Author’s Note: Welcome back to Hillsboro@20, a weekly recount of my thoughts and experiences as a 20-year-old living in Hillsboro, OR. In this third installment, I share my experience clam digging. So take some time and enjoy the read.
Following nearly an entire year of prohibition, razor clam digging resumed in October of last year. The clams had previously contained levels of a biotoxin higher-than-recommended for safe consumption. Now suitable for harvest, they have attracted masses of people to the coast aiming to reclaim their thwarted hobby.
Earlier in the month, I joined this crowd, accompanying my dad and grandparents on one of their many trips. We departed from Hillsboro around 6 a.m. and commuted a mere 90 minutes to Sunset beach, a portion of northern Clatsop County known for its consistent razor clam population. Arriving promptly an hour prior to peak low tide, we maximized our opportunity for success, as the lower the tide, the more clam beds available.
Approaching the shores, we were greeted by the sight of hundreds of other clammers. Fortunately, an abundance of the shelled creatures and a 15 count cap-off per person allows for such large community without diminishing any individual’s experience.
We simply proceeded to find an unoccupied space and began digging. It’s a very straightforward procedure: first, locate a small dimple in the sand – indicating the presence of a clam underneath – then, using a clam gun or spade shovel, perform a few digs, removing the sand from on top of the clam until it is revealed.
Evidently much more experienced than I, my dad and grandparents obtained their limit long before me. Still, we were all finished within 30 minutes of our arrival.
Regardless of experience level, clam digging can be a very enjoyable leisure, while time-efficient. Additionally, minimal equipment is required. A person simply needs a $10 shellfish license, shovel, and a bag.
Whether one’s finding a clam of a personal record size, or simply unearthing their first, clam digging can be a very rewarding experience for the entire family. And that’s without mention of the clam chowder served for dinner that night.