Clamming on the Oregon Coast

Clamming for Cockles

One of my favorite clamming spots is in  the Yaquina Bay in Newport Oregon.  The best clams are found when it’s a minus tide so after checking the tide tables we took the clam guns, shovels and set out to find some Gapers.  We located a few but they were not as large as the ones we used to get on the island in front of the Embarcadero (but you need a boat to get there) and they were more difficult to dig.  That’s when we decided it might be better to look for cockles.  We returned another day at low tide and  this time we brought rakes instead.  We limited out  (20 cockles per person) in less than 30 minutes and headed home to process them.  Cockles like to make their beds where the water streams in and out of the bay and they leave distinguishing dimples in the sand.  The lower the tide, the farther out you can walk and rake in the channel.  When you hit a bed it’s exciting because you’ll often find 3 – 4 in the same spot.

One morning when my son was visiting with his 3 friends from New York, everyone wanted to experience clamming, but they had also booked an early fishing charter so we had a dilemma. The best clam tide was around the same time their charter boat was supposed to depart. We decided to give it a shot anyway.  We left  early and headed out into the receding waters of Yaquina Bay at 5:30 am.   It was still dark but we figured by walking in the dark to where the clams were we could start clamming a few minutes before daylight,  have about 30 minutes to rake clams, walk back to the car, and drive to Newport Trade Winds Fishing Charter’s office.It was quite the adventure walking in the bay when it was still dark, and even funnier to start clamming at dawn. We were not able to see any of the visual indicators  (dimples in the sand)  but started raking where we usually find them and it was clamming by braille.  Our clam catch that day was minimal, but everyone had a fun experience.  The boys adventure continued and they limited out with bottom fish, ling cod and crab  which made it a day they will never forget! We all had an abundance of seafood to eat that night for dinner and the rest of the week.

It’s all part of Life on the Oregon Coast.