Cook Inlet Fishery[dropcap]E[/dropcap]very year around Memorial Day weekend, The Cook Inlet experiences some of the lowest tides of the season. During a weekend of good minus tides the Cook Inlet personal use fishery suddenly become the 'Mecca' for clam diggers. There is not a required permit for this area but you do however, need a sport fishing license before taking part in the clamming frenzy.
When I moved to Alaska as a child, clamming was one of the first things we were taught how to do by a family friend. I will never forget getting up early to catch the tide on its way out, running around looking for dimples in the sand, and getting muddier that my mother had ever anticipated! I think that is why I still love it. We have always made clamming a no pressure family affair. Harvesting, cleaning and cooking together makes it that much sweeter!I would highly recommend checking the Fish and Game regulations of your desired fishery the day you plan to harvest any species in Alaska but, here are the limits as they stand today: Cook Inlet Personal Use Fishery
- Littlenecks and Butters: 80 per day, 80 in possession. Littleneck clams must be 1 ½ inch or wider; butter clams must be 2 ½ inches or wider.
- Pacific Razor Clams: 60 per day and 120 in possession with no size limit. You are required to retain all dug clams.
After you plan your tides you will need to make a gear list. There are many theories on the perfect clam shovel, just buy one, there is merit in both a clam shovel or a "ClamGun". This is mostly a matter of personal preference. The "gun" if for when you see a dimple you place it right over top of that spot and shimmy the cylinder deep into the sand and pull out a core. In theory the clam should be in the cored sand. The clam shovel is often a short shovel with a narrow blade and a rounded tip. With the shovel you find the dimpled sand and you put the tip just off of one side and shovel up the sand to find the clam. After a few tried you should have either way down pat!