The annual Alaska salmon run is in the home stretch and the time to buy fresh Alaska salmon is nearing the finish line. Summer is a great time to enjoy the bounty of Alaskan salmon. The spring brings us Copper River sockeye and king salmon, June and July bring the bounty of Bristol Bay sockeye and late July and early August bring keta salmon to the table. So here we are in late August and the sockeye are harder to find and the keta have moved up the rivers. So where does a fresh salmon aficionado turn to this time of year? Coho salmon is the cure for your Alaska salmon addiction.
The coho is the late summer run that is worth the wait. Every salmon species has its unique traits and the Alaska coho is no different. Typically coho salmon can be caught from late June through early October, but the biggest commercial runs occur in mid-August and September. I remember catching coho on July 4 in Alaska, but they were just beginning to show up in the area at that time. Since it comes late in the summer, the coho helps fill the demand for Alaskan salmon as sockeye and keta end their runs.
Coho salmon are similar to king salmon in taste, color and texture. Coho can be distinguished by their orange red meat color. They are the second-largest salmon, behind just the king salmon, so they make excellent steaks and fillets. They have a relatively high fat content which makes them great for grilling and smoking. They are my second-favorite salmon next to the king. You should start to see this outstanding fresh salmon at your local Hy-Vee. The end of summer also means we’re nearing the end of fresh salmon. Nothing compares to fresh Alaskan salmon, and this may be your last chance to get some before fall closes the door on the great Alaska salmon run.