Digging razor clams is a challenging and fun recreational pastime with delicious rewards.
Features: This clam has a long, narrow, thin shell with a smooth brown coating.
Habitat: Razor clams are found in stable, sandy, surf-swept beaches of the open coast and some coastal bays. Razor clams have the ability of digging up to a foot per minute and have been found more than four feet deep in the sand.
The 18 mile stretch of Clatsop beaches account for 95% of Oregon’s razor clam harvest. The razor clam population in this area is much denser than any other area in the state.
Other areas that also have razor clams include Indian Beach (Cannon Beach); Cannon Beach; Short Sands (North of Manzanita); Cape Meares Beach (Tillamook); Agate Beach (North of Newport); North Beach and South Beach (Newport); Waldport Beach; North Umpqua Spit (Winchester Bay); Bastendorff Beach and North Spit (Coos Bay); Whiskey Run (Bandon); and Meyers Creek Beach (Gold Beach).
Technique: The best clamming is during low tide (and minus tides are the best) and when ocean swells are low as that is when clams will be nearer the surface. When a razor clams extends its neck near the surface of the beach it produces a distinct “show.” Shows are found most commonly by one of two methods: Looking for small round dimples in dry sand or pounding a shovel handle in receding surf.
Once you find a show, start digging either with a shovel or clam gun. Razor clams dig fast, so you must dig faster. Be careful reaching into the hole to retrieve your clam – they’re named razor clams for a reason. These clams has a very thin shell that can be easily broken by a digging shovel. This is why you are required to keep the first 15 clams you dig.