Tillamook Bay Clamming

Harborview Inn Cockles

Regardless of the weather, clamming in Tillamook Bay is a fun activity for the whole family. It can be done year-round. It just requires a little planning and the right equipment, clothing, and a little knowledge.

First, there are 5 different varieties of Bay clams. Every once in a while, a razor clam gets lost in the Bay, but they’re primarily ocean clams.

 

Motel and RV park Garibaldi Oregon

Here’s a picture of the

different varieties.

 

 

 

The method for collecting all but the cockles is very much the same. I’ll go over those others in my next article. This one will focus on cockles, the simplest, easiest Bay clam to collect.

A license that covers clamming and crabbing can be obtained right here in the Harborview office for just $7/year for OR residents and just $11.50 for a 3 day non-resident license.

Cockles never get more than about 4 inches deep, making them the easiest clam to harvest. You can rent a clam rake (sort of an overgrown garden fork) for $5/day in our office, too.

Motel and RV park Garibaldi OregonThe Bay bottom right off the Harborview property is full of cockles. The Bay bottom is also full of ghost shrimp, which leave holes in the sand that look remarkably like those that cockles leave. These marks are called “shows” and it’s not necessary to know what a cockle show looks like, since you can’t pick it out of the thousands of ghost shrimp shows.

The solution: just keep raking. You want to try to stay away from the areas of sea grass since they’re what make this whole ecosystem work. Try raking around rocks or other imbedded objects. Directly under the 12th St. Pier is another prime spot.  You’ll feel the cockle on the end of your rake, like a rock stuck in the sand. You just rake them out and pop them in the bucket.

Cockles tend to clump together in groups, so if you find one, you’ll probably find others in close proximity.

Let’s talk clothing. As with most coastal adventures, the key is layers. Slogging around in the Bay bottom can at times be strenuous, so you want to be able remove a layer or two to get comfortable.  Rubber boots are the most sensible footwear.

Now you know everything I know about cockling (not sure that’s what you call it, but IT SOUNDS FUN).

©Harborview Inn & RV Park

 

NEXT INSTALLMENT: CLEANING & COOKING COCKLES

 

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