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Clamming Tide Tips


  • #1 Issue is The Oceans Tidal Surge (>10 Feet) Don’t Go!
  • Number Two is a Low Tide, But if The Surge is 10 Feet or More it Doesn’t Matter.
  • Early season (March thru May) are better for razor clamming then late season.
  • Good weather can also effect feeding, and shows.
  • Tides in early morning are better then late afternoon.
  • A full moon can increase the number of clams feeding (as seen in tide books).
  • 40,000 people on the beach the night before has a negative impact on shows.
  • The quality of the ocean water can effect how many are feeding.
  • Even El Nino~… etc., etc.

Tidal Surge

For Clamming Tide Tips a low tide is key but I believe the most important thing is the Ocean Tidal Surge; because, a poor surf can dramatically effect shows. Ocean swales are measured in both feet and how many seconds there are between waves (click button below for surge info.). The higher the wave, and more often they hit the surf, will make clams dig deep for cover.

Ocean swales at 4 feet or less, with a wave frequency of 15 seconds or more, are ideal. But as the wave height increases to 10 feet, clamming gets proportionately worse and can even become dangerous. If waves are under 10 feet, and at a minimum interval of 8 seconds or more, I’ll usually go. But I also consider all of the issues listed above. If the weather is bad, its not a very low tide, its a night-time tide, in late fall, I generally stay home unless it dips below at least 8 feet. There are many options on the web to check tidal surf. So, if you want to be a pro, check it before you go.

My Best Advice About Tides

When in in doubt, just go! Yes the perfect -2.1 tide, with waves of <3 feet, and >18 seconds apart, shows great promise; and I’m sure if you were in Las Vegas you would always take those odds for a great day. Nevertheless, the truth is sometimes even with a -2.1 tide the clams just are not showing.

I once took my family for an “all-boys weekend clamming trip.” We were about twenty-minutes outside of Seaside when someone asked what the tide was, and I told them it was a 0.1 tide, not a minus tide; boy did I catch some hell! Everyone could not believe I would schedule this trip on a non-minus tide day. But I knew there were many other factors in our favor. The next morning we all limited out in twenty minutes, I was not surprised because all the other more subjective factors were in place.

Clamming Tide at Ocean Shores Copalis Beach
Nighttime Razor Clamming, Ocean Shores, Copalis Beach, WA.

There are many factors about tides to consider. So, you have to think like you’re a clam! Would you be more likely to feed on a crappy day, with a rough surf, after being trampled on by 40k people the night before? Or a day with perfect conditions when the tide isn’t as low? There is nothing better than a low-tide, but remember there are other factors; the most important being — be two hours early, take your time and be patient. Sometimes in the last twenty minutes after the tide changes, I’ll limit out.