Tuesday, February 28

Went clamming last night with my good friend Ken. I
wanted to go to an island about 12 miles from town
where there are abundant steamer clams, but the
forecast was for high winds. So, I decided to try for
my first time “in town” with Ken, and experienced
local clammer.

When we arrived at the pull out to the beach trail,
Ken was worried that the 12 vehicles already there
would mean the beach would be picked clean. We got
out buckets, rake, shovel, lantern, and headlights and
headed for the 1/4 mile walk to the beach. When we
arrived, there were several lights twinkling in the
long tide flat. Ken led us to the water’s edge in the
part of the beach that was primarily sandy mud- pink
neck habitat. I was used to digging in a more gravel
substrate for steamer clams, so this was new to me.
Ken pointed at a pink tip sticking out of the mud, and
when he sent his shovel behind it, the tip
dissappeared. Ken dug down about 10 inches, picked up
the clam, and tossed it in the bucket. I saw one or
two myself, but Ken kept digging and pulling clams
while I found little. Then I watched and saw that it
wasn’t always the neck sticking out that drew Ken to
dig, but a particular shaped hole in the sand. I
studied the hole Ken showed me, and then starting
finding more on my own, although, like Ken, I
occasionally picked the wrong shaped hole and dug up
butter clams, which was not what we were looking for.

We filled the 5 gallon bucket about 3/4 full, washed
the clams in the gentle surf, put the clams in my
backpack, and headed to Ken’s truck. As we headed
home, individual snow flakes on the roadside twinkled
in the headlights. Ken was going to process the clams
to take to his family on a visit later this week.
Another lucky winter day to live here in Southeast Alaska.

Mark Stopha and Sara Hannan
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
F/V Dutch Master
Hook and Line Fresh, Frozen, and Smoked Wild Salmon
Salmon Pet Treats
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801

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