🌊 Rhode Island Clamming: Season, Locations & Limits

Rhode Island boasts some of the best locations in the world to catch quahog clams. These delicious clams are both abundant and easy to harvest which makes clamming an extremely popular outdoor activity in the region. In this article we’ll go over some of the best locations in Rhode Island to harvest clams, when clamming season begins and some basics regarding licensing and the types of clams you’re likely to encounter.

Recommended Equipment

Clamming Shovel

Seymour Trenching Shovel
  • Length: 48″
  • Spade Width: 5″
  • Fiberglass handle.
  • Cushioned grip for improved comfort and stability.

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Clamming Gun

Murff’s Claminator Steel Clam Gun
  • Comes in 5 separate sizes.
  • Perfect for anyone 5′-6′ and up!
  • Stainless steel.
  • Barrel diameter: 5″

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Clamming Gloves

Glacier ‘Pro Angler’ Clamming Gloves
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
  • 100% waterproof.
  • Made of 2mm neoprene.
  • Fleece lining.
  • Sharkskin textured.

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Clamming Waders

TIDEWE Bootfoot Chest Waders
  • Sizes: 10 different sizes.
  • Chest-high waterproofing.
  • Very lightweight nylon construction.
  • H-back suspenders with quick release buckles.
  • Perfect for multi-purpose use.

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Clamming Basket

DII Stackable Metal Clam Bin
  • Size: 12″ x 12″ x 10″
  • Colors: White, Black & Bronze
  • Made of wired mesh.
  • Rust resistant.
  • FDA food safe.

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Clam Shucker

Vollrath Clam Shucker Machine
  • The Vollrath Oyster King Shucker Machine opens clams, oysters easily in a single stroke.
  • The blade is durable and efficient.
  • The machine comes with a 2-year warranty.
  • The handle has a rubber grip that makes the handling convenient.

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Rhode Island is famous for its hard-shell clams that the locals call quahogs. Clamming on Island is prohibited between sunset and sunrise. The season starts on September 31st and ends on May 31st. There are a size and daily uptake restriction and no locals or non-residents are allowed to use clams for any commercial purpose under any conditions.

The best time for clam digging in Rhode Island is an hour before the low tide. At this time, the clams are present just below the surface and you can easily catch them through raking or with the help of your feet or you can just dig them up. The easiest strategy is to look for holes, these holes are the result is siphoned that are extended by the clams to get their access to the water for their food. These holes indicate the presence of a clam; however all holes are not clam holes and can be dug by a warm or some other marine animal.

Types of Clams

In Rhode Island, the most famous and widely harvested type of clan is hard-shell clam or quahog. However, some other types of commonly found clams are found in Rhode Island are soft-shelled clams, surf clams, bay scallops, and mussels.

Shellfish Harvesting Water

In Rhode Island, the shellfish harvesting water is divided into three categories: Approved, Conditionally Approved and Prohibited. The Approved water is where the direct harvest of clams is allowed at any time. Conditionally approved water includes areas where the direct harvest is allowed except under certain conditions such as rainfall, low water quality, pollutants, natural calamity, etc. The Prohibited water is where the direct harvest of clams is not allowed under any condition.

Best Spots for Clamming

Clamming is especially popular during the summer months. Some of the most popular spots to go clamming in Rhode Island are:

Conimicut Point, Warwick

This place is famous for its quahogs, but it also offers a spectacular view of the Conimicut lighthouse and Nyatt lighthouse. This place has readily available shellfish, amazing photography and a decent spot for a picnic.

Point Judith Pond, Narragansett

This spot is the most popular for clamming in Rhode Island. It’s an ideal place for kids, adults, and even for your pet. It is situated on the Galilee escape Road in Galilee. This place is famous for its quahogs and steamers that are found in abundance here.

Patience Island

The Patience Island is a 207-acre Island. The quahogs are in abundance in the sandy sediments of the Island. Camping is not allowed on this Island due to the high population of ticks.

Colt Park, Bristol

This spot is called the “gem” of the Park Systems in Rhode Island. This is another place famous for its quahogs. The water here falls under the conditionally approved category of shellfish water and the harvesting is allowed only when the environmental conditions are favorable. The park is beautiful and an ideal spot for a picnic with family even without clam digging.

Barrington Beach

Barrington beach is another ideal place for quahog harvesting. It is a four-acre beach great for family and kids. However, the parking is only allowed with parking passes.

Ninigret Pond, Charlestown

This is the second most famous spot for shellfishing. The residents do not require any license for harvesting whereas, non-residents cannot harvest clam or enjoy shell fishing here without a license. Quahogs, steamers, and mussels are available here all year long.

Size and Daily Possession Limits

There is certain restriction imposed by the government on the minimum size and daily possession limit to safeguard this valuable natural resource.

  • The quahogs or hard-shell clams must have hinges larger than 1” inch and the daily possession limit is 1 peck per person for locals and for non-residents half a peck per person.
  • The soft-shelled clams must be 2” inches in length and the possession limit is the same as quahogs.
  • The surf-clams must be 5” inches in length.
  • Likewise, the bay scallops can only be harvested if there is no seed possession.

License

The residents do not need any license for the recreational harvesting of clams whereas, the non-residents must apply for a license to enjoy recreational clamming. The non-residents license is valid for 14 days only and is issued by the Department of Environmental Division of Marine Fisheries. The daily uptake restriction for each non-resident is a half peck per day. Also, commercial operators and non-residents property owner who line in Rhode Island less than six months requires a license.

Economic Impact of Shell Fishing

The Rhode Island fisheries and Seafood has a more significant impact on the state’s economy that any other natural resource sector. The Rhode Island fisheries and Seafood has a more significant impact on the state’s economy that any other natural resource sector. A recent survey suggested that fisheries and Seafood Sector contributes $538.3 million to the economy and provides 4,381 jobs.