Pismo Clams are bivalves, which means they have two siphons and a two halfed shell.  These clams bury themselves a few inches below the wet sand using their digging foot.  The intake valve draws seawater into the body of the clam to capture diatoms, algae and plankton!  In 1947, Pismo Beach deemed itself the "Clam Capital of the World".  The Pismo Clam and the Pacific Razor Clam made up most of the catch by clammers. The largest Pismo Clam recorded in California came from Pismo Beach and was 7.37 inches across and estimated to be 26 years old.  An influx of clammers and sea otters (natural predators to the Pismo Clam) led to the depletion of the Pismo Clam population. Pismo clam populations fluctuate dramatically due to a variety of natural influences. 

A fragile and valuable resource, Pismo clams may be taken under the following regulations:

  • Clammers must possess a valid fishing license and an accurate (rigid) measuring device.
  • Pismo clams must measure at least 4 1/2" in length to be possessed.
  • Undersized Pismo clams must be immediately reburied, two inches deep, in the area where dug.
  • Bag limit is 10 Pismo clams.
  • Hours of clamming are 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset.

The Pacific Razor Clam can be taken at all times during the year, with a valid fishing licence.  There is a limit of 20 clams per person.  

Surf Fishing

Surf fishing is a popular activity along the shoreline here at Pismo Beach State Beach.  A valid fishing licence is required.  For information on licensing, species, size, and take limits, please visit California Fish and Wildlife at  The ocean can be dangerous and unpredictable.  Never turn your back on the waves and be aware of your surrounding at all times while fishing.  Sand bars are evershifting and strong ripcurrents are prevalent along this coastline. 

Freshwater Fishing

The Oceano Lagoon is located behind the Oceano Dunes Visitor Center and the Oceano Campground.  A valid fishing licence is required.  For information on licensing, species, size, and take limits, please visit California Fish and Wildlife at There is an ADA accesible fishing platform.