Coho Salmon Fishing The Copper River, Alaska

A coho Salmon - Coho Salmon Fishing the Copper River
image of Coho courtesy of Healy Outdoors

Introduction to Coho Salmon Fishing The Copper River, Alaska

Coho Salmon fishing the Copper River in Alaska requires some skill and knowledge due to the water clarity, remoteness and fast water.

Coho Salmon, also known as Silver Salmon, are renowned for their aggressive behavior and impressive fighting abilities, making them a favorite among anglers. The Copper River in Alaska, with its pristine waters and abundant salmon runs, offers a unique and rewarding fishing experience for those seeking the thrill of Coho Salmon fishing.

Key Takeaways

# Topic Key Points
1 Coho Salmon Traits Noted for aggressive behavior; adults weigh 8-12 pounds and measure 24-30 inches.
2 When and Where Coho Salmon spawn in the Copper River from mid-July to late October, with peaks in August and September.
3 Fishing Techniques Techniques include fly, float, and drift fishing; baits and lures like spoons and spinners are vital.
4 Guides and Charters Find out who the best guides in the area are.
5 Sustainable Fishing Adherence to local regulations and guidelines ensures sustainable and responsible fishing practices.

Key Characteristics of Coho Salmon

  • Size: Adult Coho typically weigh between 8 to 12 pounds and measure 24 to 30 inches long. The Cordova area claims that this area has the largest Silver Salmon in Alaska, with fish up to 22 pounds.
  • Habitat: They inhabit the Pacific Northwest Ocean and its tributaries, including the Copper River.
  • Spawning: Coho are anadromous, migrating from the ocean to freshwater streams to spawn and die.

Coho Salmon Fishing in Copper River: When and Where

  • Timing: Coho Salmon enter the Copper River from mid-July, peaking in August and September, and can run through to late October and some years good fish being caught into November.
  • Location: The Copper River offers various fishing spots for coho salmon fishing, from its mouth to upriver locations, providing diverse fishing opportunities.

Nearby Lodges: Cordova Rose Lodge

Techniques and Tips for Successful Coho Salmon Fishing The Copper River

  • Fly Fishing: Utilize streamer flies that mimic baitfish or nymphs that resemble bugs or salmon eggs.
  • Float Fishing: Employ a bobber or river float to present bait and drift the rig down the river with the current.
  • Drift Fishing: Drift bait down the river without the use of a float, allowing it to bounce along the bottom.
  • Casting Lures: Use lures like spoons, spinners, and plugs to cover a lot of water effectively.
  • Plunking: Use a heavy weight to anchor your bait or lure near the river bottom in one location.
  • Back Bouncing:
  • Back Trolling:

See all of the salmon fishing methods that can be used for Coho Salmon fishing the Copper River on my page A Complete Guide To Salmon Fishing: Methods And Tactics.

Best Lures and Baits for Coho Salmon in Copper River

  • Lures: Opt for spoons, spinners, plugs, and twitching jigs in various colors.
  • Baits: Consider chunks of skein, salmon eggs in a roe bag, prawns, flies, worms, and artificial baits like beads.

See all the best lures and flies for Coho on my page Coho Salmon Fishing.

Copper River Coho Salmon Fishing Guides and Charters

Guides and charters in the Copper River area provide valuable insights, ensuring a productive fishing trip by navigating through the best fishing spots and employing effective techniques.

They offer various packages, including guided fishing trips, lodging, and even culinary experiences with your catch. If you are looking for a guided trip check out Copper River Guides and Copper River Salmon Charters.

Harvesting and Preserving Your Catch

  • Harvesting: Bonk the salmon on the head to kill or stun it, cut the gills to bleed it out, and place it head down in a bucket or hang it off a stringer before placing it on ice.
  • Preserving: Consider smoking, canning, or freezing your catch to enjoy the flavors of fresh Coho Salmon throughout the year.

Additional Tips from Experienced Coho Guides

Many other salmon species are available so anglers will also target the huge numbers of sockeye salmon and huge king salmon which can be in the river at the same time as coho salmon.

Here are some coho salmon fishing tips.

  • Rotate Colors and Baits: Different conditions might require different lure colors and bait types.
  • Cover the Water: Reading the water and effectively covering all areas of each spot will increase your chances of catching coho on the Copper River.
  • Fish the Right Water: Identify and target areas where Coho are likely to be based on their migration patterns and water conditions. Look for areas that funnel the salmon or push them to one side of the river or another. Areas like corners or deeper water beside shallow water is good.
  • Watch the Surface: Pay attention to surface activity like jumping Coho or bird activity, which can indicate the presence of baitfish.

DIY Coho Salmon Fishing The Copper River

The shorelines of the Copper River can be rugged and remote, so many anglers fish near bridges and road access or take inflatable rafts down the river.

The river can also be fast and murky and some anglers call this the most dangerous river in Alaska.

There are some sandy and pebble shorelines, but some of the river is steep cliffs down into the river with fast and dangerous water. For some safety tips and to see the river, check out this VIDEO.

When fishing from a boat or raft, wear a good PFD designed for fishing or at least use a proven inflatable PFD.

In some areas where you can walk down to the river, look for softer water along shorelines where the Coho will rest or use to get out of the faster water.

Dip net fishing for salmon is popular amongst residents. This method is something anglers might see. The method involves using nothing but large nets to catch salmon.

Note: There are bears in the area, so see my article Safety Tips For Fishing Near Bears When River Fishing.

Fishing Rules And Regulations

Some areas require special permits or have rules for fishing for salmon and trout. be sure to always adhere to local fishing regulations and guidelines to ensure sustainable and responsible fishing practices. For more info see Alaska Fish And Game.


Coho Salmon fishing in Alaska’s Copper River offers an unparalleled experience for anglers, combining the thrill of the catch with the breathtaking Alaskan wilderness.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice, understanding the habits, preferred baits, and effective fishing methods of Coho Salmon will enhance your chances of a successful fishing adventure in the Copper River.

Sources and Citations

  1. Alaska Department of Fish and Game
  2. Copper River Salmon
  3. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

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