They are called the king of clams for a reason. When they are eaten raw and fresh from the sea they have an almost crunchy texture and have a briny and slightly sweet flavour. These big beauties are the laughing stock of the sea, but in a twist of logic go for $60/lb in China. If you live in BC and haven’t tried it yet, you must, it’s a lovely local clam that claims the title of the largest clam in the world. And, you can harvest some yourself with a LOT of elbow grease as long as you’re not afraid of getting muddy.
Where to go: Find a muddy/sandy beach and look for quarter sized holes in the sand. Deep Bay is in Baynes Sound is a good starting point or near Comox, BC. Otherwise, beaches around Nanaimo or the north side of Gabriola Island. There is a very useful shellfish harvesting map by the department of fisheries that will show you all of the areas that you area allowed to harvest. You need a salt water fishing license as well ($22 for an annual).
Timing: Under a 3 ft low tide is best (after a full moon is a good bet), in other words, really low tide. You can use apps like Navionics (boating app) to check for tide heights in different areas or just look up tide charts for your area.
How to harvest: Get yourself a big bucket and some rubber gloves. Once you find a siphon hole you have to dig straight down (about a 1ft diameter). You may have to dig about a meter depending on the age of the clam (they can live to over 100 years and the older they are the deeper they sit in the mud). Then, dig all around the geoduck to loosen it out of the sand. Once you dig one up put it in a bucket of sea water for 4 hours to purge sand.
Other clams: For those of you looking to find an easier mark (less digging); littleneck, manila and butter clams can be harvested recreational shellfish reserves on Vancouver Island which make a fun weekend trip. Bring a bucket, a small shovel, some rubber gloves and a rake to help you dig (most of the clams can be found in the first foot of sand) More info here.
PSP and Sanitary conditions: It’s super important to check the DFO maps for Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning and sanitary closures before you dig. They test the waters to make sure the shellfish area is safe as a person can die if they eat contaminated shellfish and note that cooking the shellfish doesn’t destroy the toxins.