Wild Salmon Season Begins: Copper River Salmon

It’s that time of year! Starting in mid-May through September, fishing begins for the “crown jewels” of the salmon world. This season is awaited worldwide for its renowned wild King salmon, Sockeye, and Coho salmon.

According to the source copperriversalmon.org, yearly the salmon that have reached maturity return home to breed. These fish are highly sensitive to water temperature, but because of the extra fat the Copper River salmon carry, they’re able to travel colder waters sooner than the rest. This makes the Copper River salmon season the very first wild salmon run of the year. They migrate up the 300-mile turbulent Copper River, for spawning. Because the Copper River is so long and steep, gaining an average elevation of 12 feet per mile, these fish must use sufficient fat reserves to fuel their epic journey. You may be wondering how they navigate and know when to return home. Salmon have an incredible sense of smell, and they use the characteristics of their natal waters to navigate from the Pacific Ocean back to the exact rivers they came from. This extra high Omega-3 fat content gives the Sockeye its rich, moist, and delicious flavor, as well as outstanding health benefits.

COPPER RIVER SOCKEYE: Season runs through May, June, and July, and fish average 6 pounds. Also known as Red Salmon, it is robust and rich in flavor with a firm texture making it versatile in cooking methods. It is the most abundant species in the Copper River Delta, and many of these fish are allowed to be caught. A summer BBQ favorite!

COPPER RIVER COHO: Season runs through July, August, and September, and fish average 12 pounds. Features a mild flavor and delicate texture. These are the last to return to the Copper and are a fall favorite that pairs well with seasonal root veggies and mushrooms. This is the most affordable of the three.


Learn more about the individual-specific species here:


We will have wild salmon available by the weekend of May 20. Grab some and try one of these suggested recipes: