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Thread: fresh water clams

  1. #1
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    Default fresh water clams

    does anybody know if its ok to eat the fresh water clams found here in alaska? last summer on a tributary of the porcupin river i found ALOT of really big clams....are they ok to eat? i noticed the bears had been eatin them but bein so far out i didnt try none in case they made me sick......

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    I have always wondered that myself. Only seen them in lakes in the interior never any streams or rivers. Caught some huge ones one time while trying to retrieve a lost fishing pole.

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    Default Depends.....

    From what I understand they are actually a species of mussel. I would be a little hesitant to eat them though. They can live a fairly long time (20-40 yrs) and are bioaccumulators so the old ones have been concentrating all the junk in the water for a long time. Depending on the water I imagine they could be pretty high in metals like mercury.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBoater View Post
    From what I understand they are actually a species of mussel. I would be a little hesitant to eat them though. They can live a fairly long time (20-40 yrs) and are bioaccumulators so the old ones have been concentrating all the junk in the water for a long time. Depending on the water I imagine they could be pretty high in metals like mercury.
    20 some years ago while Diving in valley lakes i pulled a few buckets out and wondered the same the.... we took them over to be tested (extension service?) and were told we really should,t try to eat them... not sure about interior or ones in moving waters... have a few tested... is all i can say..
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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I've eaten them out of lakes in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Not much flavor, but not bad eating.

    The state doesn't test fresh water muscles or have any data on them, so you are on your own.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Easy to pick...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    I've eaten them out of lakes in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Not much flavor, but not bad eating.

    The state doesn't test fresh water muscles or have any data on them, so you are on your own.
    ... but as Paul said, very bland compared to saltwater bivalves. Might be better if boiled in salted water. The muskrats sure love them.

  7. #7

    Default Toxic Sieve

    I have ate them but only when we where so far removed from and human ablity to add toxin to the water. Motor boat, airplane or more than 1 cabin for example. They feed on anything that passed thru them.
    But like it's been said not very tasty anyway, if you had to survive sure.
    Would thing that a warm water lake would only magnify natural toxins simular to red tide growth?

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    I asked a fisheries bio about them a couple of years ago. They do not recommend eating them since they bio accumulate contaminents better than salt water shellfish. He also stated that they are horrible tasting according to the few folks he knew that studied them and tried to eat them after collecting samples.

    However, through out the pacific northwest fresh water shellfish are a common food resource and are regulated.

    Each time I go duck hunting near Jim creek I consider bringing a clam rake, but then remember I don't like to eat clams.

    Cheney lake is starting to fill up with them now as well. 5 years ago there were none to be seen now the shoreline is littered with clam shells.

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    I've eaten them out of lakes in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. Not much flavor, but not bad eating.

    The state doesn't test fresh water muscles or have any data on them, so you are on your own.
    Done the same as well, flavor was fine and I never got ill from them. The otters and such eat them by the bushel, so I figured odds were good that they would do me no harm.

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    Member big_dog60's Avatar
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    I know people do eat them. My brother eats them he says they are bland but don't taste bad if cleaned properly.

    He said he collected them and kept them alive in a bucket. Then sprinkled corn meal in the bucket. Apperintly the clams spit mud out when you do this. They cleaned out the bucket and filled it with clean water and repeated till the clams stopped spitting mud.

    My brother seems to think they are safer then the salt water type. Though I don't know the basis for that.

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