Know Your Fisherman

Meet The Fleet

A community of fishermen committed to preservation and conservation.

The fishing families of south central Alaska are 560 independent, small business owners dedicated to long term sustainability of wild salmon stocks, the environment and a traditional way of life. Our passion not only preserves our livelihood but also ensures abundance for future generations. These are just a few of the men and women who work hard to bring you the world's finest salmon, Copper River king, sockeye and coho.

Kent Herschleb,
F/V Savonia

Hometown: Portland, OR

Fishing since: 1968 

Commercial fishing: "Is a family affair for us; grandpa, uncle, brothers, sons, daughters,  nieces, and nephews, grand nephew--all out of the great little town of  Cordova.” 

The Copper River: "Is a national treasure."

Favorite way to prepare: "I love a slow roast with lemon and dill, nothing fancy."

Michael Bowen,
F/V Jenna Marie

Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Fishing since: 1970 

Commercial fishing: "I started fishing the Copper River with my Dad as a kid and it is what love to do." 

The Copper River: "There are many things that set Copper River Salmon apart - the most unique  one for me is the diversity of sockeye salmon stocks that return to the  watershed. This allows for a 3 month long sockeye fishery." 

Favorite way to prepare: "Spicy/sweet dry rub with barbecue."

Brian Rutzer,
F/V Controller Bay

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 1984

Commercial fishing: "This is a family fishery, people take a lot of pride in what they do here."

The Copper River: "It's the place to be for great fishing, great community and wild nature. The long season, high oil content and quality minded fishermen of the Copper River and Prince William Sound set this salmon apart."

Favorite way to prepare: "Simply grilled"

Thea Thomas,
F/V Myrmidon

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 1987 

Commercial Fishing: "It is the best possible job. It is challenging, fun, and we work in  one the most beautiful places on earth, harvesting one of the world's  very best foods." 

The Copper River: It's that long cold river, and the high oil content necessary for them  to fight their way home, giving them all that wonderful rich flavor." 

Favorite way to prepare: "Marinated in my own lime juice, soy sauce, olive oil marinade and then grilled."

John Bocci,
F/V Wingham

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since:

Commercial Fishing: "It's an extraordinary, challenging and richly rewarding way to make a living. It's awesome to be able to be a primary producer of food, the better the product the better I feel about it."

The Copper River: "It's the water mon, not to mention the oil content in the flesh and those omega 3's."

Favorite way to prepare: "We like to keep it simple, if its fresh then just a dash of salt and pepper. If its been frozen then I like it blackened, quickly with a good cajun rub."

Kelsey Opstad,
F/V China Cat

Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Fishing since: 2009

Commercial fishing: "I love the freedom to see where my work goes. This business is risky, you never know what the market is going to do, or the nature of the resource, but you can’t back down from things because you are afraid."

Favorite way to prepare: "Keep it simple!"

Darin Gilman,
F/V Red Line

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 2009 

Commercial Fishing: "I like the rush of it. It can be an emotional roller coaster sometimes. Just don't get discouraged--keep your net wet. I'm a third generation fisherman, I'm thankful for the knowledge that's been passed down to me." 

The Copper River: "It's a pretty special place, we have a system for sustainable seafood."

Favorite way to prepare: "I like to grill salmon over the fire and enjoy it with my friends."

Ezekiel Brown,
F/V Cape Fear

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 2011 

Commercial Fishing: "Has a lot more value to me than just as a way to make money. I grew up with salmon in my life, it's built into this place. I'm lucky enough to catch these fish and be able to share them with others." 

The Copper River: "Is like having a gold mine in your backyard!"

Favorite way to prepare: "I love a simple brown sugar and chili rub."

Kyle Kain,
F/V Salmonetta

Hometown: Seward, AK

Fishing since: 2015

Commercial fishing: "This is my dream job. Growing up in Alaska, this is something I wanted to do since I was a kid."

The Copper River: "Is home to the worlds finest salmon. Every fish you pick out of your net from the Copper River is a prize fish; beautiful and heavy, colorful and healthy. It's everything you could want from a wild salmon."

Favorite way to prepare: "Slathered in BBQ sauce washed down with an IPA"

Kent Herschleb, F V Savonia

Kent Herschleb,
F/V Savonia

Hometown: Portland, OR

Fishing since: 1968 

Commercial fishing: "Is a family affair for us; grandpa, uncle, brothers, sons, daughters,  nieces, and nephews, grand nephew--all out of the great little town of  Cordova.” 

The Copper River: "Is a national treasure."

Favorite way to prepare: "I love a slow roast with lemon and dill, nothing fancy."

Michael Bowen, F V Jenna Marie

Michael Bowen,
F/V Jenna Marie

Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Fishing since: 1970 

Commercial fishing: "I started fishing the Copper River with my Dad as a kid and it is what love to do." 

The Copper River: "There are many things that set Copper River Salmon apart - the most unique  one for me is the diversity of sockeye salmon stocks that return to the  watershed. This allows for a 3 month long sockeye fishery." 

Favorite way to prepare: "Spicy/sweet dry rub with barbecue."

Brian Rutzer, F V Controller Bay

Brian Rutzer,
F/V Controller Bay

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 1984

Commercial fishing: "This is a family fishery, people take a lot of pride in what they do here."

The Copper River: "It's the place to be for great fishing, great community and wild nature. The long season, high oil content and quality minded fishermen of the Copper River and Prince William Sound set this salmon apart."

Favorite way to prepare: "Simply grilled"

Thea Thomas, F V Myrmidon

Thea Thomas,
F/V Myrmidon

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 1987 

Commercial Fishing: "It is the best possible job. It is challenging, fun, and we work in  one the most beautiful places on earth, harvesting one of the world's  very best foods." 

The Copper River: It's that long cold river, and the high oil content necessary for them  to fight their way home, giving them all that wonderful rich flavor." 

Favorite way to prepare: "Marinated in my own lime juice, soy sauce, olive oil marinade and then grilled."

John Bocci, F V Wingham

John Bocci,
F/V Wingham

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since:

Commercial Fishing: "It's an extraordinary, challenging and richly rewarding way to make a living. It's awesome to be able to be a primary producer of food, the better the product the better I feel about it."

The Copper River: "It's the water mon, not to mention the oil content in the flesh and those omega 3's."

Favorite way to prepare: "We like to keep it simple, if its fresh then just a dash of salt and pepper. If its been frozen then I like it blackened, quickly with a good cajun rub."

Kelsey Opstad, F V China Cat

Kelsey Opstad,
F/V China Cat

Hometown: Anchorage, AK

Fishing since: 2009

Commercial fishing: "I love the freedom to see where my work goes. This business is risky, you never know what the market is going to do, or the nature of the resource, but you can’t back down from things because you are afraid."

Favorite way to prepare: "Keep it simple!"

Darin Gilman, F V Red Line

Darin Gilman,
F/V Red Line

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 2009 

Commercial Fishing: "I like the rush of it. It can be an emotional roller coaster sometimes. Just don't get discouraged--keep your net wet. I'm a third generation fisherman, I'm thankful for the knowledge that's been passed down to me." 

The Copper River: "It's a pretty special place, we have a system for sustainable seafood."

Favorite way to prepare: "I like to grill salmon over the fire and enjoy it with my friends."

Ezekiel Brown, F V Cape Fear

Ezekiel Brown,
F/V Cape Fear

Hometown: Cordova, AK

Fishing since: 2011 

Commercial Fishing: "Has a lot more value to me than just as a way to make money. I grew up with salmon in my life, it's built into this place. I'm lucky enough to catch these fish and be able to share them with others." 

The Copper River: "Is like having a gold mine in your backyard!"

Favorite way to prepare: "I love a simple brown sugar and chili rub."

Kyle Kain, F V Salmonetta

Kyle Kain,
F/V Salmonetta

Hometown: Seward, AK

Fishing since: 2015

Commercial fishing: "This is my dream job. Growing up in Alaska, this is something I wanted to do since I was a kid."

The Copper River: "Is home to the worlds finest salmon. Every fish you pick out of your net from the Copper River is a prize fish; beautiful and heavy, colorful and healthy. It's everything you could want from a wild salmon."

Favorite way to prepare: "Slathered in BBQ sauce washed down with an IPA"