Razor Clam Digging on the Washington Coast

Bucket of Clams2

Razor Clams

If you ever get the chance to go clam digging, jump on it!

Razor clams are found on the coastline along the Pacific Ocean from California all the way up to Alaska. Each state sets their own requirements. In Washington State, the Department of Fish and Wildlife determines when the digs are and posts the dates, along with the time of the low tide. The best clamming is one to two hours before the low tide.

Then all you need to do is purchase your clamming license, a shovel or clam gun, and head to the beach! Licenses currently cost $8.60 for a three-days or $13.00 for an annual license. You can get a limit of 15 clams per day per person, just be sure you keep each limit in a separate container.

Several years ago I watched a friend dig for clams but didn’t participate so for me it wasn’t much more than going for a walk on the beach. This was my first time ever actually digging. I was in for a wonderful treat.

Josh Clam Digging

Josh loves getting his hands in the sand!

We drove about an hour and a half to Ocean Shores, Washington, to try our luck. We stopped at a little convenience store just outside of town and I bought my license. David and Josh already had theirs. I asked where to go and the clerk said just follow Hwy. 115 into Ocean Shores and it would take us right to the beach. So we did and boy, were we surprised by everyone else who was there! The cars were lined up on the beach for miles and so were the people! I was a little concerned there wouldn’t be any clams left, but I imagine that’s why there is a 15-clam-per-person limit. Still, it just looked like there were SO many people, it didn’t seem possible there would be enough clams.

The day was absolutely beautiful, which can be rare on the Washington coast. Sunny and clear, but with the usual brisk wind, we were prepared. We had layered clothing, coats, gloves, and hats. We also made use of the hip waders David had bought us all for Christmas last year. They kept our feet and legs completely dry while adding an extra layer of warmth.

David and Josh Clamming

David using the home-made clam gun, Josh waiting to stick his hand in the hole

We headed out to an area where we didn’t see too many people. Of course I worried that there was no one in that spot because there were no clams there. But we crossed a small current of water and came out on some higher ground and started looking for holes in the sand. Josh immediately spotted one and started digging with one of the clam guns that David and Josh had made from PVC pipe. He was very excited when he found one! Then another. Then another. He was VERY good at this! David and I were a bit slower but started finding them pretty quickly as well. I would dig with the gun and pull the sand out and if the clam wasn’t right there, David would stick his hand in the hole to get the clam. I just couldn’t do that part – it freaked me out to think about sticking my hand in a place where I couldn’t see what I was touching. Weird, I know.

Josh quickly reached his limit then helped us by running around looking for the holes and yelling, “Here’s another one! Shoot, Elizabeth, shoot!” (Yes, the boy watches a lot of Swamp People.)

It took us a little under two hours to reach our three limits. Then it was out to dinner and a late drive back home. But we had a very fun time and can’t wait to do it again. So I was very happy to wake up to a post online listing two more upcoming clamming dates. They’re on our calendar!

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Categories: Keatons Out and About, Outdoors, Uncategorized, Washington | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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