One of the first things the kids had been asking to do was to go clamming. We have never been and I only had talked to someone about it once. I figured for this trip, I should bring backup. My husband, his brother, and sister, her husband, and our neighbor all packed three kids and three dogs into three cars and headed for the beach. Before we left there were a few things that we had to do and pack, but I'll address those later.
We found a spot that was a little south of Lincoln City. It was a little bay so it made it much safer for the kids. We started out and had no idea what we were doing. At first, we were digging up clams that we thought were illegal so we threw them back. After digging up about a dozen of them we decided maybe we should read the licensing/instruction manual a little better. Turns out, they were keepers! Once we figured this out, we realized that we were actually doing pretty well.
There was a technique that really helped. We used shovels and dug about 6-12 inches down in wet sand. The kids used little hand-held shovels. Once we dug down just a little bit the sand was so wet we would just reach our hands down about 12-20 inches and find as many as 3-4 clams in a handful. We would just keep moving sand out of our hole with our hands while moving the loose sand around and finding clams. We all did this without gloves (the kids only tended to find the clams that were moved out of the hole in the pile of sand we had dug out) but we did have one person cut their hand.
We were very wet at the end but every single person said they had a great time and we all want to do it again.
So here's the packing list:
- Bags for dirty and/or wet clothes and shoes to go into afterwards
- A spare change of clothes for every person
- A bucket for each digger
- Rainboots (if it's too cold to go barefoot)
- Snacks & drinks
- Either a lid for the buckets or ice chests for the clams to travel home in (you have to keep them alive in water and you son't want that spilling in your car)
- Gloves (if you want)
- Shellfish license
We obtained the licenses from Fisherman's Marine and Outdoor but you can also purchase them online. It is the same price anywhere you go which was $7 this year. Anyone under 14 does not need a license. There is a manual that is very helpful as it has pictures of the different type of clams along with a map where there are some good clam beds highlighted. This manual is the 2010 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations manual.
Finding the low tide times was also very important. You can use a tide prediction table from Oregon State University or the times are posted in the Oregonian's weather page two days before. This is not specific to all areas and it is good to arrive shortly before low tide so that you have time to follow the tide out but it should give you a good idea of what time to arrive.
Tonight, my culinary-graduate neighbor will be teaching me all about how to prep the clams to cook. I don't actually enjoy eating seafood, but learning to cook them should be fun!