Clammer Time

John Marble of Newport has chowder waiting at home for his haul of clams during extreme low tides last week.

Low tides bring diggers to the flats

NEWPORT — Some of the lowest tides of 2019 — plus fair weather and a calm surf — brought the clam diggers out in force last week. Hailing locally as well as from points distant, clammers grouped in favored areas on the bottom of Yaquina Bay, including a choice tidal flat just west of the Yaquina Bay Bridge. The minus tides, which peaked at -1.88 mid-week, allowed harvesters to limit out on gaper clams and other varieties while enjoying the singular experience of standing in a place that would be six feet under water within hours.

Tina Winter was elbows deep in a hole west of the bridge Thursday as sudden sweeps of rain drove less hearty — or more laden — clammers back to their vehicles.

“Most people are walking out of here with their limit,” said Winter, who drove over from Albany to join the harvest.

John Marble of Newport was in his fourth day of digging. A long-time resident of the central coast and avid clammer, he found himself giving pointers to diggers with less knowledge.

“Look for the water spout coming out of the divet,” he advised. “The bigger the spout, the bigger the clam.”

There are plenty of clams to be had, but be prepared to dig as far as three feet.

“The bigger ones are down deeper,” Marble said.

More advantageous tides are on the way around the July 4th holiday and August 1-2.

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