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Wild Copper River Salmon

The mighty Copper River is one of the swiftest and most rugged rivers in Alaska. Twisting and cutting deeply through the Wrangell and Chugach mountains, it's 300 mile stretch of pristine glacier-fed waters are riddled by hundreds of rapids.

Copper River sockeye salmonEvery May, around the 15th, the first salmon of the season return to the rivers and streams of Alaska with the Copper River being one of the first. King, Sockeye, and Silver salmon embark on their long journeys up the 'Copper to spawn and lay their eggs. As salmon start their  journey up the river and prepare to spawn, their feeding habits diminish. Because the Copper River is so swift, they must store extra fat and oils in order to survive the long trip. This high fat and oil content is why Copper River salmon are recognized as some of the world's best-eating salmon.

Copper River salmon are bright silvery salmon with a bright red flesh, a firm texture, and a rich flavor that makes them a very delicious dining experience whose popularity is rapidly growing.

Copper River king salmonHundreds of fishermen try their luck, flooding the local Alaskan fishing town of Cordova in a "salmon rush" frenzy. The 500 some gill-netters fish the 35-mile wide Copper River Delta(mouth) where depth and sandbars change yearly. The rushing waters of the Copper River empty steeply from the mountains above while breakers pound in from the ocean. Unpredictable weather and extreme tides make fishing the "Flats" of the Copper River a dangerous endeavor. However, the prized catch has come to be world-renowned.

For fisherman, catching 100 sockeye in a set is okay, but 400 is outstanding. There are tales of catches bearing as much as 700 fish!  One of the reasons Copper River salmon are so highly prized is that the fish are handled very carefully when caught, being bled and dressed immediately, put on ice and shipped out fresh.

The first fish are tendered and rushed back to Cordova where "salmon-thirty-salmons", as locals call them, fly directly to Anchorage and Seattle, where they are distributed to high-end markets, restaurants, and connoisseurs around the world.

Each May, Pacific Northwest restaurants and markets celebrate the arrival of the season's first fish. There are festivals, parades and community activities all centered around the first available Copper River salmon. As  newspapers fill with ads of fish for sale,  "low flying fish" can be seen commonly at Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle as locals buy whole salmon and fillets for memorable outdoor barbecues and picnics.

When it comes to nutritional benefits, Copper River Salmon are a smart choice for a healthy diet. The high oil content of Copper River salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce heart disease and lower cholesterol. Studies have also found that fish oil can help combat ailments such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, and migraines. Furthermore, salmon is an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids.


"FishEx is proud to offer Copper River salmon.  These excellent fish, while priced high due to a high level of marketing and consumer demand, make a nice treat for yourself.  Alaska offers a bounty of choices for wild salmon, an Copper Rivers are among the finest.

Regarding early season fish, please keep the following in mind:  Prices always start high, so we  recommend keeping early season orders small.  June or July are good months for placing orders to stock your freezer.

It has become a tradition in our home to enjoy a portion each of fresh Copper River king and sockeye- from the season's first catch.  If you visit us on this day, you will find me tending to the barbecue. "  - Cade Smith, Founder- FishEx

Learn about Copper river salmon, Visit Cordova, Alaska with Cade Smith, The founder of FishEx seafood company. Find out what makes these Salmon so special.

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