Razor Clams… How, When, and Where to Dig

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Clam digging is a great activity on the Kenai Peninsula that is open to residents, and non-residents. It is fairly inexpensive and the reward, as any one who has eaten razor clams knows, is worth it.
All you need to participate is some waterproof clothing, a shovel or clam gun, bucket and if over 16 a valid Alaska fishing license. Make sure you check current Alaska regulations on daily limits before digging clams. State law requires that you must keep and count ALL razor clams dug, regardless of size or shell damage. The fine for overlimit is not worth it at $100 plus $2 per clam.

Clams may be dug at any minus tide, but a tide of minus two feet or lower is recommended for the best results. See table below for the 2010 clam tides

June July August

11 -2.4 at 9:35 AM

12 -3.5 at 10:17 AM

13 -4.2 at 10:59 AM

14 -4.5 at 11:42 AM

15 -4.1 at 12:27 PM

16 -3.2 at 1:13 PM

17 -1.8 at 2:02 PM

24 -1.9 at 9:00 AM

25 – 2.4 at 9:44 AM

26 -2.6 at 10:24 AM

27 -2.6 at 11:01 AM

28 -2.2 at 11:36 AM

10 -2.3 at 9:17 AM

11 -3.7 at 10:01 AM

12 -4.7 at 10:44 AM

13 -5.0 at 11:26 AM

14 -4.5 at 12:09 PM

15 -3.3 at 12:52 PM

16 -1.6 at 1:37 PM

25 -1.5 at 10:10 AM

26 -1.7 at 10:42 AM

27 -1.6 at 11:13 AM

8 -1.9 at 8:58 AM

9 -3.5 at 9:41 AM

10 -4.4 at 10:23 AM

11 -4.5 at 11:04 AM

12 -3.9 at 11:45 AM

13 -2.4 at 12:26 PM

14 -1.8 at 12:57 AM

 

There are many different schools of thought on what is the most productive way to dig for razor clams. Some believe a shovel is the best, while others choose a clam gun, I have never had much luck with these. Half the battle is locating the “dimple” or “show” in the sand that indicates where the clam is buried. The following link offers a guide, with illustrations on how to use both a shovel and clam gun, as well as some maps showing you the best areas to dig. Another way to learn how to dig for razor clams is to head to the beach and watch and learn. You will find people using both of the methods I mentioned and some you will probably never see in a book.
There are only eight major concentrations of clams on the Pacific Coast and four of those are in Alaska. The beaches from Clam Gulch to Ninilchik are the most popular razor clam beaches in the state.
 So grab a shovel and bucket and hit the sand at low tide, and remember, the best part of clamming happens after you leave the beach…eating your catch.