I woke up this morning with an open schedule and a big need to get out and do something fishy. It has been years since I made my way to any of the beaches on Hood Canal to find steamer clams or oysters, and the realization came into my mind that today might just be the day!
My first step was to check the tides at Hood Canal and to my pleasant surprise, the lowest tide was in the early afternoon and a perfect minus 2′ tide. Next, I went on the WDFW shellfish page and searched out the open shellfish beaches that I used to go to. One Hood Canal public shellfish beach that we used to spend time at was Eagle Creek, in 2021 it is open year-round for Oysters, and just opened at the beginning of June for clam digging as well! I checked the online map to review what part of the beach was opened to public shellfish harvest, as there are many areas of the Hood Canal that are private shellfish beds. I checked the Health Department page to make sure that this beach’s shellfish are currently safe for harvest… good to go! So the road trip was locked in!
I arrived at Eagle Creek about an hour before low tide. And with so much of the public beach exposed to low tide, the oyster beds and those perfect gravel patches that Steamer Clams thrive in gave me a very positive vibe. This solo trip meant that I was going home with 40 clams and 18 shucked oysters, if I got all that was allowed. Digging for clams was easy, and the 40 clam limit came in no time. Most of the Native Littleneck and Manila Clams were smallish, but I had a clam gauge to guarantee I was only collecting those that were over the 1.5″ minimum size.
Once the clam limit was in the bag, I shifted over to shucking a limit of Oysters. I didn’t discriminate on size, and shucked everything from big to medium sized Pacific Oysters that were within a couple yards of my bucket seat.
It sure was great to get back out to Hood Canal and get in on such a unique experience for us in the Pacific Northwest! What a day! My goal is to make a few more trips out to the Hood Canal this summer, and spend time experiencing some of the many other public shellfish beaches that the area is known for. Next up is cooking up some fresh local shellfish dishes!