Clamming in the Oregon coast bays is a very popular activity for visitors and residents. One of my favorite bays to clam in is in the Yaquina Bay in Newport Oregon.
In order to go clamming you will need some basic clamming equipment that consists of shoes that can get wet, (or knee high boots) a bucket to put the clams in, a clam shovel is nice but I use a flat blade shovel. One of the most important things you need to have is a current Oregon shellfish license on your person.
Before you start clamming it’s a good idea to be aware of the coastal tides, and the current regulations found in the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations found on line or a booklet is available where you purchase your license.
You will also want to read about how and where to go clamming for the specific clams you want to find. It is necessary to be aware of your surroundings and sudden changes in the weather.
For your first adventure it nice to go with someone who has been clamming before, but if you’re just starting out for the first time look where other people are digging and head that direction. You can also ask someone on the beach who is clamming how to find the holes that indicate where and what type the clams are. The people you meet digging for clams in the Waldport and Newport bays are some of the friendliest people around and most would be happy to point out what to look for and how to find the clams.
This is how I dig for clams. After locating the hole, which indicates there’s a clam below, start digging 6 inches to the side of the hole. Depending on the type of clam you are digging for will determine the depth to dig, but usually a foot will usually allow you to get to them. When your hole is dug, reach in and dig to the side until you find the clam. It is important to keep every clam you dig even if you crack their shell as they cannot always rebury themselves and will die. It’s always important to use responsible harvesting techniques. So, while you are digging the hole look around for an area to put the sand that will not cover up other holes where more clams may be and the fill in the hole you dug after you capture the clam. Be sure to count your clams, as there are regulations as to the number you can keep by variety. Once you reach your limit in one variety, you need to stop so that you don’t accidentally dig up another one and exceed your maximum allowed.
It is important to check the tide table so you know when the tide will be coming back in because you will need to leave before you get stranded, especially if you have crossed a deeper section of the bay when you ventured out. It is easy to get distracted and loose track of time, so I try to like to look up at the ocean with every other clam I find.
So, get yourself a bucket, a shovel, a shellfish license, a tide book (or look it up on line) some old shoes, but preferable boots, and head out for a fun day of clamming in Waldport or Newport bays. Check back for most posts about clamming on the Oregon Coast on how to prepare the clams you collect.