Rhode Island, We Love You. March 1, 2023

Summer in Rhode Island

One of my favorite things to do in Rhode Island over the summer is to dig clams by hand and foot. There are a number of places you can go—accessible by car or water—beaches, salt ponds, rivers, coves and inlets. Many are considered management areas. You can find information on the DEM website, which you should check before planning any trip as some locations shut down due to runoff, which effects the health of the habitat.

My favorite place is Sheep Pen Cove, between Patience and Prudence Islands in the middle of Narragansett Bay. This location is only accessible by boat. My wife and I own a 20-foot Key West center console. And we have lots of friends with boats too, so on any given Saturday or Sunday when the conditions and weather are right, we’ll meet in the cove, tie up together, crack beverages, float on rafts and take turns digging our hands and feet into the sand. Low tide is the best time to clam. Usually they’re huddled in close proximity, buried about 3 to 6 inches down. I love Littlenecks, the smallest and tenderest of the Quahogs.

You don’t need a license to clam, and you can harvest up to a peck (8 quarts) per person as long as none have less than a one-inch hinge width. We keep them fresh in our dry wells until we have enough to grill right there in the cove. We’ll draw butter and sometimes throw on some recently caught bluefish or striper fillets. Everyone brings something. Salads, snacks, bottles of rosé. If you don’t have a boat, hit me up. I’d be happy to welcome you aboard and share this experience with you!

-Nelson Taylor