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How to Razor Clam (pdf)

Fishing in Oregon - How to Razor Clam

Kids under 12 do not need a license

A shellfish license for clamming is required for individuals 12 and older. 

Resident annual licenses and nonresident 3-day licenses are available at local ODFW offices and at many sporting goods or hardware stores. 

Please review the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for all regulations before you head out.

Be in the right place

The 18 mile stretch of Clatsop beaches account for 95% of Oregon’s razor clam harvest. The razor clam population in this area is much more dense than any other area in the state. Other areas include Indian Beach (Cannon Beach); Cannon Beach; Short Sands (North of Manzanita); Cape Meares Beach (Tillamook); Agate Beach (North of Newport); North Beach and South Beach (Newport); Waldport Beach; North Umpqua Spit (Winchester Bay); North Spit (Coos Bay); Whiskey Run (Bandon); and Meyers Creek Beach (Gold Beach).

Be there at the right time

The lower the tide, the more area will be available. Minus tides are best, plan on being there two hours before peak low tide. When swells are lower clams are likely to be closer to the surface, and therefore easier to detect and dig.

A Razor Clam Show

A Razor Clam Show
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Find a clam

A razor clams neck near the surface of the beach produces a distinct “show”. Shows are found most commonly by one of two methods:

1. Looking for small round dimples in dry sand.
2. Pounding a shovel handle in receding surf.

Occasionally, if you’re lucky and watching carefully you can pick them out as they are feeding. Commonly known as “necking” this behavior causes very small “V” shaped breaks in the receding surf and clams can be easily pinpointed.

What to use

Clam guns are easy to use and relatively inexpensive. Shovels are also inexpensive and less harmful to the clams.

Start digging

Razor clams dig fast so you must dig quickly, but dig carefully as they are named “razors” for a good reason.


Bay Clams
Clam Digging
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

First 15 clams must be retained regardless of size or condition

Clatsop County beaches north of Tillamook Head closed to razor clams July 15 -September 30.

Razor clams may be taken by hand, shovel, or cylindrical gun or tube. The opening of the gun/ tube must be either circular or elliptical with the circular gun/tube opening having a minimum outside diameter of 4 inches and the elliptical gun/tube opening having a minimum outside diameter dimension of 4 inches long and 3 inches wide.

Unlawful to remove clams from the shell before leaving the harvest area.

Each digger 14 years and older must have a shellfish license, which can be purchased at sporting goods and hardware stores. They must have their own container and dig their own clams, and may not possess more than one limit of clams while in the harvest area except under a Disabled Clam Digging Permit.

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