The Columbia River Salmon is the conerstone of our business and for much of the Astoria & Warrenton community. Chinook Salmon arrive all year long, but are only allowed to be caught from the end of March until November. The main Chinook run is July to September. Coho Salmon arrive July and end in November.
Most Salmon on the Columbia are hatchery raised and released into the ocean when they grow to a few inches long. The salmon turn north and spend most of their lives off the British Columbia and Alaskan Coasts. They return when they are 3-5 years old and regulations allow 15% of the salmon to be caught by Commercial and Sport Fishermen. 5-10% are eaten by Sea Lions and the rest return to their spawning or hatchery grounds. Sockeye and Chum Salmon both have small runs and are mainly off limits to Fishermen.
Commercial Fisherman Matt Evans holds a prized Columbia River Salmon. We have 5 Fishermen that sell exclusively to Northwest Wild Products and at least 20 others that deliver more than once a month.
Why are Spring Chinook so expensive?
For two reasons; firstly because they are considered the “best of the best” and secondly because there are so few caught. The very early runs of Columbia River Chinook Salmon travel much further up the river and therefore need a much larger supply of the highly prized Omega-3 fatty acid, which makes the fish so tasty and healthy. Because so few are caught, the fishermen receive a much higher price and this price is passed on to the consumer.
We are currently charging $20.00 a lb for Steak. The price will gradually drop as the season progresses. By summer we are usually at $9.99 for fillet and $6.99 for whole fish. If you have never tried an early Spring Chinook, I highly recommend you splurge, at least once, and treat yourself to a piece.
Upriver Spring Chinook vs Lower
Here are 2 of the 10 fish we bought in the first Mainstem Columbia River Opener April 3 2012. The bigger fish is from an upriver hatchery. You can tell the difference between the two by the black head and large number of spots on the tail. The other smaller fish is a from a Lower River Hatchery. Generally the Upper River Salmon have more oil content since they travel further up the Columbia.
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WHY NO ONLINE SHOPPING CART?
Reasonable prices are very important to us. In order to offer an online shopping cart service we would need to estimate the market price of seafood, shipping cost to individual cities, size of box needed, exact weight of product etc. These estimations would mean that many customers would be paying a lot more than they need to for their products. At Northwest Wild Products we treat each order individually. Our customers pay the same price they would pay if they came into our market to shop. Postage and shipping supplies are at our exact cost, with only a $5 additional handling charge for driving to the post office. So give us a call and our friendly staff will put together your order, and have it shipped in the most efficient way possible.
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Salmon at Northwest Wild Products
Nearly all of the Salmon for sale in our Seafood Market is Chinook or Coho caught on the Columbia River. Northwest Wild Prodcuts is located at the West Mooring Basin and Fishermen unload their catch right outside our front door. The fish are graded for quality and weighed, then iced down in totes for short term storage. Many times an audience appears out of nowhere and people pick out their fish as it comes across the scales. Every fish is then gutted and gilled in our processing area.
After the Salmon is gilled and gutted it is re-iced. Much of the catch is sold at our Seafood Market. Some is purchased by area restaurants and other local retail seafood businesses. We also vacuum pack and freeze a portion to sell later and some is canned by a local Micro-cannery in Warrenton.
Salmon prices vary. As low as $2lb for Tule Salmon & $30lb for the 1st Spring Chinook. Generally they average $9.99lb for Fillet and $6.99lb for whole fish.