Fishing Reports

Salmon chowder easy and delicious

By Capt. Andy Martin – The thrill of catching hard-fighting king and coho salmon is a top draw to the Oregon Coast. Salmon also are highly prized because they are so delicious to eat. Whether grilled, baked or smoked, salmon are one of the most popular fish to eat. They also make great chowder.

Salmon chowder is one of my favorite ways to enjoy salmon, and was one of my daughter’s favorite seafood dishes as she was growing up. This chowder recipe was perfected by fishing guides in remote Alaska, who would prepare the tasty dish for their clients on the banks of the river after they caught their first fish of the day. The guide would cook the chowder for lunch while clients continued to fish. This chowder is a great way to enjoy salmon year round, as it can be made from fresh or frozen salmon. Canned or smoked salmon can also be substituted.

When I made this one the banks of the river in Alaska, where some fresh ingredients were not readily available, I used cans of evaporated milk, which work fine, but half and half (or even heavy cream) is better. Ingredients listed here are a good starting point, but you may want a little more salt and pepper, and vary amounts of potatoes, celery and onion (I never carried a measuring cup or measuring spoons in my gear bag during guided fishing trips!)

Alaska Guider Chowder

5-6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled, grease reserved

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced onion

2 cups cubed potatoes

1 cup water (or chicken broth)

Pinch of flour

2 tablespoons dried dill

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1 teaspoon garlic power

1-2 pounds salmon, bones and skin removed, cut into smaller chunks

2 cups half and half, or heavy cream

1 can corn, drained,   or 1 1/2 cup frozen corn

Bacon is a key ingredient in salmon chowder.

Start by cooking several pieces of bacon. Save the greese. The bacon adds flavor to the chowder.

Chopped celery and onion.

In a large pot, cook chopped onion and celery with butter or olive oil. One small onion and a few stalks of celery is all that is needed.

Add potatoes, and season with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon pepper.

Add four to six small to medium skinned, chopped up potatoes. Stir in chopped bacon, bacon grease, salt, pepper, lemon pepper and garlic. Add a pinch of flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

Add just enough water to almost cover potatoes.

Add enough water to almost cover the potatoes. Be careful not to add too much, especially if you like thicker chowder. Add a generous amount of dried dill weed. Cook the potatoes until almost done.

Add raw salmon to the chowder.

Just as potatoes are almost done, add chopped up raw salmon. Remove the skin and bones before adding to the chowder. Stir and continue to cook over medium heat.

The salmon will crumble to small pieces as it cooks.

As the salmon cooks, it will break apart into small pieces. Continue cooking until salmon is done.

Add frozen or a can of corn, drained.

Once the salmon is cooked, add a can of drained corn, or a bag of frozen corn. Stir well.

Add one to two cups of half and half.

The final step is adding one to two cups of half and half. Heat, stirring frequently, until chowder is hot.

A dash of Tabasco sauce adds a little kick to the finished chowder.

Enjoy the chowder with a dash of Tabasco sauce, or a dab of butter. Serve with warm bread or crackers.

To catch a salmon on the Oregon Coast to make this delicious salmon chowder, visit

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