Our Alaska clam digging adventures are fun for the entire family and can be enjoyed by kids of all ages. Tidal pools allow kid to explore and treasure hunt while adults fill buckets of delicious razor clams.
Cook Inlet is known for having a fantastic habitat for many different types of clams. It’s also known for having one of the largest tidal movements in the world reaching 30 feet in total height swing in just 6 hours. During peaks of very low negative tides miles upon miles of beach, normally several feet underwater, get exposed teeming with clams of all sorts. The most abundant are razor clams but you’ll also find populations of Butter Clams, Pink Clams, Little Neck Clams, and Heart Cockle Clams.
Razor clams are large flavorful clams often fried in breaded strips or diced into clam chowder. Digging for these clams is a great family event and great for kids of all ages.
Clam populations exist on both east and west sides of Cook Inlet. Those populations on the east side near Ninilchik, Clam Gulch, and Homer are easily reached by car. However, the west side beaches are only accessed by boat or by a plane capable of landing on the exposed beaches. Since around 2016 the east side beaches have experienced a population collapse for unknown reasons and those beaches have been closed to all clamming activity by emergency order from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Recently, Alaska Department of Fish and Game extended those closures to 2021 as well.
The west side of Cook Inlet beaches, near Polly Creek, having been largely untouched for decades have an incredibly large population of very mature clams. They are often so thick you can spend the entire day in one little area. The beaches on the west side of Cook Inlet are so thick and access is so limited that currently there are no limits on the amount you can harvest. You are only limited by the amount of time you have before the tide covers them back up again.
Our Alaska clam digging adventures start either in the town of Ninilchik or Homer. Most of these trips leave out of Ninilchik and travel about 35 miles across Cook Inlet to the beaches on the west side of Cook Inlet. The ocean condition can range anywhere from mirror flat to 2-3 foot swells and often you’ll encounter many different types of water on the way across. The trip across can range from about 70 minutes to 90 minutes. Once we arrive we will anchor the boat in shallow water, provide you with your shovels and buckets and give you some instruction on how to spot and dig the clams.
This area is incredibly rich with clams. The clams are prolific all the way from Tuxedni Bay to Harriet Point.
While you begin hunting for clams the tide will still be going out and soon the boat will be resting comfortably out of the water and on the beach where it will remain until the tide comes back in and floats it once again. You will have around 3-4 hours to hunt for clams before we begin the return journey back across the inlet to Ninilchik.
Interested in joining us on one of these Alaska clam digging adventures? Check the dates above for 2021 and send us a note on our contact page or give us a call!
How do I book an Alaska clam digging adventure? That’ the easy part! Make sure to check out the dates above as we can only do these trips on large negative tides. Then fill out the contact form on our rates-and-reservations page or just give us a call.
Are there clams in Alaska? Yes! Digging for clams is a very popular recreational activity enjoyed by both and young. Alaska is home to many different species of clams. Razor clams from Alaska are considered a rare delicacy and are snapped up by restaurants on the West Coast, Canada, and many other places.
Where can you go clamming in Alaska? Clamming is a very fun activity available on lots of Alaska’s beaches. You can find razor clams, pink clams, littleneck clams from the Bering Sea all the way to the North of Cook Inlet. The beaches between Kasilof and Ninilchik on the Kenai Peninsula are the most popular but have been shut down from clamming for nearly 5 years due to a population collapse which is gradually improving.
What type of tide is best for clam digging? “Negative tides” are the best tides to go clam digging. Negative tides that are less than 0.0 MLLW and expose beach that is generally underwater where the clams live. The more negative the tide the more beach that will be exposed and for a longer duration allowing you to dig longer.
How deep are the clams? Clams can be anywhere from 6 inches to 1.5 feet or more below the surface of the beach. Additionally, razor clams can move surprisingly fast and they are digging themselves deeper the minute they feel you digging in the sand. A fair number of them manage to escape because they are so fast.
What type of equipment is need for Alaska clam digging adventures? A clam gun, clam shovel, and clam rake are all common tools depending upon what type of clam you are digging. The razor clams that we primarily target are harvested using either the clam gun or clam shovel – this comes down to personal preference. Having good clothing meant for getting wet and muddy is also always good. Fishing waders and boots make an excellent choice.
How long do clams last after digging? Clams can last up to 3 days after digging. By first immersing the clam in clean ocean salt-water for 4-6 hour after digging they will start to purge any residual sand. If kept damp and in the fridge (not submerged in water), unbroken clams can be stored for 1 or 2 days if necessary. As always it’s best to process as soon as practical.
Do Alaska clams have Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)? PSP has been found in several locations and several different species of shellfish (such as clams). The Alaska Department of Fish & Game regularly tests and certifies certain beaches as PSP-free and clamming should be limited to these beaches. The ONLY certified beaches in the state of Alaska are all in the Lower Cook Inlet / Kachemak Bay area, as follows: Polly Creek, Crescent River, Chugachik Island, Halibut Cove, Sadie Cove, Tutka Bay, Jackalof Bay, and Kasitsna Bay (McDonald Spit). Please see