Tag Archives: Clamming

Clamming Tides

Currently, Clamming on the Kenai Peninsula may be a little poor due to over harvesting of the clams. 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.

When available the quality of razor clams on the beaches of the Kenai Peninsula brings a special treat and great food to our visitors and our Alaskan residents. Each summer there are two low tides each month which offer the opportunity to harvest these wonderful treats. The waters of the Cook Inlet provide plenty of food to build plump, juicy clams and the cold temperatures of the waters assure that they remain tender.

The tide charts on the above indicate the dates, times and the low tide level that will be obtained on the beach of Ninilchik in 2016. Alaska razor clams are available on the eastern shore of the Cook Inlet from the mouth of the Kasilof River to Anchor Point. The low tide times are earlier the further south you go.

In order to get out to the sand beds where the clams are abundant, it is necessary to have negative tide levels below -2.0 feet and the lower the better.

It should still provide many opportunities for gathering your limit of clams (check your State Fishing Guide for the 2015 limit) from 4 to 6 inches in length. Note that the limits of clams taken change from year to year.

2018 Clamming Low Tides

Date
Time
HEIGHT,
feet
Thursday, May 3111:32 AM-2.4
Tuesday, Jun 129:14 AM-3.18
Wednesday, Jun 139:57 AM-4.58
Thursday, Jun 1410:40 AM-5.38
Friday, Jun 1511:25 AM-5.47
Saturday, Jun 1612:12 PM-4.85
Sunday, Jun 171:01 PM-3.62
Wednesday, Jun 2710:04 AM-2.33
Thursday, Jun 2810:40 AM-2.44
Friday, Jun 2911:15 AM-2.25
Wednesday, Jul 118:53 AM-2.99
Thursday, Jul 129:40 AM-4.52
Friday, Jul 1310:26 AM-5.45
Saturday, Jul 1411:12 AM-5.66
Sunday, Jul 1511:58 AM-5.1
Monday, Jul 1612:45 PM-3.84
Tuesday, Jul 171:33 PM-2.04
Saturday, Jul 2810:56 AM-2.04
Thursday, Aug 098:37 AM-2.39
Friday, Aug 109:26 AM-3.98
Saturday, Aug 1110:12 AM-4.96
Sunday, Aug 1210:56 AM-5.17
Monday, Aug 1311:39 AM-4.56
Tuesday, Aug 1412:22 PM-3.2

Also you must take and count any clam you dig regardless of the size or condition. Do not hesitate to go clamming during those periods where the negative tides are not as great (-2 to -4 feet) as some sand beds are still available. Clams are there also, but may be more scarce and may be deeper below the surface.

You can normally dig for clams up to a couple of hours before the low tide and an hour or so after the low tide. However, be very careful as the tide changes and begins to return. It comes in very quickly and can leave you stranded if you are too far away from the beach. There is a free handout guide available for you at the Kasilof RV Park which will identify the major locations for clamming and methods for cleaning them. We also rent all the gear for clamming, including clam shovels, clam tubes, rubber boots and buckets. If you need help cleaning them, we will give you lessons and advice. 

 

Raking the surface sand for steamer clams

Digging clams

Clamming at Cook Inlet
Reaching for a clam
Starting the clam search
Clamming at low tide
Cleaning the large clam batch
Shelling clams
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Clamming

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.

Get this years info on the prime clamming tides.

Raking the surface sand for steamer clams

Digging clams

Clamming at Cook Inlet
Reaching for a clam
Starting the clam search
Clamming at low tide
Cleaning the large clam batch
Shelling clams
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