All season long, during my weekly fishing report, I have had my fingers crossed for some clam tides. Finally, domoic acid levels dropped enough for safe clam digging. In this episode, I set out to the Washington Coast to show you how to spot clams, dig them with a shovel, and other tips while you are in the surf!
Clam digging is easy and approachable for the beginner but never loses its magic even after going thousands of times. It is a great activity to do with friends and pets, and there are generally enough clams for everyone to get their limits.
I started clam digging in the 1990s, as a small kid following my mother around the beach. Even then, most people used clam guns. Mom was dedicated to the shovel, as the Quinault people are. I was amazed at how effortless she made clam digging look. With her palm at the back of her shovel and a quick thrust into the sand, she could pull limits of clams in the time it took others to find a clam show.
Clam digging was one of my first introductions to harvesting my own food. It was safe for a kid to do with an adult, and from an early age, I saw a connection between the natural world and our own lives. Beyond that, I have taught countless friends how to dig for clams and how to cook and enjoy them. I do it because we make memories on the beach together and because they learn more about our Pacific Northwest beaches. However, with the 15 clam limit, there is a saying that goes with sharing the act of digging clams with others.
If you don’t do it for the love, do it for the limits!