“Copper River Reds” are famous the world over as some of the most delicious salmon in the world. For the salmon enthusiast, cooking up a sockeye filet is much like cooking up a ribeye steak is for the beef lover. This is because the meat of the Copper River Sockeye has a slightly higher fat content than other salmon. Whether smoking it, cooking it up as a filet, or making it into a savory spread to snack on, those who really enjoy some good salmon will find the Sockeye available on our river to be an exquisite treat.
More About Sockeye
The size of an adult Sockeye returning to spawn may measure up to 2.8 feet in length and weigh an average of 8 pounds.
The adult spawners are unique in appearance. They typically turn bright red, with a green head; hence they are commonly called “red” salmon in Alaska. During the ocean and adult migratory phase, sockeye often have a bluish back and silver sides, giving rise to another common name, “bluebacks.”
The name “sockeye” is thought to have been a corruption of the various Indian tribes’ word “sukkai.”
Adults migrate from a marine environment into freshwater streams and rivers or lakes of their birth in order to mate. They spawn only once and then die. Sockeye salmon exhibit a wide variety of life history patterns that reflect varying dependency on the freshwater environment. With the exception of certain river-type and sea-type populations, the vast majority of sockeye salmon spawn in or near lakes. For this reason, the major distribution and abundance of large sockeye salmon stocks are closely related to the location of rivers that have accessible lakes in their watersheds.
Most sockeye salmon stay at sea for 2 years, returning to spawn at about age 4, but some may be 5-6 years old when they spawn.
There are some sockeye that spend their entire lives in freshwater. Such sockeye in the Pacific Northwest are known as “kokanee.” Occasionally, a proportion of the juveniles will remain in their rearing lake environment throughout life and will be observed on the spawning grounds together with their siblings. Taxonomically, the kokanee and sockeye salmon do not differ.
– The above information is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website.