Copper River Salmon- Cordova, ALASKA
I’ve been working the last couple of weeks on this kick-butt post. I might as well just say… Welcome to Alaska! I just want to give a HUGE shout-out to Copper River Salmon for bringing my mom and me on this amazing trip to Cordova, AK. The trip was so fun and I learned so much about salmon and how they end up in grocery stores all over the country. Copper River Salmon is some of the freshest salmon you can find, and we got to taste it at the source! The local community in the small town of Cordova, Alaska was fantastic to experience. I have always grown up in rather large cities, so I don’t experience a ton of the small town vibe. Cordova is the first town I’ve ever been to that you can’t travel there by road. You can only reach the town by plane or boat. I also learned that the Copper River isn’t just one river or even a couple rivers. Copper River Salmon is from all over the Copper River, which is a large system of streams and rivers. Each type of Copper River Salmon (King, Sockeye, and Coho) has a different run. The King salmon has the earliest run, as early as the beginning of May. The Sockeye run around July. The Coho have a rather late run, sort of early August-ish through September. Now enough talk… Let me show you some of the amazing things I saw while in the magnificent Cordova, Alaska.
View of the Copper River from the plane.
The lodge that we stayed at was pretty old, but it was cool. They had all of the gear that we needed to go out and do fun Alaskan things.
We got some amazing photos on this bridge. We stopped here when we were going to a huge glacier named Child’s Glacier. The glacier puts off a really chilly breeze.
In one spot of the dirt road out to the glacier, the road was washed out. We got to take a big airboat across the water to the other side.
This is Child’s Glacier. The water level is usually way higher, but because of lack of snowfall this year, a lot of the glacier is exposed above the water.
I got all brave and went to touch the water. It was pretty cold- like ice water, but with millions of ice cubes!
Can’t get a better picture of a seagull taking off, the beautiful mountains, and a bunch of boats. I explained what the fishing technique (gillnetting) was in the post I wrote about Copper River Salmon before I went to Alaska. Just recapping, fishermen set out huge sets of line with kind of small holes in them for fish to swim through. The salmon swim through the gillnet, but when they try to get out, they are ensnared. It’s a genius strategy really.
We learned a lot about the fishing environment in Cordova and how gillnetting really works from this longtime fisherman. He has a gillnetting boat and a houseboat. His life is on the sea.
There were tons of cool boats in Cordova Harbor. Many old boats with cracking wood, a few shiny new boats, and a lot of shiny silver boats that looked like tin cans.
One night at dinner I was so excited because I got to hold baby Curran! Curran is Hugh and Sarah’s baby. You can read all about Curran at their blog, sproutedkitchen.com. Brian from athoughtforfood.net was also there, along with Meredith from insockmonkeyslippers.com and Lari Robling from endangeredrecipes.com. Heidi from foodiecrush.com was also there for part of the time, but she had to leave due to a broken wrist. Heidi tripped over some fishing net on the docks, and fell right on her wrist, so give her a break if she accidentally spells something wrong in a post. It’s hard and painstakingly long to type with one hand. Feel better Heidi!
We met the Entanglement while we were out at sea. We also met the crew, two experienced but young fisherman. They were really competitive, and had a brand new custom built boat. We boarded their boat and got to fish with them all afternoon.
Sadly I wasn’t able to experience the gillnetting like everyone else. I was having a bad day that day. A very bad day. I spent the majority of my time on that boat in the bunk and in the bathroom. Stupid seasickness.
A bunch of fisherman unloaded their gear at our lodge, so we got to see all of their intense supplies. They must have been halibut fishing or something because they had heavy duty rods and not light salmon rods or gillnets. We also got to see Orcas! We were driving out to go fishing, and I looked over the side of the boat. There they were! A huge pack of Orcas were swimming right alongside us. It was awesome. We got to see Orcas in Orca Inlet!
I rod & reel fished as well as fly fished for the first time. We went out and caught pink salmon. It was a blast. Even my mom caught a couple fish! We had a couple of my catches sent home with us too.
While we were fishing for pink salmon, I caught a sockeye salmon. I can’t really tell if this is the sockeye, but it was awesome. When we got back to Reno and checked the fish out, one was a bright red and the other was a dull pink. It turned out that I caught a sweet Copper River Sockeye!
My mom totally messed up with her boots and waders. I did it right. Booya!
This trip was so amazing. I am so grateful to all of the wonderful people that provided this trip (you know who you are if you’re reading this). It was the experience of a lifetime. I now know that returning to Alaska is definitely on my bucket list. Oh and by the way… this is Alaskan Glacial Mud. We got it at a local store in Cordova. It rejuvenates your skin. My theory is that it’s normal mud with some lavender in it… but hey! It’s quite the experience. Again, thank you to all associated with Copper River Salmon and another big thank you to the residents of Cordova for giving us the experience of a lifetime. *You can still buy Copper River Coho Salmon FRESHLY CAUGHT at stores near you! There is actually a store locator on copperriversalmon.org that tells you where you can find Copper River Salmon. Well that’s it for today. Have an amazing start of the school year everyone!
And even a kid can use Alaskan Glacial Mud… Like Me!
Disclosure: CopperRiverSalmon.org covered all travel costs associated with this fabulous trip to Cordova, Alaska for the purpose of learning all about Copper River Salmon.