Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Copper River Salmon Fishery Opener is Hours Away

With the famed Copper River salmon fishery opener just hours away, the excitement is mounting even as weather forecasters predict rain showers and temperatures ranging from 41 to 52 degrees.

“Rain and fog can impact things,” noted Alaska Department of Fish and Game management biologist Jeremy Botz in Cordova, Alaska “Still, I think the weather is going to be pretty decent, so we’ll get a good look at what’s out there. So far, several hundred commercial harvesters registered for the fishery, they seem pretty positive, which is pretty typical for the start of the season,” he added.

Some of that optimism may be because while there are no indications of a whole lot of sockeye salmon out there, there are definitely more than this time last year as reported by those with educational permits.

The forecast is for a run of 1.5 million sockeyes in the Copper River and some 55,000 Chinook salmon. The projected commercial harvest is 756,000 reds and 31,000 kings, including in-river fisheries, rather than just the commercial catch, according to Botz.

Water temperatures currently are average, a bit warmer than the cooler waters noted at the start of last year’s fishery.

10th and M Seafoods in Anchorage, Alaska, is scheduled to receive a load of sockeyes and kings from the opener mid-afternoon on May 16 and deliver them to about a dozen area restaurants.

Chef Travis Haugen at the Southside Bistro is one of several chefs bracing particularly for the delivery of Chinooks. “As soon as I have one in my hands, I will put it on the menu,” he said.

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