Alaska’s Copper River Wild Salmon Fishery Opens May 16: ADF&G

Image: Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Alaska’s celebrated Copper River wild salmon fishery opens on Thursday, May 16 for a 12-hour commercial drift gillnet fishing period, while waters within the expanded Chinook salmon inside closure area closed for that same period.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the opener May 1, noting that subsistence harvest will also be allowed in the Copper River District during commercial fishing periods, until the season ends.

ADF&G biologists said their Miles Lake sonar camp was scheduled to open May 7, but that the banks of the river are still covered with shore ice in the vicinity of the sonar sites.

Commercial fishing in the Bering River District also are scheduled to open May 16 for a 12-hour commercial drift gillnet fishing period.

The next announcement from ADF&G on the Copper River and surrounding commercial fishing districts is anticipated to occur Saturday, May 18.

Some retail seafood shops meanwhile are encouraging pre-orders for first run commercial catches of those prized Copper River reds and kings.

At Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, pre-ordered whole wild Copper River reds are $159.96 per four-pound fish and whole wild Copper River kings — size not indicated – are $489.93 apiece. Pike Place is also accepting pre-orders for fresh wild Copper River red fillets for $59.99 a pound and fresh wild Copper River kings at $99.99 a pound.

Other wild Pacific king salmon currently available at Pike Pace Fish Market is selling for $369.99 for a whole fish or $49.99 a pound for fillets.

Also in advance of the opener, FishEx in Anchorage is advertising online premium portions of fish, wild Copper River king salmon for $63.71 a pound and fresh wild sockeye salmon premium portions for $59.46 a pound.

A spokesperson for Copper River Seafoods, which is based in Cordova, Alaska said they are busy getting ready for the season opener, but not taking pre-orders for their catch.