hole. To identify if there are actual clams beneath, stomp near the holes and see if there will be a squirt of liquid. If there is, then there is a clam beneath the hole.

Dig a Little Deeper

Although clams can be found in muddy areas, freshwater or saltwater areas, you do need to do a little work to dig them. Once you have located an area where there are clams, dig about 6 to 8 inches from the top to get the clams. Often times, clams will burrow deeper into the mud. A razor clam will often dig at least 12 inches below, only extending its neck.

You’re all set to go clam digging. These tips are sure to bring results.