Notice: Fish and Game have closed down several of the most popular clamming sites, be sure to check with F&G to find out which ones may be open.
If they are open be sure to get this years info on the prime clamming tides.
Kasilof RV Park is just a few miles away from some of the best razor clam beds in Alaska. Twice a month during the summer, tides are lower than normal and the beaches fill with eager diggers looking for the tell-tail dimple in the sand that indicates a delicious razor clam is in residence several inches to feet below the surface. Yes, these elusive clams can pull themselves down into the sand as you are digging for them. They can’t go sideways, but they can sure go deep!
One of the methods of digging the razor clam is the clam shooter. A long pipe with a handle on the top that you push into the ground around one of those dimples. You have to be strong and you have to be careful because a misalignment may cut the fragile shell of the clam allowing the sand to enter. Then you have to pull the pipe full of sand out of the hole hopefully with an intact clam in it. If not you have to keep pulling out pipes full of sand until you find that elusive clam.
The tried and true method is a clam shovel and long arms! After finding a dimple, you have to dig a trench between it and the ocean down to where the clam is located and then pull it out of the sand by the neck. Sometimes this turns into a problem as the deeper you dig, the surface water wants to run into the trench and cave in the walls. It’s not unusual to be up above your elbows in the sand or higher.
The reward for your efforts are up to 65 delicious razor clams for each of the participants. The clams average about 6 inches long and are unusually tender due to the very cold waters of the Cook Inlet. Kasilof RV Park has clamming equipment available for rent and during certain times will take groups to the clamming beach.
Clamming is not easy and is very messy. Often mud is mixed with the sand where the clams are located. It requires knee boots and rain gear. The beaches can be cold and windy at times also. However, clamming is quite an experience and a lot of fun if you don’t mind the work and the mess. We normally clean the mud and sand off the clams in the ocean placing the clean clams in salt water for the ride back to the park where further fun awaits.
Cleaning begins after the clams have set for about an hour in the salt water to help clean them. Then they are dipped in boiling water to loosen the shell, then in cold water to clean any additional sand off them. Then they have to be cut up for eating. We discard the belly and keep the neck, sides and foot. The neck is chopped up for chowder, the sides chopped for fritters and the foot is stripped for fried clam strips. When all that is accomplished, all that is left is a delicious meal.
|Raking the surface sand for steamer clams|
|Clamming at Cook Inlet|
|Reaching for a clam|
|Starting the clam search|
|Clamming at low tide|
|Cleaning the large clam batch|