Early price reports coming in from Copper River

Fishing for the coveted sockeye and king salmon opened to calm weather Thursday.

Processors were reportedly offering between $6 (€5.40) and $7 (€6.30) per pound for sockeye and between $9 (€8.10) and $10 (€9) for king salmon just hours after the Copper River season opener, according to multiple sources in the Alaska salmon industry.

Sockeye will go up to $8 (€7.20) or $9 (€8.10) and come back down, while king will go up to $12 (€10.80) or higher and then come down, the source told IntraFish.

Prices this early in the season generally are not representative because of the small amount of fish harvested and the early enthusiasm for the fish. Typically, prices drop dramatically after a few openings have occurred and more fish enter the supply chain.

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Copper River Prince William Sound Marketing Association Executive Director Christa Hoover told IntraFish she's been hearing of average salmon sizes in the 5.4 to 5.6 pound range.

Although "we like to see 6-pound averages," the sizes are not bad, she said.

The season opened Thursday to calm weather, and initial word from fishermen reported a strong harvest.

During 2016's first Copper River opening, fishermen landed 22,498 sockeye salmon for a total of 111,573 pounds. The total king harvest during the first opener of 2016 was 1,313 fish totaling 21,046 pounds and for chum, fishermen hauled in 412 fish weighing 2,865 pounds.

Average weights for sockeye, chinook and chum were five, 16 and seven pounds, respectively.

Follow our live blog of the Alaska salmon season here.

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