A father and son team from Chugia work together to find razor clams.

A father and son team from Chugia work together to find razor clams.

Clam Gulch

When people on the shore of Cook Inlet talk about “razors” they may be referring to Schick or Gillette, or they might be talking about the plentiful population of Pacific razor clams found in the coastline’s muddy tide plain.

This sort of razor can be found in clusters up and down the west coast of North America — in Oregon and Washington, British Columbia, and of course on the Kenai
Peninsula, which supports Alaska’s largest sport and personal use razor clam fishery. Their presence gives rise to the popular and accessible past-time of clamming.

Gathering these tasty clams requires a sport fishing license, a clam shovel, waterproof boots, a bucket, and a willingness to get covered in mud.

After gathering your supplies, check a tide book for the next minus tide, and head to the beaches of Clam Gulch.

Located 20 miles south of Soldotna on the Sterling Highway, the town of Clam Gulch is home to Clam Gulch State Recreation Area. Prospective clammers can take advantage of the recreation area’s day-use parking, overnight camping, and access road that allows four-wheel drive or all-terrain vehicles on to the beach. For more information on camping at Clam Gulch, see our park guide.

Two-wheel drive vehicles should never be taken onto any Alaskan beach, and all vehicles should stay well above the tide line.

While clams can be legally harvested throughout the year, the prime season is April through September. Clams dug during their July and August spawning period are plumper — and considered to be weaker-tasting — than early summer clams. A tide of minus 2.0 or less provides the best access to clam beds. Razor clams can be found beneath the dimples they leave in the surface of the sand, created by the withdrawal of the clam’s neck. Digging three to six inches below the dimple will reveal the clam. Quick digging is crucial, since the clam will use its foot to pull itself deeper into the sand. Before grabbing the clam from the mud, remember their shells can be sharp.

If a clam’s shell is broken during digging, its meat will still be tasty. Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game, requires diggers to retain all razor clams.

Check the regs at bit.ly/Clamming.

Clam Gulch

More in Life

This photo of Frenchy with a freshly killed black bear was taken on the Kenai Peninsula in the early 1900s. (Photo courtesy of the Viani Family Collection)
Unraveling the story of Frenchy, Part 1

The stories were full of high adventure — whaling, mining, polar bear hunting, extensive travel, and the accumulation of wealth

Seeing God’s hand in this grand and glorious creation

The same God of creation is the God that made me and you with the same thoughtfulness of design, purpose and intention

Chewy and sweet the macaroons are done in 30 minutes flat. (Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Sophisticated, simplified

When macarons are too complicated, make these delicious, simple macaroons

Michael S. Lockett / capital city weekly
Gigi Monroe welcomes guests to Glitz at Centennial Hall, a major annual drag event celebrated every Pride Month, on June 18.
Packed houses, back to back: GLITZ a roaring success

Sold-out sets and heavy-hitting headliners

Michael Armstrong / Homer News 
Music lovers dance to Nervis Rex at the KBBI Concert on the Lawn on July 28, 2012, at Karen Hornaday Park in Homer.
Concert on the Lawn returns

COTL line up includes The English Bay Band, a group that played in 1980

Marcia and Mary Alice Grainge pose in 1980 with a pair of caribou antlers they found in 1972. The sisters dug the antlers from deep snow and detached them from a dead caribou. (Photo provided by Marcia Grainge King)
Fortune and misfortune on the Kenai — Part 2

In Kasilof, and on Kachemak Bay, in Seldovia and later in Unga, Petersen worked various jobs before being appointed deputy marshal in 1934

“Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement” was published in 2018 by Razorbill and Dutton, imprints of Penguin Random House LLC. (Image via amazon.com)
Off the Shelf: The power of personal voice

“A Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement” provides first-person accounts of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida

Most Read