Copper River Salmon – What Makes Them So Popular?

Copper River Salmon – What Makes Them So Popular?


Copper River Salmon – What Makes Them So Popular? by Jason Dick



On the morning of May 15th, 32,000 pounds of Copper River salmon arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma airport just after sunrise. Alaska is expected to deliver over 160,000 pounds of the delicacy on eight different flights across the country. Depending on this season’s catch, Alaska Airlines alone would be flying more than 26 million pounds of Copper River salmon this year.

Copper River salmon at the beginning of the fishing season can easily cost over twenty dollars per pound, tapering off a little as the season progresses. So what makes Copper River salmon so tasty and good?

The Copper River is one of the longest and most rugged rivers in Alaska. It cuts through the Chugach mountains and stretches for three hundred miles through glacier-fed waters full of hard charging rapids.

Every May, around the 15th, the first salmon of the season return to the rivers and streams of Alaska. The Copper River salmon is one of the first. Because the Copper River salmon’s journey is so long, their bodies store up extra fats and oils to survive the entire trip. It is this high fat and oil content that make the Copper River salmon so tasty and popular.

The Copper River salmon is a bright silvery salmon with red flesh, a firm texture, and a very rich flavor.

The fat eaten from fish, like salmon, is filled with Omega 3 fatty acids, which are a group of fats necessary for a healthy diet. Some of the health benefits of the Omega 3 fats include: protection against heart disease and stroke, aid in the proper development and functioning of the brain and nervous system, and prevention of arthritis and migraine headaches. Copper River salmon, because of their high oil content, have an even higher amount of Omega 3 than most other salmon.



Recipe for Copper River Salmon:

Simple Pan-Roasted Salmon-Serves 2-4

When you have a great tasting fish like the Copper River salmon, you don’t need to add a lot of fancy seasonings. You should try to buy your Copper River salmon between May through early July for best flavor.




• 2-pound piece of center cut fresh salmon fillet

• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

• Salt and fresh ground pepper

• 3-4 tablespoons water

• Fresh lemon wedges

• Fresh basil

• ½ of a large red onion, thinly sliced

1. Rinse the fish and pat it dry. Remove any tiny bones you find.

2. Heat the olive oil and butter together in a straight-sided sauté pan over medium high heat. Lightly salt and pepper the fish on both sides. Slip it into the pan, skin side down. Sear it for approximately 2 minutes.

3. Turn the fish over with 2 spatulas and sear for 2 minutes on the other side. Spread all of the onions around the fish, and turn the heat to medium low, cover the pan and cook about 6 minutes, turning midway through cooking, or until the salmon is just firm when pressed (the meat should be barely opaque near the center).

4. While it’s cooking sprinkle fresh basil over the fish.

5. Remove the fish from the pan and keep it warm. Turn heat to high and cook onions until limp. Add a little water (3-4 tablespoons) to the pan to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Pour the pan juices and onion over the salmon.

6. Serve with lemon wedges and a nice Pinot Noir.



Jason Dick is an Internet Security Specialist and web author whose most recent notable work can be found at He has also worked for seven years in the food services industry and is writing a series of articles regarding current food trends, many of which contain recipes for the website:

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