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 artwork, as well as the story that accompanied it in the October 1953 issue of Master Detective magazine, sensationalized and fictionalized an actual murder in Anchorage in 1919. The terrified woman in the image is supposed to represent Marie Lavor.
A nexus of lives and lies: The William Dempsey story — Part 1

William Dempsey and two other men slipped away from the rest of the prison road gang on fog-enshrouded McNeil Island, Washington, on Jan. 30, 1940

File
Minister’s Message: Reorienting yourself to pray throughout the day

No doubt, one of the most remarkable gifts God gives to communicate with his creation is the gift of prayer

The Christ Lutheran Church is seen on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Musicians bring ‘golden age of guitar’ to Performing Arts Society

Armin Abdihodžic and Thomas Tallant to play concert Saturday

Storm Reid plays June Allen in “Missing,” a screenlife film that takes place entirely on the screens of multiple devices, including a laptop and an iPhone. (Photo courtesy Sony Pictures)
On The Screen: ‘Missing’ is twisty, modern, great

I knew “Missing” was something special early on

Puff pastry desserts are sprinkled with sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Puff pastry made simple

I often shop at thrift stores. Mostly for cost, but also out… Continue reading

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Would I do it again?

I ran across some 20-some year-old journal notes rambling on about a 268-foot dive I took

A copy of Prince Harry’s “Spare” sits on a desk in the Peninsula Clarion office on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Prince Harry gets candid about ‘gilded cage’ in new memoir

“Spare” undoubtedly succeeds in humanizing Harry

The cast of “Tarzan” rides the Triumvirate Theatre float during the Independence Day parade in downtown Kenai, Alaska on Monday, July 4, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Triumvirate swings into the year with ‘Tarzan’, Dr. Seuss and fishy parody

The next local showing of the Triumvirate Theatre is fast approaching with a Feb. 10 premiere of “Seussical”

This vegan kimchi mandu uses crumbled extra-firm tofu as the protein. (Photo by Tressa Dale / Peninsula Clarion)
Meditating on the new year with kimchi mandu

Artfully folding dumplings evokes the peace and thoughtful calm of the Year of the Rabbit

Most Read