Butter clams are excellent burrowers and are found abundantly in shell, sandstone, and even rocky areas. However, due to the ease of digging, butter clams are most often harvested in sand and mud substrates.
Features: Butter clams have oval and oblong shaped shells with heavy, thick valves and hinge. Their shells have fine concentric rings. Average adult size is 3-4 inches but can range up to 5 inches. Butter clams can live more then 20 years.
Habitat: Butter clams can be found in a wide variety of substrates but prefer sand, shell and gravel beaches. They live in the substrate approximately 6-12 inches down. Butter clams can be found as deep as 50 ft below the low-tide. They are most often found in large estuarine systems, such as Coos, Tillamook, and Yaquina, because of their higher salinity preference.
Technique: Dig around the show and not straight down on it... necks can easily be sliced off with a shovel, and shells break fairly easily; in the interest of safety and ease of preparation, come in from the side. Since most clams siphons are not directly vertical, many clammers prefer to use a wooden dowel to follow the siphon hole down.