Hard Clam

Hard Clams have a rough heavy, thick and strong shell that is a gray, tipped with brown or tan colors.

The inside of the shell is smooth and white, usually with a purple mark.

Hard Clam Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year-Round

A fishing license is required to harvest clams in waters of the State of Delaware.
Size Limit 1½ inch minimum
Daily Limit / Person 100/resident

Delaware Range Inland Bays
Abundance in Delaware Waters Abundant
General Habitat and Food Preferences Hard Clams prefer sandy bottoms where they stay buried 1 to 2 inches in the sand.

They are filter feeders, using a siphon to strain microscopic plants (algae) from the water while buried in the bottom.
Did You Know? Each size class of the Hard Clam has its own nickname:
• "Buttons" are less than 1½ inches
• "Littlenecks" are 1⅞ to 2⅛ inches
• "Topnecks" are 2⅛ to 2 ⅜ inches
• "Cherrystones" are 2 ⅜ to 3 ⅛ inches
• "Chowders" are greater than 3 ⅛ inches.
Common Lures and Baits Hard Clams are recreationally harvested in the Inland Bays by raking the bottom with a clam rake or feeling for the clams with a foot.
Typical Sizes Caught Hard Clams harvested by Delaware fishermen are generally in the 2 to 5 inch range.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Hard Clams are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament citation.
Delaware State Record Hard Clams are not currently eligible for an individual Delaware record.