Copper River Salmon: King vs Sockeye vs Coho

In Alaska, the Copper River is home to some of the most coveted seafood in the world - Copper River salmon. The cold temperatures and heavy terrain these fish brave each year requires them to carry extra energy storage, resulting in high omega-3 fat reserves. Packed with flavor, high in nutrients with a buttery texture, these salmon are truly in a league of their own.

Three different species of salmon make their way through the Copper River: Copper River King salmon, Copper River Sockeye salmon, and Copper River Coho salmon. In this article, we’ll dive into the details and show you what makes each of them unique.

Types of Salmon

Copper River King Salmon: What Makes it a King?

There’s a reason these fish have claimed such a bold title. Not only are Copper River Kings the largest of the group (adults ranging from 20-50lbs), but they also have the highest oil content. There’s no sacrificing quality for quantity here. The amount of oil these fish contain gives the meat a luxurious and buttery texture, desired by michelin star restaurants and top chefs all over the world. However, these specific king salmon are only caught in the Copper River during a few short months in the summer. On top of that, they’re the most rare species to catch during the fishing season. Due to the high demand and short supply, the Copper River King salmon price is notably higher than the other species. However, the quality and taste will always surpass the investment. 

Copper River Sockeye Salmon

Fresh Copper River Sockeye Salmon

Copper River Sockeye salmon, also referred to as Reds, get their nickname from the brilliant vibrancy of their meat. Their deep red flesh is firm and packs a robust flavor. The versatility of their flavor pairs well with so many ingredients, but is also able to stand proud by itself with minimal seasoning. If you want to prepare an eye-catching salmon meal, a fillet of Copper River Sockeye will do the trick. 

Ranging from 4-6lbs, the Sockeyes are the smallest of the three species but still contain large amounts of omega-3’s and protein, making it just as enjoyable for your body as it is for your tastebuds. This beautiful species runs through the Copper River beginning mid-May for only a few months. Although they’re more abundantly caught than the Copper River Kings, they’re still highly exclusive, which is reflected in the price. 

Copper River Coho Salmon

The Copper River Coho, or Silver salmon are the last of the season to arrive, running July-September. Silvers range from 5-18lbs, averaging out at 12lbs. They have a milder flavor and delicate texture but don’t let that fool you, they’re still extremely nutritious! Copper River Coho salmon are the lowest in fat and highest in protein out of the three species. They’re also still loaded with omega-3’s, making them a no-brainer choice for health food connoisseurs everywhere. Even better, they’re the most affordable out of the three. If Copper River salmon price per pound is a big factor for you, Coho salmon is a great option.

Visual Distinctions

How are we able to know which species we’ve caught? Although the time of season can be a good indicator, there are some specific visual markers that let us know, with certainty, what species of fish we have onboard. 

Copper River King Salmon have small eyes, a black mouth and a black gumline. Irregular-shaped spots run down their back and cover both lobes of their tail. They’re also typically larger than the other species.

Copper River Sockeye Salmon lack the spots on their back and tail. Their mouths are white with white gums, and their eyes are larger and golden. 

Copper River Coho Salmon have spots on their back, similar to the King salmon. However, the spots only cover the upper lobe of their tail. Their mouths are a cross between the Sockeye and the King, having a black mouth with a white gumline. True to their Silver nickname, they also possess  a silver sheen on the sides of their bodies. 

Nutrition Facts of Copper River Salmon

Species

Serving Size

Fat

Protein

Omega-3’s

Calories

Copper River King

7oz

26 g

52 g

3400 mg

460

Copper River Sockeye

7oz

22 g

54 g

2400 mg

440

Copper River Coho

7oz

8 g

64 g

2200 mg

280


As long as the Copper River salmon are running, we’ll be working hard to have all your favorites in stock. But don’t wait to place your order! Although the season runs for a few months, we sold out last year in just three weeks! We’re combining unparalleled convenience with superior quality. By cutting out the middleman, we’re able to deliver Copper River salmon straight from the ocean to your door within days. Whether you’re eager to consume salmon for the numerous health benefits or the elegant flavor, Alaskan Salmon Co. has you covered.