Clamming 101…Can You Dig It?

If you’ve been anywhere along the Oregon Coast, you’ve probably heard a lot about clamming; but you might be wondering why it’s so popular among natives and visitors. Clamming is appealing to many Oregonians and visitors because it is relatively easy and the reward is a tasty treat best served in chowder, steamed or fried. There are no special skills required, no expensive equipment, and beginners can usually pick it up quite easily.

The low tides commonly found from Empire to Charleston make our region one of the top destinations for clam digging. Local bait & tackle shops are usually the best resource for first (and second, third, fourth) time clammers and can usually advise on conditions, regulations, equipment, etc. Some businesses like Basin Tackle on Kingfisher Rd in Coos Bay even offer classes on how to use a clam pump and clean the clams (they even share secret recipes)!

Owner Rob Gensorek suggests showing at the times listed below fifteen to thirty minutes early to rent or buy your gear but the class itself is always FREE.  Just bring a shellfish license and you can rent a 48 hour clam pump and bucket rental for $15.00. Rubber boots are also available for just $5.00 a day. Here’s the 2018 class schedule below. Dates and times are subject to change and may be weather dependent.  We recommend calling (541) 888-3474 to confirm.

Saturday, March 24 12:30-2:00 pm
Sunday, April 08 1:00-2:30 pm
Saturday April 21 11:00 am – 12:30pm
Sunday May 06 11:15 am-12:45pm
Saturday April 19 9:30 -11:00am
Saturday, June 02 9:00 – 10:30 am
Saturday June 16 8:30-10:00am
Wednesday, July 04 10:30am-12:00 pm
Saturday, July 14 7:30-9:00am
Saturday, July 28 7:30-9:00am
Sunday, August 12 7:00-8:30am
Tuesday, August 28 7:30-9:00am
Saturday, September 08 5:30-6:30pm

From this (first time clammer)......

Go from this (first-time clammer)……

Fried Clams

To this delicous meal (later that day)…..

Don’t be afraid to try a clamming adventure this spring!  We’ve got tips, video tutorials and recipes to help!

Ready to give it a shot?  Here are some more tips for first-time clammers:

1. Get your shellfish license.

Clams can be harvested all year on our coast, but ODFW does require a license. Click here to get your license.

2. Wear waterproof boots (trust us).

Just take a look at the photos and you will see the necessity of waterproof boots. Otherwise, you may loose or ruin your shoes!

3. Dress in layers!

Doesn’t matter what season it is, it can get chilly out there! Dress in layers that can get dirty.

4. Go to a bait and tackle shop before you head out.

Some of the best advice you will receive will probably come from one of the fishing experts at one of our local bait and tackle stores. They can tell you when the best time of day to dig would be based on the tides. They can also help you make sure you have the right equipment- a bucket, a shovel (can be rented or borrowed) and/or a tube a.k.a. a “clam gun”.

5. Keep track of how many clams you dig.

You are allowed 20 bay clams per day in the aggregate, however, only 12 of which may be Gaper or Empire clams; again this is something someone at a local bait and tackle shop can help you with. Click here for ODFW’s Regulations Summary for Marine Shellfish.


6. Watch these tutorials and learn from the pros!

Watch this video to learn the basics of digging:

Rob of Basin Tackle in Charleston, OR demonstrates how to clean once you’ve caught them:

7. Once you are all finished, enjoy these recipes:

Robert Irvine’s Steamed Clams
Fried Razor Clams Recipe
Emeril Lagasse’s Fried Clams with a Classic Tartar Sauce
Pacific Coast Clam Chowder

For details, changes and more information, we encourage you to check directly with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Their web site is:

Now go on, you can do it!

Source: Oregon’s Adventure Coast
Clamming 101…Can You Dig It?