Home Drifting Easy - Fishing Tips How and where to clam!
How and where to clam!

“When is clamming season? Where can we go and how do we do it?”

There is no actual “season” for clamming. One can clam any time of year,
even in the winter. Clams may be a little deeper on a cold winter day, but
they are still there.

“Where can I go?”

If you have access to a boat you have it made. If you have a boat in Indian
River there are plenty of clams. Clamming on and next to the sandy bar near
South Shore Marina is a good place to go. Just offshore of Holt’s Landing
State Park is another great place.

In the Ocean City bay, the clamming is very good on the sand bar just
offshore of Bahia Marina at 22nd Street. Many vacationers rent a boat for a
couple of hours and clam there.
The large sand bar just North of the Route 50 Bridge holds lots of clams as
well. They aren’t on the north end of the island though. Most of the clams
are on the southwest section of that bar. Stay just offshore of the bird
sanctuary signs. Some anglers call this “Bird Island.” If you have a larger
boat it is best to come around to the island from the East channel. It is 4
or 5 feet right next to the southern most end of the green island. Come
around the west side of it and head towards the sand bar. Anchor anywhere in
there, hop overboard, and walk to towards the sandy bar. There are clams all
in there if you want to start raking as soon as your feet hit the bottom!

There are clams on the sand bar just offshore of Hooper’s Crab House just
North of the Route 50 Bridge. There’s not as many as on the other islands,
but it is a quick hop, skip, jump for the boats docked at Hooper’s.

Clams are abundant in the bay behind Assateague as well. Anywhere around the
big islands offshore and west of buoy #10 and buoy #13 are clams. There aren’t
many clams on the bar just east of #10 however. Anywhere south of the
Verrazano Bridge that you can anchor up, jump out of the boat, and start
clamming will get you some clams. Many clammers go just south and west of
the Bridge and clam there. Offshore of the Old Ferry Landing Road (National
Park of Assateague) is good for clamming. There’s no sand bar to walk on

“We don’t have a boat nor do we want to rent one. Where can we go?”

As Ocean City area grows there is less and less assess to the bay for
vacationers without a boat. Anywhere you can walk across a marsh and jump in
the water will work, but be careful where you walk. If you are in an
unfamiliar area be sure to wear tennis shoes and I would not advise clamming
in unfamiliar areas for vacationers that do not know how to swim! Below
are the public areas available:

Public Clamming Areas

- Behind Convention Hall at 41st Street.

- National Park at Assateague Island (There are two clamming areas
Inside the National Park- the signs have pictures of little clams on them!)
It costs $10 to get into the National Park.

- State Park of Assateague Island. Park in the parking lot on the west
side of the Bridge going into Assateague and walk over the Bridge and clam
on the east side (Sorry, there’s no parking on the east side.

- Holt’s Landing in the Delaware Seashore State Park. Go West on Route
26 and go through Ocean View and Millville. The next town is Clarksville.
Follow the signs for Holt’s Landing.

- Indian River. Park on the side of the road on the South side of the
Indian River Bridge and walk across the marsh. Good clamming, but quite a

- Cape Henelopen. Part of the Delaware Seashore State Park.

If you are staying in some of the Park areas such as the Indian River
Campground, Eagle’s Nest Campground, or Frontier Town Campground you can
simply walk out into the shallow water areas there and clam. Ask at the
Park Offices where the safe water is and where the deeper channels are
located. If you are a member of the VFW in Delaware, people clam behind the
building off Rt. 26 BUT a deep channel is close by, so you need to be
familiar with that bay area before clamming around there!

“How do you clam?”

It’s quite easy actually. Buy or rent a long handled clam
rake. It’s sort of like a garden rake and dig in the sandy or muddy bottom
of the bay until you find clams. Where there is one there is usually more.
Clams are not real deep. In the summer they are usually no more than an inch
below the surface of the bay floor. One technique I use is to drag the rake
along behind me until I hear a “clink” of something in the mud. I then stop
and dig it up and see if it’s a clam. If it is, I “work” that area digging
here and there around the same spot to see if there are more.

Some experienced clammers do a technique called “signing.” To
do this you need to be in shallow enough water to see the bottom. Look for
holes in the mud or sand that look like “keyholes.” Round holes are
usually razor clams or worms. “Keyholes” are actually made from the tongue
of the clam. The clams look like they are breathing, but they are actually
filtering through the seawater for food. They generally do this when the
tide just starts to come in. Sometimes the keyholes look like they are
“smoking.” This is actually the sand coming out of the hole as the clam
filters water.

If you are walking an area that is sandy on top and muddy
below, you can tell where a clam may be by simply seeing a dark spot. The
muddy spot is where the clam has earlier filtered seawater and has left a
“stain” of mud on the surface. Experiment with different looking holes and
spots until you find clams.

Clams move with the tide. They drop when they hit a ledge or
a change of bottom depth. This is often where you will find clams. Right on
an edge of bottom change. Just like flounder fishing except it’s shallower!
Sometimes you find clams right in the dry sand. This is really when you want
to look for holes!

There are many different kinds of clam rakes. My favorite is
the Down East clam rake as it is made in the USA, is forged instead of
pinned for a longer life and has sharp tongs. The sharper the tongs, the
easier it is to dig! You can buy clam rakes with a basket for finding small
clams, but if you can see the bottom, they aren’t necessary. You can buy
3-piece clam rakes for traveling which is quite convenient, but they are
made out of metal that can be cold on the hands in cold weather! The wooden
handles are more comfortable to use, but they are one piece!

“Where do you put the clams while wading in the water?”

You can put them in a submerged bushel basket, a 5-gallon
bucket with holes drilled in it, a nylon mesh beach bag, or a laundry
basket. You can also fashion a blowup or Styrofoam swim ring with some kind
of basket in the middle so it will float behind you as you clam. (Tie it to
you with a rope.) You can buy a neat thing called a Flo-Well Live Well that
is a nylon mesh bag with a drawstring and a Styrofoam ring sewed into it so
it floats. It is also fashioned with a sturdy rope so you can tie it to your
waist and tote it along behind you as you clam. I’ve had one of these for
over 12 years and it’s still good! I love it for clamming!

I always purge my clams for a few hours before cooking them.
Just put them in a bucket of fresh seawater or fresh water with some salt
added if you are home. This flushes the sand out of the meat if you caught
them on a running incoming tide.

Clamming is a lot of fun. Clam at low tide and be sure to
wear tennis shoes. Apply some sort of mosquito or fly repellent before
walking in shallow warm water. Crab larvae at certain times of year can get
under your skin and make you break out in bumps that are similar to
chiggers. I’ve had them and they are no fun. Any kind of bug spray seems to
solve this problem.

Good clamming…