Fastest Event Ever: Copper River Salmon Season Brings Burst of Fishing
17 May, 2016
Alaska Sweet Spot for Fishing Has 12-Hour Season, and Makes the Most of It
The day has come – and gone - for fresh Copper River salmon fishing
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the first opening of the Copper River salmon fishing season. It ran for 12 hours beginning at 7:00 am and closing at 7:00 pm on Monday, May 16, 2016.
As with all Alaska fisheries, the name of the game is sustainability. Fishery managers must be confident that the run is on track to meet escapement goals (the number of salmon that must make it to the spawning grounds to ensure long-term health of the run) before they provide fishing opportunity. Commercial salmon fishermen have fished Copper River salmon for well over a century, which provides fishery managers a wealth of historical data. Throughout the years, an opening date near May 15 has provided for sustainable yield.
However, this year, fishermen were informed that a short-notice announcement might occur sooner. This decision will be based upon in-river salmon passage data
Restaurants, high-end grocers and salmon connoisseurs, as well as, of course, fishermen and tour groups of fishermen, were all anxiously anticipating fresh Copper River Chinook and sockeye salmon. The first of these prized fish will arrive in Seattle via Alaska Airlines early in the morning after the first opener. A cook-off featuring top Seattle area chefs happens right on the tarmac, and the rest of the cargo load will be distributed to eager vendors in Seattle and beyond.
These first fish are in high demand. Restaurants, seafood markets and grocery stores carrying wild Alaskan salmon from the Copper River can be found on the Copper River salmon website locator tool. Any purveyor of Copper River salmon can add their location to the app for consumers to find. Select the “Tag it” button to add a location.
The Copper River/Prince William Sound Marketing Association, a fisherman funded regional seafood development association, works on behalf of the 500 plus commercial salmon fisherman of Coastal South Central Alaska. The association works to build brand awareness for wild Copper River king, sockeye and coho as well as Prince William Sound sockeye, keta, and pink salmon.