The Corkline

Three Reasons Why Copper River Salmon is So Special

Published May 9th, 2023 by Sena Wheeler

Copper River salmon are well known as the finest salmon in the world.

Some people wonder if it's all media hype. Can one type of salmon from one single river really be better than all the other salmon in the world? The answer is simple.

Yes, salmon from different areas are different, with some being clearly better than others.

And yes, Copper River salmon is the best. 

I have eaten a lot of salmon in my lifetime, and I couldn't agree more. 

Copper River salmon is special for these three reasons:

First Salmon

Wild fish is seasonal, just like fruits and vegetables. Wild salmon are caught only when returning back to the river they were born in, and depending on the location and species, this happens at a very particular time of year. Copper River salmon just happen to be the first wild commercially fished salmon to spawn in the spring. The fish from the very first Copper River opener are the most coveted salmon on the planet.

Omega 3's 

Not all salmon are created equal. The Copper River is a long, cold, and powerful river in Alaska. This arduous upstream swim requires enormous exertion, and the salmon have to rely on huge reserves of built-up fat for fuel and insulation. This extra high Omega-3 fat content gives the salmon its rich, moist, and delicious flavor; as well as outstanding health benefits.


Because Copper River fishermen know their fish are special and the very best, they treat them that way- with the respect they deserve. The Copper River fishery is slower-paced than other salmon fisheries. This gives fishermen more time to handle each fish properly and cool them quickly. Our small-boat fishermen understand and prioritize quality over quantity. 

Word has gotten out about Copper River salmon, and the first opener is much anticipated. 

This year, the first Copper River opener will be on May 15th, 2023.

Both Copper River King and Sockeye are typically caught during the first opener. The fish from the first few openers are in such high demand, they are sold as fast as they are caught, and sometimes before.

Premium fish markets, grocery stores, and top restaurants are competing for these fish. Supply is always limited and everyone does not get what they want. It's all about access to the resource, and lucky for you, I know a guy.

My husband Rich is a fisherman, and he runs 60 North Seafoods, our premium processing facility. We sell these first few fish by pre-order.

Eat wild to save wild!

 - Sena Wheeler

About the Author: 

Sena Wheeler holds a degree in nutrition and food science in addition to being a mom, foodie, and third-generation fisherman's wife. Visit her at where she blogs about family, fish, and food.

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