|Clam Gulch, as the name implies, is famous for the hundreds of thousands of razor clams harvested annually from the sandy beaches adjacent to the State Recreation Area.
Situated on the bluffs overlooking scenic Cook Inlet, the recreation area offers visitors a panoramic view of the Aleutian Mountain Range and its three tallest peaks - Mount Iliamna, Mount Redoubt and Mount Spurr.
Wildlife in the area includes moose, bald eagles, gulls and many small birds and mammals. A wide variety of wild flowers may also be found within the recreation area, including the lupine, Jacob's ladder, wild geranium and the prickly rose.
About Razor Clams
The razor clam, a filter feeder that relies on plankton for food, is found on sandy tidal beaches from the Bering Sea to Southern California. However, there are only eight known major concentrations of clams on the Pacific Coast, with four of those in Alaska. The beaches from Clam Gulch to Ninilchik are the most popular razor clam beaches in the state.
The life cycle of razor clams is simple and unique. Razor clams usually reproduce first at age four or five and live about 14 to 18 years. Reproduction is triggered when Cook Inlet waters reach a temperature of about 55 degrees F, usually between late July and early August. Eggs and sperm are released simultaneously into the surf, where fertilization occurs randomly. Although this method of reproduction is not very efficient, the female clam compensates by releasing an estimated five to fifteen million eggs.
After floating in the larval stage for four to six weeks, the clams form a small shell and settle into the sandy tidal beach. The clams are ready for harvest in about four years.
Clams may be dug during any low tide, but a tide of minus two feet or lower is recommended for best results. Consult a tide book for times of minus tides.
To locate razor clams look for small round dimples or holes on the surface of the sand. Once a dimple has been located use a clam shovel to dig a small hole about six inches from the dimple and search through the sand until you find the clam. Be careful when handling the clams as they are "razor" sharp. State law requires that all clams dug be kept regardless of size and condition. Anyone 16 years or older must have a valid Alaska sport fishing license to dig clams. Contact the Department of Fish and Game for the daily limit of clams per person. Click here to access their web site.
For more information on razor clams contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Soldotna at (907)262-9368.