Clam Digging, A COVID Smart Activity

Sep 29, 2020 | Recreation, Beach, Events, Fall, Family Fun, Outdoors, Winter

The Long Beach Peninsula on Washington’s coast has 32 more “dig days” tentatively scheduled, through the end of 2020, providing an opportunity to get out on our expansive beach and fill your buckets with delicious clams.

One benefit of having so many dig dates is that people can stagger their visits – allowing for greater distance between family pods on the beach and less congregation in the host communities. Weekday digs provide an even more spacious experience.

Recently dubbed as “Distanced Digging” by King 5 News, it is a perfect COVID Smart activity for multiple generations – children and adults alike. Even those new to this cherished Northwest tradition can easily dig right in.

Spotting a little dimple in the sand and digging up a clam for the first time is thrilling. The success of finding the first clam sends you stomping across the sand to find another. And another. And another. Even a drizzly evening on the beach can’t dampen the joy. Before you know it, you’ve reached your limit.

This year the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering some pointers on ways to keep your family and host communities safer during these COVID-19 times. Be sure to review the WDFW’s Website for the current information on dig approvals, special instructions, and a link to purchasing licenses at dealers near you or online.

For the safety of all, the Long Beach Peninsula has compiled guidelines for visiting during COVID times. Please review them prior to arrival, and be sure to book your lodging in advance. This year’s digs are anticipated to have higher than usual participation.

The remaining dig dates for 2020 all occur at night, so here are a few tips to help you prepare for the adventure:

  • Do not exceed your 15 clam limit. You must take every clam you dig up, even if you break the shell or it’s smaller than you would like.
  • No digging is allowed before noon when low tide occurs in the evening.
  • Each clammer must have their valid clamming license on them and must carry their clams in their own net or bag. No sharing.
  • Bring a headlamp or lantern.
  • Always face the ocean to avoid any waves sneaking up on you.
  • A warm hat is strongly recommended on the beach.
  • It’s an added treat to have a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee ready in the car.
  • Stay aware of your surroundings and where you park.
  • Try to park near a landmark or something you can easily recognize after you’re done digging, especially after dark.
  • Bringing a bucket to fill with sea water to transport the clams is also a helpful item.
  • While digging after dark, reflective clothing and/or a flasher is recommended. Especially, for kids and dogs.

If you’ve never cleaned a razor clam, check out this video. Not the do-it-yourself type? Sportsmen’s Cannery is often available for clam cleaning, packing, or canning once they have finished with tuna and salmon for the season, usually by mid-Oct.

Once your clams are ready, you will have to decide how to eat them. There are dozens of variations on old favorites like fritters and chowder. We put together a Pinterest board to give you some inspiration. Whatever recipe you decide to try, these delicious clams are sure to be a treat at your dinner table.


The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife shares clam digging tips in the video below. If you’re new to razor clamming or if you’re bringing a friend who is, this is a great place to start.

Have fun! Be smart and stay safe! Enjoy!

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