Tip #53 A Stitch In TINE Can Save A FINE!
A recent news release announcement by the Department of Fish and Game in the Homer office indicates that enforcement of the size limits on Steamer (littleneck) clams and Butter Clams may be forthcoming. Many clam diggers harvesting steamers and butters are not aware of the SIZE LIMITS set for both species of clams for the Kachemak Bay area. This has resulted in far too many undersize clams being harvested from the KBay beaches and is a concern for managers of this fishery where small clams are necessary for replacing harvested adults and to provide the seed for future generations.
The daily bag limit for Steamer (littleneck) clams is 1000 per person with a minimum size of 1 1/2 Inches or greater across the widest part of the shell. For Butter Clams the daily bag limit is 700 clams per person with a minimum size of 2 1/2 Inches or greater across the widest part of the shell.
PENALTIES FOR ILLEGAL CLAM DIGGING & HARVESTING: The fine for clamming without a sport fishing license in possession is $200. Possession of undersized clams or over-limit of clams may result in a fine of $100 plus $2 per clam.
SOLUTION: (and what this tip is about) Most littleneck clam diggers use either a long handled 3 or 4 tine rack or the more common garden hand rack with 3 tines. Take your tape measure and measure the distance between the center tine of the hand rake and each of the outside tines. Using a little pressure, bend out or bend in each outside tine until the distance from the center tine to each outside tine is ONE and ONE HALF INCH. Now you have a built-in Steamer Clam measuring gauge. Hold the largest width of the clam shell to the gap between two tines and if the shell is at least as wide or wider then its a LEGAL littleneck clam.
Since the total width of the hand rack is THREE INCHES you can accurately guess what 2 1/2 inches would be when holding up a BUTTER CLAM shell across the three tines. Since the fines can be very stiff and ruin your day making sure you accurately measure your catch will head off a negative encounter with the Fish & Wildlife Protection officer.
A bucket of nice big butter clams are shown in the photo.PLEASE refer to PAGE 11 & 62 of the 2009 ADFG Sportfishing Regulations Booklet for Southcentral Alaska region for additional information or visit THIS LINK for the PDF pages you can read.
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