Friday, May 18, 2012

Copper River's first opener of 2012

Copper River Salmon Opener #1, 2012.  Cordova Alaska

After much anticipation and lots of excitement, the Copper River opened yesterday!  TV cameras, salmon buyers, chefs, and foodies alike were all a buzz about town wait for the first fish of the season to arrive.   My buddy Lyle and his son were interviewed on KTUU News out of Juneau.  You can check it out here:,0,4033003.story

I just came in last night from fishing.   We fished 12 hours from 7AM to 7 PM Thursday, May 17th out on the Copper River near Cordova, Alaska.  We ran out to the grounds on Wednesday, the day before, the opener, with equal parts enthusiasm and anxiety.  Wondering where this fish will be.  Wondering if we are starting in the right spot.  Wondering where that west wind will blow the fish.  Wondering how much the channels have changed and if track lines on the GPS are still good or will run you dry.  Wondering what kind of price we will get this season.   Wondering how much ice is flowing out of the Copper.  And wondering if we’ll load up on either fish or ice, but hoping fish. 

on the pick, waiting for the opener

boats chatting the night before the opener

Yesterday morning at 7 AM when it opened, it was total pea soup.  It was so foggy I could hardly see the far end of the net.  I guess it was kind of nice though in a way,  couldn’t see all the boats that were right next to us, so it was almost like having the set all to ourselves.   But once the fog lifted, we could see that it seemed like the whole fleet was there!  Anyway, we scrapped up a few then decided to head out and look for more fish.

morning fog

It was a relatively nice day on the Flats.  It started a bit lumpy, the current running against the wind but once the tide changed, it laid down and wasn’t too bad.  The sun was out the whole time, which makes for a beautiful backdrop in which to pick fish. 

Sheridan Glacier

Fishing the color change

The price was announced on the VHF radio early in the morning.  It started around 2 or 3 bucks a pound for sockeye and 6 bucks for kings and inched its way up, though out the day in 15 cent increments to 4 and 6.50 bucks a pound.  A great price that won’t last long enough.   With a price like that, even a little bit of fish adds up and everyone get to put a little coin in their pockets. 

I also managed to scrape up a few photos to share with you all.  I hope you enjoy.  

the fleet running out to the grounds from Cordova

tenders buying fish at Whitshed

boats running in after the opener (at 10 PM!)

iced sockeyes on the dock

boat delivering to Ocean Beauty

otter near the T-dock, hoping for a fish to go over

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