The Gold Beach area is famous for a seemingly endless number of outdoor recreational activities. One of those activities is Clam Digging.
What is Clam Digging?
Clam digging in Southern Oregon represents the harvest of razor clams from below the sandy surface along the sandy beaches associated with the Gold Beach area and to Littleneck clams common to the gravel or cobble substrate associated with the rocky headlands.
Clam digging is a recreational activity that is enjoyed a all members of the family as a source of pleasure for young and old alike and as a source of food that pleases both the spirit and the palette. Recreational clam digging is done using either a long tube 4 inches in diameter referred to as a clam gun or with a razor clam shovel. The basic razor clam shovel has either a long or short handle with a narrow blade bent at a slight angle to facilitate digging razor clams located typically 6 to 18 inches under the sandy substrate.
Where can I Clam Dig?
The beaches associated with Gold Beach offer the most productive digging for razor clams south of the beaches associated with the Columbia River.
The Gold Beach area is rich with areas for local clam digging. Not only is it great fun - but they're tasty too!
- Bailey Beach is listed by ODFW is an excellent location to dig for razor clams
- The entrance of the Rogue River and the Estuary are excellent locations
to fish for redtail surfperch and a fair location to dig for razor
- Myers Beach north to Hunters Cove is listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams. Razor clams are dug along the beach north from Myers Creek to Hunters Cove.
- Pistol River Beach is listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams. Pistol River Beach as well as Meyer's Beach is one of the most popular beach locations used for wind surfing competition that draws wind surfers from all over the world. Have your camera ready to capture the exciting moments on film.
- About 30 miles north of Gold Beach you'll find Sixes River Beach - located just above Cape Blanco via the Hughes house Rd. Park at the gate and follow the trail. Sixes River Beach is listed by ODFW as a location to dig for razor clams.
How do I dig for clams?
Razor clams are found by the round hole left in the surface of the sand as the clam's neck is withdrawn referred to as the show. The show often appears as a round hole, round dimple or as a donut Working quickly, place the blade of the shovel 4 to 6 inches to either side (north side or south side) of the clam’s show. Push the blade of the shovel straight down into the sand while getting down on one knee. The handle of the shovel will be pointing away from the digger at an angle parallel to the beach. Push the handle forward with one hand while sliding the other hand down behind the shovel blade. The forward movement of the shovel compresses the sand against the side of the razor clam while the movement of the bottom of the shovel blade in the opposite direction creates a hole destabilizing the clam’s environment. Lift the shovel handle up pulling the shovel blade out of the hole while reaching down in fluid loose sand at the bottom of the hole to retrieve the clam. If you miss the clam, use your fingers to dig downward until encountering the clam.
Wear gloves to avoid cutting your fingers on the razor sharp edges of the clam’s shell. Some razor clam diggers wear a pair of latex rubber gloves under a pair of thin rubber gloves used for gardening. Wearing the latex gloves not only provides additional protection for your fingers and finger nails it helps to keep you hands clean.
What else should I know about?
We highly recommend that you inform yourself before you harvest, clean, or eat clam. Always call the Shellfish Hotline before digging clams or taking mussels. As with any food that you catch and prepare yourself, there are regulations and precautions to be followed. Here are some Clam Digging Resources to help you become better educated:
- ODFW Regulations
- Clam Digging Ethics
- Visit FishermenDirect.com for some deliciious clam recipes...!!
- Be aware of Red Tide conditions and never turn your back to the ocean. Check with the Gold Beach Visitors Center for more information 541-247-7526 or the Shellfish safety hotline at 503-986-4728 or 1-800-448-2474 toll free.
Enjoy your day at the beach and come back again soon!
Many thanks to William Lackner for providing valuable clamming information at www.clamdigging.info