Butter clams are found in gravel, sand and mud in the lower estuary.
Features: Butter clams have oval and oblong shaped shells with heavy, thick valves and hinge. Their shells have fine concentric rings. When the shell is open a little, you can see the pale ruffled mantle reminiscent of a tuxedo. Like the gaper clam, they have their two siphons fused together into one "neck." Average adult size is 3-4 inches but can range up to 5 inches. Butter clams can live more than 20 years.
Habitat: Butter clams can be found in a wide variety of substrates but prefer sand and gravel/cobble beaches. They live approximately 6-12 inches deep and can be found in the mid-intertidal to subtidal zones. They are most often found in large estuarine systems, such as Tillamook, Yaquina, and Coos bays, and places with few rivers like Netarts Bay, because of their preference for higher salinity water.
Technique: Dig next to the show and not on top of it... shells break fairly easily and digging next to the show helps prevent hitting the shell with the shovel. Since clam siphons are not always directly vertical, many clammers prefer to use a wooden dowel to follow the siphon hole down.
Learn more here before getting started clamming.