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Copper River Alaska Pictures, Part One

Posted by on June 25, 2014

Sorry I disappeared for a while. Well… sorta. We went fishing 🙂

It was our annual trip to the Copper River, a four hour drive from home. We left Friday night after work and set up camp as soon as we got there. It rained all night. After getting an okay night’s sleep, we got up early Saturday and headed for the river. It thankfully had stopped raining, and the sun came out within a couple hours. It turned out to be a beautiful weekend!

Dip Net Fishing for Alaskan Copper River Salmon - IdlewildAlaska

Dip-netting at the Copper River is always an adventure. The best place for catching the beautiful Red Salmon is down in “The Canyon.” The trail follows the old pre-WWII train tracks, which were pulled up during WWII and the metal was melted down. Some of the old train trestles are still there.

Copper River Alaska - IdlewildAlaska

Old train trestles.

Clinging to the side of the mountain, the trail is often just wide enough for a four-wheeler to make it over. Occasionally, a mudslide comes down the mountain and makes the trail even more… interesting. On the river side of the trail, the mountainside plummets down 100′ to the raging river below, which goes from a wide, meandering river and is funneled into the canyon and becomes a rapid filled, boiling, raging river. If you fall in this river, you’re not getting out and there’s a very small chance of finding the body.

Fishing Copper River Alaska - IdlewildAlaska

The trail is on the ledge on the right, about half way up the cliff.

The fish are well worth it. Copper River Red Salmon are know all over the world as the best tasting, healthiest salmon in the world. And I agree!

Fishing in Alaska - IdlewildAlaska

The view from “our spot.”

Dip-netting is part of the Alaskan subsistence way of life. It is open to Alaskan residents only. Each household is allowed 30 fish (as of 2014), and Fish and Game occasionally, on really good years, allows a supplemental 10 fish.

Copper River, Alaska - IdlewildAlaska

“The Canyon”

Once in “our spot” on the cliffs, we roped off to a sturdy tree at the top of the rocks. Like I said, if you fall in, you rarely get out. The 4′ nets are about as large as you can use on this river. Larger nets are allowed, but the water is just too strong to use them. As it is, I cannot keep a net upright in this river. So the hubby catches the fish, and I haul them up to the coolers on the four-wheeler.

Dip netting Copper River - IdlewildAlaska

My fisherman.

By Saturday evening, we had our 30 fish, and my uncle had the 22 he wanted. We’re were quite happy. My first year fishing this river with my dad, my uncle, and our neighbor several years ago, we had 90 fish in three hours. You can understand why we like fishing here!

Fishing the Copper River - IdlewildAlaska

The hubby and my uncle

Saturday night we cleaned our fish up, had some dinner, and slept like babies. Sunday morning was a beautiful leisurely drive home through some of the most beautiful country.

The Catch - IdlewildAlaska

Our catch of the day.

I have soooo many Copper River Alaska pictures, I’ve split up this post to share the best of them with you! Click HERE for Part 2! Subscribe below so you don’t miss the next set of pics! See them all on the Facebook Page HERE!


Wrangell-St. Elias National Park - IdlewildAlaska

Driving home past the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park.


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10 Responses to Copper River Alaska Pictures, Part One

  1. Ladydragon Queen

    I did not know that about Alaskan Salmon, or fishing it for that matter! I think we’re all so used to Alaska just being this icy place. YOur spot looks great, but how awesome at that catch you bring in quite constantly! Really cool!

  2. Jaqueline Biggs

    Wonderful post! Magnificent pictures!

    As a child we used to dip net for salmon 10 minutes from our homestead–which was a fifteen minute drive to downtown Anchorage–and is now a concretes corner in midtown (the corner of 36th and Arctic Blvd.) There was a tidal stream behind our place which filled and emptied twice a day.

    We froze the best lot cut into steaks and fillets and then my mom canned the reminder of the fish, which we cut into chunks and packed into glass canning jars with chinks of onion, garlic, and other spices. She also canned moose meat the same way. I loved taking a jar of moose after it has sat for months marinating in its own juices and the spices in the jar, draining out the juices and setting them aside, shredding up the meat, making mashed potatoes and using the juices to make a lovely gravy with the shredded meat in it. Alaskan comfort food!! Mmmm—I can taste it now.

    Mom would sometimes put a few drops of Smoke flavoring in the jars with the fish. It made excellent salmon pate. And great salmon sandwiches, using the canned salmon in the same way people use canned tuna from the store–Oh! and my mom’s salmon Noodle casserole was delicious!

    We also used to have some or moose meat made into sausage and my mother would pickle it. The round moose sausage slices filled a five gallon institutional glass mayonnaise jar on our counter, nestled with pickling spices. Pop the lid and the lovely pickled vinegar smell assaulted one’s nose. It was such a great after school snack on crackers with a piece of cheese.

    Thanks for taking me back down memory lane.
    Jaqueline Biggs
    NB Valerie–somewhere on the canals of England

    • Idlewildak

      LOVE hearing stories like this! You made me hungry! 🙂 We’re hoping to get a moose and a caribou this hunting season and I can’t wait. We filleted enough fish to have fish once a week for a year, smoked and canned the rest of it.

  3. Val Newman

    Stunning photos. Beautiful Alaska


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