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Aug 28, 2013 09:43 AM

Rhode Island clamming question?

is it fun?
any clamming spots not to go to due to large amount of people?
what types of clams are there?
is it necessary to buy tools just to clam this one time?
how do you store them if you want to bring it back to New York?
is there a clamming etiquette?

is this statement valid for the whole state? "Non-resident saltwater shellfish licenses are valid for 14 days and cost $11."

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  1. Yes it's fun to forage for one's own supper. At least is it to me. The etiquette is don't get caught clamming without the proper permit. If you're not a resident, you'll find the permits prohibitively expensive for a one-time use, but not nearly as expensive as getting caught clamming without the permit. Boots aren't necessary if you don't mind standing in the muck. You will need a bucket of course. And a shellfish rake. Also a size ring so you don't take ones that are too small to be legal. Not sure what area you're inquiring about, but here on the Cape you can clam for soft shell clams (steamers), hard shell clams (littlenecks, cherrystones, quahogs, and sea clams) and sometimes razor clams. Beware that many areas are closed this time of year, and others may only be open for 1 day per week.

    1. I don't know about the Cape although they have some nice places. One warning in RI make sure you cook the shellfish unless its harvested in a farm. Too many places in RI have tainted shell fish.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Frank Terranova

        arent those locations closed off if they were tainted?

        1. re: woodside11377

          They usually are but I was told by a friend who was a Biologist and he said just cook them. Enuff said.

          1. re: Frank Terranova

            You can cook tainted shellfish to a "safe" condition?

            1. re: RIRider

              Some bacteria will die when cooked, but if it's truly tainted, like red tide for instance, no amount of cooking will kill it.

      2. We went a few weeks ago for the first time. We are RI residents so we did not need a permit. We went to Quonnie, near Charlestown. All of the equipment you need is at Benny's (at least the one in Westerly). We got water shoes which were inexpensive. We got rakes, a clamming basket and an inflatable donut to float the basket. We got quahogs. It was fun! Another popular spot that we will try some time is right as you are going over the bridge to go into Galilee. You can find out permit info online. It was sort of a big investment for one meal but I am sure we will do it again.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Alica

          how high did the water get up to? did you go during low tide?

          1. re: woodside11377

            We went at low tide. We could walk out very far and the water was just below my knees. Glad i had the water shoes because in areas it did get mucky, not everywhere. Water was clear. It was nice.

        2. For shellfish area closure info, check out

          Make sure any clams you harvest get on ice quickly and stay cold if you're going to try to transport them. Once you get home, try closing any that are open. If they don't close on their own, toss them. They're dead.

          Be respectful of any aquaculture grants. These guys have a hard enough time making a living without someone tampering with their animals.

          Also, be aware that a bed may be closed to shellfishing because of toxic chemicals in the mud or water. Bacteria may not be the problem and no amount of cooking will remove PCBs from a clam. Respect all postings.

          1. It's possible to find quahogs by singing Chubby Checker and doing the twist. It will take a while to get your fill. Won't work for steamers but you can dig where they spit at you.

            1 Reply
            1. re: trufflehound

              That is what alot of people were doing when we went. So really you do not need all of the equipment. I would wear the water shoes. It is mucky in areas.