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UPDATE: Big Minus Tides on Oregon Coast Coming Up: Great Clamming, Maybe More Beach Access

Published 4/05/24 at 7:15 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Big Minus Tides on Oregon Coast Coming Up: Great Clamming, Maybe More Beach Access

(Seaside, Oregon) - UPDATES WITH SOME WARNINGS OF SNEAKER WAVES --- Some really low minus tides are coming up along the Oregon coast and it may mean extremely good access to some normally hidden places, but Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is touting the clamming possibilities. (Inside the Devil's Punchbowl - which could possibly happen with these low tides / Oregon Coast Beach Connection photo)

BE CAUTIOUS ON SAT AND SUN. LATEST: Moderate Threat of Sneaker Waves This Weekend Along Washington, Oregon Coast - Minus tides will be negated by sneaker wave dangers

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This coming weekend – April 5 and 6 – is seeing some great minus tides late in the afternoon, and ODFW said that's going to make for decent finds during daylight hours. However, some really big minus tides are coming to the coastline in the mornings, happening from April 9 – 12, depending on where you are. These will likely be even better for razor clamming or bay clamming of any kind, as well as finding new beach land.

“With the arrival of spring, bay clamming opportunities increase with early morning low tides,” ODW said. “As negative tides switch from night to daytime, clammers should use caution when visibility is low. Monitor the weather forecast and the swell and surf advisories before going out to make sure you can safely clam.”

The Seaside area is where the best razor clamming is to be had, with over 90 percent of the state's population of the yummy morsel found in Seaside up to the Washington coast border.

“Clatsop Beach clammers should expect a moderate abundance of razor clams 3 to 4 inches with a few larger ones available,” ODFW said. “Targeting the largest 'show,' greater than a nickel in diameter, will greatly increase the odds of harvesting a larger clam.”

ODFW said you should hit the beaches at least two hours before low tide to give yourself plenty of time for a good harvest. Any low tide that is negative is good for this, and April 5 sees a -0.13 minus tide in the Seaside area at just about 5 p.m. On April 6 it's -0.16 at 7 p.m.

Around Newport and around the central coast, minus tide schedules are similar.

Getting down to the southern Oregon coast at Brookings, tide tables from NOAA show April 5 with a -.45 tide at 4 p.m.

“Any low tide that is negative is sufficient to harvest clams on Clatsop Beach if the seas are less than 10 feet,” ODFW said. “With lots of smaller clams available, clammers need to remember to keep the first 15 they dig, regardless of size or condition.”

ODFW said other beaches with decent razor clam populations include Cannon Beach's Indian Beach, Cape Meares Beach next to Bayocean, Newport's Agate Beach area as well as South Beach and Waldport. Farther south, beaches include North Umpqua Spit (Winchester Bay); Bastendorff Beach and North Spit (Coos Bay); Whiskey Run (Bandon); and Meyers Creek Beach (Gold Beach).

Meyers Creek area, Gold Beach

Minus tides over -1 foot start happening on and off around April 8, with April 11 bringing -1.18 to Clatsop Beach at 9:22 a.m. On the central coast, look for that on April 9 at 7:30 a.m., and on the 11th and 12th around 9 a.m.

For Brookings, it's well over minus 1 foot on April 10 at 7:40 a.m., and on the 11th and 12th around 9 a.m.

These kinds of numbers will mean more access to some areas, like Oceanside and nearby Short Beach may have more parts of them available to play around, as well as Arch Cape or even the Devil's Punchbowl near Depoe Bay.

On the south coast, you may get much farther out towards Bandon's other sea stacks or see more of Gregory Point near Cape Arago.

This does not guarantee all that access, however: make sure you look at these places carefully from a distance to see if the tides are coming back in or even allowing this kind of exploration in the first place.

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Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium

Photo courtesy Seaside Aquarium

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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