Copper River officially kicks off AK’s 2024 salmon season on May 16!

Alaska's 2024 salmon fishery officially begins at Copper River on May 16!

by | May 15, 2024

Forecast calls for a strong sockeye harvest; uncertain number for kings

The Copper River District opens for the season at 7:00 am on Thursday, May 16 for a 12-hour commercial drift gillnet opener that signals that official start of Alaska’s 2024 salmon fishery.

Waters within the expanded Chinook salmon inside closure area will be CLOSED during this period, according to ADF&G.

The 2024 commercial harvest forecasts for the Copper River District are 1.30 million sockeye salmon, which is 46% above the 10-year average of 893,000 fish. Fishery managers said that for Chinook salmon conservation, the ‘inside closure area’, will be closed during early season fishing periods and may be expanded early in the season to include waters inside the barrier islands east of Coffee Creek.

The Copper River Chinook salmon total run forecast (47,000 fish) is 2% below the 10-year average of 48,000 fish.

Pre-orders are brisk for the famous “first fresh salmon” of the season

Numerous sources say that suppliers are reporting strong interest in the fishery’s prized “first of the season “salmon” despite high prices.

At the famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle early orders put potential customer prices for one-pound Copper River sockeye fillets at $59.99 and one-pound king salmon fillets at $99.99 for the first fish that hits the market this year.

A fresh, whole, four pound sockeye is likely to fetch $159.96.

A fresh, whole king salmon is pegged at $489.93 (no size is specified).

The prices for Copper River salmon typically decline quite a bit after the hoopla surrounding the “first fish.”

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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