There are many places to catch Salmon in Alaska. The best place we have found, hands down, is the Copper River Basin (that’s why we live here!)
The fish come up the river from the ocean to spawn, and they are big! This area is more remote and is incredible. The Copper River Basin is better than other places because of its unknown identity and has not been discovered by the thousands. It is not a “combat fishing zone” like the Kenai. You can actually get out on your own and fish without being shoulder to shoulder with someone. Many times we get to fish half the day before even seeing another boat.
What are the Different types of Salmon?
It would be far too easy if each species of Salmon had but one name. Where would be the mystery, the delicate confusion, of just one name per salmon?
So, we suppose that salmon have their true, scientific name and the other name we made up to sound good. Here they are:
King Salmon (aka Chinook Salmon). This is the big dude, the man, the lunker of all lunkers. King’s are usually between 25 and 60 lbs. when caught in the river and their skin is silver, turning red the longer they are in fresh water, as they spawn. The males develop a longer head and hooked jaw. The females bellies fill with maturing eggs as they get ready to spawn. The Gulkana and Klutina rivers contain Kings in abundance, during the spawn.
Sockeye Salmon (aka Red Salmon, aka Kokanee Salmon). Reds are considered the best eating salmon of them all. Sockeyes are usually between 5 and 10 lbs. and are also found in great abundance in the Gulkana and Klutina rivers. Red’s begin their spawn silver as well, but they turn very Red, with a emerald head, as they spawn. The males develop a long head and hooked jaw, also developing a humped back. Kokanee Salmon are simply Red Salmon that live in land-locked lakes and streams.
Silver Salmon (aka Coho Salmon). As their name indicates, these salmon are silver colored in the ocean. Their coloration doesn’t Redden all that much in the river.
Chum Salmon (aka Dog Salmon). These salmon are quite large, sometimes approaching the King in overall length (but not usually weight.) They become very mottled as they spawn, becoming white, pink and brown. Their backs hump up, their jaws form into grotesque hooks, and their heads lengthen considerably as they get deep into the spawn. They’re called Dogs simply because they’re only really good to feed to the family pooch (yuck.) While large, they don’t fight much. They’re like pulling in a snagged tire. We don’t have these either in our rivers.
Pink Salmon (aka humpies). Pinks are also considered second class citizens of the salmon world. They are fairly tasty when they’re fresh, but they’re not considered good when classed against other salmon. Also, they’re relatively small – average no more than a few pounds. These salmon are fished heavily in the ocean because of their great numbers – to be used, most typically, as pet food.