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The Copper River is a massivive 287 mile delta ecosystem that drains the Wrangell and Chugach Mountains into the Gulf of Alaska. It is listed as the tenth largest river in The United States.
This immense, flowing body of water moves at an average speed of 7 MPH and has 13 major tributaries. It drops an average of about 12 feet per mile, and drains a total of 24,000 square miles (an area the size of West Virginia).
The Copper River got its name from originally by Native Alaskan population who named it the Ahtna River, after their tribe, and then later by settlers from the Russian Empire and the United States. The river was named such due to it's high deposits of copper that line it's banks.
The Salmon native to the Copper River have to swim 300 miles through treacherous waters to reach their spawning grounds. This swim requires extreme muscular strength and extra storage fat to survive their journey. This results in high muscle mass and extra fat. There are three species of salmon that come from the Copper River:
Copper River King Salmon, the largest of the 5 Alaska Salmon species is prized for its rich red flavor, succulent flavor, high oil content, and firm texture.
Copper River Sockeye Salmon, the second most abundant Alaska Salmon species is prized for deep red flesh, excellent color retention, distinctive rich flavor and firm texture. On average they weigh 6 pounds and measure 25 inches in length.
The second largest of the 5 Alaska Salmon species. Average weight is 12 pounds. Length ranges from 25 to 35 inches. Generally marketed in whole, steak, or fillet forms.