people clamming

Clamming


Razor clam seasons and beaches

Razor clamming at Twin Harbors beach
Razor clamming at Twin Harbors.

As of May 29th, 2024

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has closed all of Willapa Bay and the entire Washington coast to the recreational harvest of shellfish due to recent shellfish samples testing high for the biotoxin that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). This toxin is commonly known as a red tide.

Closure signs are currently being posted at key recreational shellfish harvesting locations, including Nemah Beach, Hawks Point, Willapa Refuge Boat Launch, and Nahcotta Beach.

This closure includes clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, and other species of mollusks. Crabs are not included in the closure. Continued sampling will determine when closures will be lifted or expanded.

Commercial shellfish are sampled separately and should be safe to eat.

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning can be fatal. A person cannot determine if the toxin is present by visual inspection. PSP can only be detected by laboratory testing. Illness is caused by eating shellfish contaminated with toxins from the naturally occurring marine plankton Alexandrium. Biotoxins are not destroyed by cooking or freezing contaminated shellfish. Symptoms of PSP can appear within minutes or hours and usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet, followed by difficulty breathing and paralysis. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms after consuming shellfish should go to the Emergency Room immediately or call 911.

Recreational shellfish harvesters are advised to call the DOH Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800- 562-5632 or access the Washington Shellfish Safety Map to check the safety conditions before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Pacific County. For the latest information on regulations and seasons, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing or call the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline at 1-866-880-5431.

razor clam limit

Photo by Zach Forster


King Tides

Stay Safe During King Tides in Washington State

As the king tides approach, we urge everyone to enjoy the spectacle responsibly:

Keep Your Distance: These tides can be stunning, but they’re also powerful. Watch from a safe spot, especially at spots like Cape Disappointment State Park.

Respect the Power of the Ocean: Steer clear of closed areas and be vigilant of sneaker waves—these giants can come unexpectedly!

Plan Your Visit: Check weather and wave forecasts to pick a safe day for tide watching.

Remember: Today’s king tides give us a glimpse into the future of rising sea levels.
Enjoy the view, capture the moments, but above all, stay safe!

Remember, NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON THE OCEAN!!
For more information on King Tides, visit the University of Washington’s King Tides Program at https://conta.cc/40OTrEA


Nahcotta Tidelands located at 26608 Sandridge Rd, Ocean Park, WA 98647

WDFW has information on public areas designated for shellfish harvesting. One of those areas is the Nahcotta Tidelands known for harvesting oysters. Here are links for more information on what is open and what licenses is needed.

Click here for licensing

Click here for Nahcotta Tidelands season information


Clamming is a great family activity but caution is always advised when you are on the beach.  Watch out for sneaker waves, stay away from logs in or at the water’s edge, keep your eye on the tide and drench all beach fires dead out before leaving.  The dunes are off-limits to foot and vehicle traffic.  All beach approaches have public restrooms and please pack your trash out with you.  Approximately 6 miles of beach on the north end of the peninsula may be closed to traffic at various times during the year – please follow all posted directions regarding these closures.

Clamming Checklist

A Shellfish/Seaweed License is required for harvesting razor clams and must be in the harvester’s immediate possession and available for inspection during harvest and transport. Everyone claiming a limit must actively participate in the harvesting process, unless they possess a disability permit.

Call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington State.

The first fifteen razor clams regardless of size or condition must be retained. One daily limit of fresh shellfish may be in possession.  Razor clams may not be returned to the beach. For razor clams, holes do not have to be refilled as is required for hardshell clam digging.

Razor clams may be taken by hand, hand-operated shovel, or tube (clam gun) with a minimum outside diameter of 4″ or (4″ x 3″ if elliptical). Each digger must use a separate container, but may share digging equipment.

For more detailed information visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing

man clamming

Vehicle Information

It is illegal to drive any vehicle, or lead or ride a horse on the clam beds. You must stay on the upper “hard-sand area”. Pressure from the weight of the vehicles or digging action of horses’ hooves cause clam mortality.

There are 7 beach approaches for vehicles along the peninsula.  Starting from the north end, they are:

  • Oysterville Road
  • Bay Avenue
  • Klipsan Beach (south of 227th)
  • Cranberry Road
  • Bolstad Road
  • Sid Snyder Road
  • Seaview (at 38th Street)

Local Places to Buy a Shellfishing License

JACKS COUNTRY STORE
26006 Highway 103
Ocean Park, WA 98640
(360) 665-4988

DENNIS COMPANY #1
2nd and Pacific ST
Long Beach, WA 98631
(360) 642-3166

SEAVIEW MOBIL STATION
3909 Pacific Highway, Seaview, WA
(360) 642-4023 

PIONEER MARKET
2006 N Pacific Hwy 103
Long Beach, WA 98631
(360) 642-4004

CHINOOK COUNTRY STORE
775 HWY 101
Chinook, WA 98614
(360) 870-7310

ILWACO FOOD MARKET
108 SPRUCE ST. W
Ilwaco, WA 98624
(360) 642-2413

For a complete list places selling clamming licenses in Pacific County 
Visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers?name=&city=&county=65

BUY ONLINE

Licenses may be purchased online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/login
Children under the age of 15 do not need a razor clam license. 


Razor Clam Recipes

If you have a recipe you would like to share, please email it to opchamber@opwa.com
Be sure to provide your name so we can post who contributed the recipe

Creamy Clam Chowder Recipe

If you’ve successfully cleaned some razor clams and are looking for a delightful way to enjoy them, consider making a creamy clam chowder. This recipe serves 6–8 people and is perfect for a cozy dinner with family or friends.

Ingredients For the Chowder:

4 cups cleaned and chopped razor clams (You can also use canned clams if fresh aren’t available)

4 cups clam juice (or chicken broth as a substitute)

4 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

1 large onion, finely chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

4 slices bacon, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon thyme (fresh or dried)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil

For Roux (Thickening Agent):

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Clams

If you’re using fresh razor clams, make sure they are cleaned thoroughly before chopping them into small pieces.

Step 2: Cook the Bacon and Vegetables

In a large pot, add the chopped bacon and cook over medium heat until it turns crispy.

Remove the bacon and set it aside, leaving the grease in the pot.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot.

Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots to the pot and sauté until the onions are translucent.

Step 3: Prepare the Roux

In a separate pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over low heat.

Add 4 tablespoons of flour to the melted butter and whisk continuously until it forms a smooth paste.

Cook the roux for 2–3 minutes, making sure it doesn’t brown.

Step 4: Combine and Simmer

Add the diced potatoes and thyme to the pot with the sautéed vegetables.

Pour in the clam juice or chicken broth.

Add the roux to the pot and stir well to combine.

Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15–20 minutes.

Step 5: Add the Clams and Dairy

Add the chopped clams to the pot.

Pour in the whole milk and heavy cream.

Stir well and allow the chowder to simmer for an additional 10–15 minutes. Be careful not to let it boil to prevent the dairy from curdling.

Step 6: Season and Serve

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked bacon back into the chowder for extra flavor (optional).

Serve hot, garnished with some chopped parsley or chives if desired.

Tips

If you’d like to add a smoky flavor, you can use smoked bacon.

Some people like to add a dash of hot sauce or paprika for a little kick.

This creamy clam chowder is rich, hearty, and incredibly satisfying. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the fruits of your clam-cleaning labor. Bon appétit!

Lucille Downer’s Taste of the Peninsula: Clam Fritters

With clam season going strong, here’s Lucille Downer’s popular recipe for clam fritters, which we first published about two decades ago. Lucille and her husband Jack were the founders of Jack’s Country Store in Ocean Park.

2 cups ground clams

1 cup biscuit mix

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon sage (if desired)

2 eggs, beaten.

Enough milk to make the right consistency

2 tablespoons oil

Salt and pepper

Stir all together mixing well. Refrigerate for about an hour. Put heaping tablespoonfuls into frying pan with hot shortening. Flatten each with the back of the spoon. Brown on both sides.