While the term "In Season" this time of year is more often associated with the abundant fruits and vegetables coming into farmers market and our kitchen, but May 14th also kicked off the Alaska salmon season. This video from King Salmon Restaurant at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge Friday captures the first catch of the season from net to the moment when a helicopter carrying the season’s first catch of wild Copper River king salmon touched down right outside the lodge.
The 2015 Copper River king salmon fishing season opened May 14 at 7 a.m. in Cordova, Alaska, and after a long day on the water fishermen could still be seen bringing in their catch late into the night. Local processor Copper River Seafoods prepared its first shipment of fish to be flown on an Alaska Airlines jet to Anchorage, where it was loaded onboard an Era Aviation helicopter. The chopper flew to a helipad near the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge, to deliver the fish to the restaurant for preparation by Chef Jeff Elliott.
“Fresh, wild seafood remains one of the top draws for Princess guests visiting Alaska and salmon is an important part of the Alaska lifestyle, both culturally and as a dietary staple,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises.
The first-catch shipment of Copper River salmon is a prestigious and highly anticipated annual ritual in which Alaska Airlines flies more than 20,000 pounds of the season’s “first fish” to Seattle and Anchorage. For the last three years, the Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge has received part of the catch and served fresh king salmon to lodge guests on arrival.
Copper River king salmon, identified by the meat’s deep red hue and a melt-in-your mouth texture, is a highly coveted fish by chefs and salmon lovers alike thanks to its exceptional flavor and high nutritious value. Also known as Chinook, the king salmon travel 300 miles from the Pacific Ocean along the waters of the Copper River to reach their spawning grounds near Cordova.