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Thread: Clamless Gulch

  1. #1

    Default Clamless Gulch

    Was in Clam Gulch this weekend. They need to close clamming down there before we have to change the name. Tons of people, no clams. I saw ADFG doing a survey in the mud - I'm sure theirs was more scientific, but I bet they came to the same conclusion.

    Will be interesting to hear what happens... Hope they shut it down.

  2. #2
    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    I remember when we had fun and had things to hunt and fish on the peninsula. Unfortunately alaskas playground got played out and now there is no moose, no kings, no razer or steamer clams, and it's harder and harder to find nice halibut in cook inlet. Got plenty of bears though.

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by 0321Tony View Post
    I remember when we had fun and had things to hunt and fish on the peninsula. Unfortunately alaskas playground got played out and now there is no moose, no kings, no razer or steamer clams, and it's harder and harder to find nice halibut in cook inlet. Got plenty of bears though.

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    Important to remember that much of this could be cyclical. The clams died off naturally down there - if i remember correctly there have been several big storms over the last decade that have rolled the beach and the clams with it. There are a lot more people and marine mammals digging clams now, and increased hunting/fishing pressure has not helped with any of these. With luck the Kings are recovering slightly from whatever the heck killed their productivity out in the wild blue. If we take care of the river and the harvest pressure they might stand a chance. Hopefully with the fire there will be more moose in a few years for the bears and me to eat - if I remember right, cars kill more moose than hunters and the moose have been lacking feed. As for the halibut - LOTTA people fishing and they are definitely smaller. Luckily, spike moose and 20 pound halibut have a special place in my heart right next to 20 pound kings and small clams...

  4. #4

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    It just keeps getting better...

    Heard on the radio this morning a report of possible Paralytic shellfish poisoning from the Clam Gulch Beach... Wondered why my lips went numb... Oh, wait, that was the Tequila...

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    That would be a first for clam gulch.

    Remember clams have a larval stage that can last from 5 to 16 weeks before they settle in to the sand. The time depends on water temperatures. So the population at Clam Gulch may come from an area that is not close to Clam Gulch. I worked with shipworms (type of clam) that had a 25 day larval life and one that had 3 days and they can move long distances in that time before settling. In three days in a confined Bay they could settle over 25 miles away and that was in an area without the currents of UCI. I could track the 3 day ones because the adults were confined to a power plant discharge area as they were tropical and thus ones that settled on my wood test panels came from that location.

  6. #6

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    Was there Saturday - 1.6 ft lack of clams was quite apparent I quit digging they need to close it. IMHO

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    Quote Originally Posted by kk alaska View Post
    ...they need to close it. IMHO
    Good luck with that!

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    In the Cordova area many beaches that were once good digging have slowly lost their clam populations since the Earthquake in 64. In the 70s you could still get good clams and into the 80s, but now they are few and far between. The beaches there rose up from the earthquake and they have been turning from sand to more muddy and get lots of moss growing on them now. Where once there were razor clams, there are now mussels and other small soft shell clams. The crabs have also disappeared. Part of it is also the out of control sea otter population, but that isn't the only reason.

    Farther east, from the Copper River eastward to Controller Bay near the Bering River, there are a few small pockets of razor clams but they don't seem to get any size to them any more. Kanak Island used to have lots of clams and they were beauties. 20 years ago while the population was dwindling, you could still get a mess of nice clams there, but now while you can still find razor clams on the island, something has stunted their growth and kills them off before most get to be 4 inches long. You can find lots of clams, just no big ones. When they get about three inches long they die off. You can find windrows of fresh shells on the beach all small and immature. There are still some old white shells from back in the day when they would get six inches or better. But you won't find any live clams that size. It's probably been 10 years or more since I saw a four inch clam on Kanak. Something is killing them, but I'm not sure exactly what it is. It appears likely it could be in the food supply.
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    Razor clamming is probably the best managed and truly sustainable "fishery" in WA state. And boy do we get some dandies...









    Razor clamming is VERY popular and participation is extremely high, BUT bag limits are extremely low by AK standards.... the first 15 clams dug.... GAME OVER. Seasons are limited to select days October thru May.... perhaps 3 to 6 days once or twice a month depending on how the tides fall on the calendar.... night digs by lantern light in the fall/winter and early daytime digs in the spring. It is NOT a wide open season on every diggable day. That's how OR does it, and their clamming SUCKS compared to WA.

    I remember how KP locals HOWLED when the limit on Cook Inlet beaches went from 60 down to 45. Next board cycle, it was back up to 60. JFC, who can eat that many clams? And who really wants to clean 'em? Razors are best enjoyed FRESH... either raw or cooked.... and consumed within a couple days of harvest. Nothing can ruin their quality faster than a trip to the freezer. How many pounds of freezer burnt clams does the average digger throw out each spring when it's time to empty the chest freezer? Yes they can be canned, but that destroys the flavor/texture as well.

    This is clearly a case where less is best. Folks should really limit their take to what can be eaten fresh, even if the law allows them to take more.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    We happily clean, and freeze, and enjoy them all year long.
    And as for the KP folks "howling", I'd say it's a pretty good bet that most of the people who clam on local beaches are not local residents.

  11. #11

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    We have had too many people digging too many clams here for some time IMO. Just one case where more, more, more has not worked. Those are nice looking razors doc. I have not seen a bucket of clams that size come off my beach for over a decade. Interesting that they grow faster in your warmer water.

    The ole' red tide scare helped keep the flats pretty void this season, giving em a bit of a break at least .

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    Quote Originally Posted by kk alaska View Post
    ...they need to close it. IMHO

    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Good luck with that!
    2nd & 3rd`ed
    On the south end of Kodiak Is. we once had a mile long strip of good razor beach that supplied the locals with a good dig on just about any minus tide.

    In the 70`s & 80`s the area got to be a fairly good dungey fishery. As the crab cycles the effort level in the fishery varies from a couple Kodiak boats to as many as 10 or more. Most of the increase is from transient boats hailing from WA and OR. Dungies love razors and coastal guys know how to dig.

    I have seen as many as 4 boat crews working that short beach for bait on a single tide. I inquired to F&G and was told that all is required is a sport fish license and anyone is allowed an unlimited bag for any use.
    The last time I went I found 2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    We happily clean, and freeze, and enjoy them all year long.
    Same here. Been digging since I was 4 years old. I have NEVER 'thrown clams away.' There are still plenty of large clams on the west side. Something needs to change on the east side beaches. I suggest a 'clam stamp' or tag for non residents that is expensive enough to discourage some of them from raping our beaches. So tired of tourists camping in the motor home and taking their limits, or more, every day. Also there are certain ethnic groups who consistently ignore the limits, but are seldom prosecuted.
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    Quote Originally Posted by anonymous1 View Post


    I have seen as many as 4 boat crews working that short beach for bait on a single tide. I inquired to F&G and was told that all is required is a sport fish license and anyone is allowed an unlimited bag for any use.
    The last time I went I found 2.
    Maybe they changed it since i dug clams in the Kodiak area for crab bait, but we needed a commercial clam license to dig without a limit. We dug over in Kukak Bay on the mainland and Halo Bay.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishNphysician View Post
    Razor clamming is VERY popular and participation is extremely high, BUT bag limits are extremely low by AK standards.... the first 15 clams dug.... GAME OVER. Seasons are limited to select days October thru May.... perhaps 3 to 6 days once or twice a month depending on how the tides fall on the calendar.... night digs by lantern light in the fall/winter and early daytime digs in the spring. It is NOT a wide open season on every diggable day. That's how OR does it, and their clamming SUCKS compared to WA.

    I remember how KP locals HOWLED when the limit on Cook Inlet beaches went from 60 down to 45. Next board cycle, it was back up to 60. JFC, who can eat that many clams? And who really wants to clean 'em? Razors are best enjoyed FRESH... either raw or cooked.... and consumed within a couple days of harvest. Nothing can ruin their quality faster than a trip to the freezer. How many pounds of freezer burnt clams does the average digger throw out each spring when it's time to empty the chest freezer? Yes they can be canned, but that destroys the flavor/texture as well.

    This is clearly a case where less is best. Folks should really limit their take to what can be eaten fresh, even if the law allows them to take more.
    Doc, my family eats that many clams. We save what we don't eat fresh and freeze them temporarily. (I agree, if you are frying them, fresh or shortly frozen is the way to go.) Then we either can them for chowder or I take them to Anthony and have him make us a big batch of his famous clam sausage. Now that is some good stuff. We use it in Spaghetti or cook it up with sauerkraut and veggies. Anthony mixes 80% pork with 20% clams and a bit of seasoning and the result is a mild tasting sausage with a hint of clam to it. When I first moved back to the Harbor, we went digging almost every day it was open, even the days it was blowing 40-45 mph. Now that we've been back 7 years, we hit it a couple times an opener and skip the nasty days. Unless our supply is getting down, then we'll dig every day of a run of tides. Traditionally we dig Ocean Shores with the occasional trip up to Roosevelt Beach, but Ocean Shores hasn't been open except Saturdays this year and the clams have been smaller than in the past. So we've been hitting Grayland more often and been getting some really nice thick clams.

    My grandfather (Roy Stritmatter) used to have a clam he bought from the Quinaults in a gallon jar of formaldehyde at his cannery on the Hoquiam River that was close to 12 inches long. Came from the res in the Tahola area. Had to put it in the jar at an angle to fit it in. Not sure what happened to it after he sold the plant to the Quinaults.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    There are still plenty of large clams on the west side. Something needs to change on the east side beaches.
    The funny thing is, Poly Creek on the west side has been hit hard for years and years by commercial diggers and never seems to run out of clams, but the east side beaches seem to be in a production lull.
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    The east side beaches have not only been HEAVILY over harvested, but the siltation of the beaches near the mouths of deep creek and the ninilchick has gotten very noticeable. For years the. Homer AC tried to get the limits dropped, but our bio resisted... (Same bio that ignored dwindling KS stocks and opened a very liberal..but short lived...tanner fishery)
    Anyhow, I think that the biggest problem facing east side razors is siltation as a result of development on the local creeks. I doubt they will ever come back.
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    [QUOTE=homerdave
    Anyhow, I think that the biggest problem facing east side razors is siltation as a result of development on the local creeks. I doubt they will ever come back.[/QUOTE]


    Dave.... Could you elaborate on this theory?
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cod View Post
    Dave.... Could you elaborate on this theory?
    Lots being cleared and developed right up to the edges of the creeks and the bluffs overlooking the creeks make for LOTS more mud running into the inlet. Also the sloughing of the bluffs directly over the beaches has contributed to soft mud where there used to be sand. Spruce forest absorbs and stores thousands of gallons of water per acre, so for every reduction in forest there is a corresponding increase in runoff out the bluffs.
    Look at the anchor and compare how often it muds up and how long it takes to clear as opposed to 25 years ago....j
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    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    Doc, my family eats that many clams. We save what we don't eat fresh and freeze them temporarily. (I agree, if you are frying them, fresh or shortly frozen is the way to go.) Then we either can them for chowder or I take them to Anthony and have him make us a big batch of his famous clam sausage. Now that is some good stuff. We use it in Spaghetti or cook it up with sauerkraut and veggies. Anthony mixes 80% pork with 20% clams and a bit of seasoning and the result is a mild tasting sausage with a hint of clam to it. When I first moved back to the Harbor, we went digging almost every day it was open, even the days it was blowing 40-45 mph. Now that we've been back 7 years, we hit it a couple times an opener and skip the nasty days. Unless our supply is getting down, then we'll dig every day of a run of tides. Traditionally we dig Ocean Shores with the occasional trip up to Roosevelt Beach, but Ocean Shores hasn't been open except Saturdays this year and the clams have been smaller than in the past. So we've been hitting Grayland more often and been getting some really nice thick clams.

    My grandfather (Roy Stritmatter) used to have a clam he bought from the Quinaults in a gallon jar of formaldehyde at his cannery on the Hoquiam River that was close to 12 inches long. Came from the res in the Tahola area. Had to put it in the jar at an angle to fit it in. Not sure what happened to it after he sold the plant to the Quinaults.
    I used a Stritmatter for my attorney when I lived in Pacific Beach. Any relation? Used to be a clam about the same size as the one you mentioned in a jar in the Clam Shell Lodge, or maybe the Big T in Kasilof.
    Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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