Clamming (mussel) regulations
The word "clam" is a general legal definition used in Wisconsin's clamming law that refers to freshwater mussels.
This Web page is a summary of Wisconsin's clamming statutes and administrative rules. Refer to Section 29.537, Wis. Stat., and Chapter NR 24, Wis. Admin. Code for the specific law and regulations that govern commercial and noncommercial clamming in Wisconsin.
Also please refer to Section 29.604, Wis. Stat., and Chapter NR 27, Wis. Admin. Code for requirements pertaining to threatened and endangered species.
Commercial clamming - closed
All Wisconsin waters are closed to commercial clamming.
Personal clamming and pearl hunting
It is illegal to harvest live clams from the inland waters of the state. Live clams that are not threatened or endangered species may be harvested year-round from the boundary and outlying waters except for the Wisconsin-Minnesota boundary waters of the St. Croix River, where no harvest is allowed. Under current rules, a person may take dead shells (except shells from threatened or endangered species) on all public Wisconsin waters except that collection of even dead shells is prohibited in all waters within the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway.
Threatened or endangered mussel species
It is illegal to remove threatened or endangered clams from any Wisconsin water.
The following mussel species are protected and may not be harvested. The DNR will inform the public of any changes as they occur. Penalties for taking, possessing, transporting or selling threatened or endangered species are more severe than those of other mussel species. If you are in doubt, leave the shell where you found it.
State endangered species
- Higgins' Eye Pearly Mussel
- Yellow Sandshell
- Slough Sandshell
- Spectacle Case
- Purple Wartyback
- Elephant Ear
- Ebony Shell
- Rainbow Shell
- Winged Maple Leaf