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Thread: Clamming fun

  1. #1
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Default Clamming fun

    The family and I headed to Clam gulch for a little clam digging on Saturday. We had bought clam guns on our trip to Ninilchik last spring while on a halibut trip. Our last clam digging adventure pulled up a grand total of 0 clams. We fished a plus one tide on last years trip. Our expectations of this trip were to hopefully get a few clams.

    I had been waiting for a good tide and last weekend was it. We headed out with the car, due to high fuel prices. I wanted to take the truck and a friends wheeler. The money we saved in gas payed for our stay at the Clam Gulch Lodge.

    Sunday morning we had a great breakfast at the lodge consisting of pancakes with bluberries and reindeer sausage from Indan Valley meats. With our bellies full of a great breakfast we headed to Ninilchik for some digging. We hit the beach on the North side of the Ninilchik River about 45 minutes before low tide. We walked about a 1/2 mile up the beach where we saw others digging, and walked out to the water line. The first dig with the gun pulled up a clam. To say I was suprised to pull a clam on the first dig was an understatement after the lack of success on our clam digging experience last year. 70 minutes later we had 3 limits of clams. We dumped the clams in a pool of water to clean sand off and double check our count to make sure we were not over our limit. This took about 2 minutes and about 3 clams from each bucket managed to disappear back under the sand.
    On our walk back to the car the 7 year old said that clamming was more fun than fishing. We headed back to the Clam Gulch Lodge and Gary, the owner, showed us how to clean the clams. I must include in here that Gary went out of his way to help us clean, freeze, and vaccum seal our catch. Gary had all of the facilities to use, which were included in the price of the lodge.
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  2. #2

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    Nice report man.
    Thats a lot of clams! Im hoping to get out there before the good tides are gone, if not Ive got to wait until next month.
    Random guy in Fly shop: "Where did this happen???? In real life or in Alaska?"

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    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFHunter View Post
    On our walk back to the car the 7 year old said that clamming was more fun than fishing.
    Yup! Kids LOVE clamming! Unlike some of the o'dark early fishing trips we often take, my girls need no special coaxing to go dig for clams.

    http://www.ifish.net/board/showthread.php?t=197027

    http://www.ifish.net/board/showthread.php?t=146631
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  4. #4

    Default Great report

    Thanks for sharing. I am concerned however that your 7 year old thinks that clamming is more fun than fishing... Must be the water???

  5. #5
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Default Cleaning and catch pictures

    Two hours later our limits were cleaned and in the freezer. Our fist days catch was 18 pounds of tastey clams for 3 limits. Gary asked if he could fix us fresh clams for dinner. Needless to say we had a very tastey meal of clams that night. The clams were lightly salted, peppered, and fried on a skillet with a little butter for about 1 minute on each side. Man were those gooooooood. That night my back was a little sore from the clam gun and from bending over cleaning the clams. But those were so good, a little sore back was not stopping me from getting some more clams the next day.

    Monday morning, we wake to another great breakfast at the lodge of scrambled eggs with the left-over clams and scallions, with toast. Our backs were a little more sore this morning. We hit the beach again about 45 minutes before low tide. This time we dug only the larger dimples. We pulled much larger clams today on average. These clams were much deeper than the day before. We pulled most of the clams at the bottom of the second gun full of sand or on the third gun full of sand. The back was really sore at the end of this digging. It took two hours to get our 3 limits this day.

    The day prior we had planned to drop the clams off in Ninilchik for cleaning. The kings were running in the Ninilchik and we all wanted to try for some Kings. As luck would have it, the guy who cleans the clams was hurt on a ladder the night prior and was on his way to the hospital. We spent 2 hours cleaning our limit of three. The boy decided that clam digging was still a blast, but the cleaning was not-so-much-fun. Mondays limit of 3 totaled 24 pounds.

    We had a great time digging clams and we have a bunch of great meat to eat. I recemmond for anyone that loves clams to go experience clam digging at least once. We are hooked and will be back for some beach gold again next spring or when our clams run-out and the tides are good. Forget going to Nome for gold, the real gold is on the Southwest coast of Alaska in a hard shell.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Sounds like a good time

    My wife had me primed to go yesterday as well, on the minus 5 point something. I was working on stuff and got called to go in and get ready. We arrived there late, with the tide coming in, since my wife had misread the tide book, but we managed to get about twenty between us (which we ate as clam strips tonight... mmmmm).

    We dug on the south beach of Ninilchik, and, I swear, we were among the few in a great crowd of clam diggers NOT speaking Korean. The only English I heard was when one disgruntled teenage girl said, "Oh, can't we just go home!", which seemed to fall on deaf ears. Some of those folks were out there in T-shirts and shorts, no boots, dragging up great trash bags of clams in sleds. Seems like every square foot of beach in that area had been clam gunned.

  7. #7
    Member monello's Avatar
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    Default clams

    Clamming - lots of fun

    Cleaning clams - not so much fun

  8. #8
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Great pics. What do most of you all prefer, the shovel or the tube when getting the clams?
    I keep telling myself each year I'm going down there do it.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

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    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Gray View Post
    Great pics. What do most of you all prefer, the shovel or the tube when getting the clams?
    I keep telling myself each year I'm going down there do it.
    A probe pumping fresh water into the spot. No digging, just a clam rising to the surface. The most work is lining the boat around the beach, and hauling the clam buckets back to the boat.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  10. #10
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Big Al,

    The way I read the regs... a probe pumping water into a hole is not a legal way to get clams. I may be missing something here though. You may be saying that your probe with water falls into the "by hand" method. I do not believe so, but the regs are copied below.

    I have only used a clam gun. The gun was very effective. I averaged 2-3 times more clams in the same amount of time as the folks with shovels digging near-by.


    Sport fishing gear for shellfish: Unless otherwise provided by the area regulations in 5 AAC 46 -- 5 AAC 70, shellfish may be taken only as follows: (1) on a keg or buoy attached to each pot, the sport angler shall plainly and legibly inscribe his or her first initial, last name, home address, and the name or the Coast Guard number of the vessel used to operate the pot; (2) an escape mechanism, as described in 5 AAC 39.145, must be provided for each pot; (3) no more than five pots per person, regardless of type, with a maximum of 10 pots per vessel, regardless of type, may be used to take shellfish at any given time; (4) crab may be taken only with pots, ring nets, diving gear, dip nets, hooked or hookless lines either operated by hand or attached to a pole or rod, or by hand; (5) shrimp may be taken only with pots and ring nets; (6) clams may be taken only by hand, or with rakes, shovels, or manually operated clam guns.

  11. #11
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    I'm sure you are correct. I got the idea from watching the state do their surveys. I have used a hand pump spray gun for subsistence. Of course where I did this was many hundreds of miles from any fish cops. I used to time the tides so I would get low tided and get buckets of clams with little effort. The real trick was to get the pot boiling before I had a couple of dozen to feed us. Just thinking of the piss calms and the gooyducs make my mouth water.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  12. #12
    Member John_Pennell's Avatar
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    Default Guns for me

    We went for the first time in May. Had one shovel and one gun. Nobody could get a clam with the shovel w/out breaking it (the clam, not the shovel). Everybody could get them with the gun. We had six of us spotting dimples and passing off the one gun. We used the shovel to stir the fire later.
    Last edited by John_Pennell; 06-06-2008 at 17:19. Reason: spelling

  13. #13
    Supporting Member AFHunter's Avatar
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    Default Broken clams

    We broke about 15 clams on our first day. Rookie mistake I say. the second day I moved the gun down slower. As soon as I felt/heard the gun hit anything hard I just backed off and went on to another dimple. No use in busting em up. The second day we broke 4 clams. One digging by hand, one I stepped on and the other two were actually broke by the gun.


    One thing I did notice was a-lot of folks were just throwing broken clams and smaller clams on the beach. I know the regs say to keep the first 60. Where are the fish cops when you need em?

  14. #14
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default If you can..

    ..hear or feel the gun hit the clam - then you already hit the clam and 90% of the time it the shell is broken. Pulling the gun up and moving on has the same end result as those who threw the broken clam back in the hole! End result is dead clam. The broken ones eat just fine - just take a little more cleaning.

  15. #15

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    Gun is by far the easiest. I got good with the shovel, but it takes twice as long. With the gun I found if you start with the dimple off center with the largest area off the circle sea side I broke 0 clams. I broke the first three with the shovel then started digging 3 to 4 inches seaward from the clam and parallel to the sea and don't think I broke another till switching full time to the gun. We took about 50 very large clams on Saturday in an hour or so as first timers. Cleaning, my son understood why I quit so early.

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  17. #17
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default Here's a little tutorial....

    Quote Originally Posted by John_Pennell View Post
    We went for the first time in May. Had one shovel and one gun. Nobody could get a clam with the shovel w/out breaking it (the clam, not the shovel). Everybody could get them with the gun. We had six of us spotting dimples and passing off the one gun. We used the shovel to stir the fire later.
    Click on the link for a tutorial on diggin' razors with a shovel. Nothing like hand-to-neck combat with a brainless invertebrate.

    http://www.ifish.net/board/showthread.php?t=107449
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  18. #18

    Default shovel or gun

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Gray View Post
    Great pics. What do most of you all prefer, the shovel or the tube when getting the clams?
    I keep telling myself each year I'm going down there do it.
    I've beeen clamming for 25 years. I was taught by a friend who did it commercially. A shovel is much faster than a gun and easier on the back. dig at waters edge just as the dimples are showing. Just use the shovel to break the surface tension of the mud and grab the clam, dont dig out the clam with the shovel.takes 2 seconds per clam. I always limit out in about an hour.

  19. #19
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akspecialus View Post
    I've beeen clamming for 25 years. I was taught by a friend who did it commercially. A shovel is much faster than a gun and easier on the back. dig at waters edge just as the dimples are showing. Just use the shovel to break the surface tension of the mud and grab the clam, dont dig out the clam with the shovel.takes 2 seconds per clam. I always limit out in about an hour.
    You are fast. So me the ways Master Clammer
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  20. #20

    Default fun

    Can't wait to get out there----it's been a really long time and I needed the refresher course from that link Doc. When cleaning them, you soak them in salt water to get them to open up a bit?

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