Everything You Need To Know About Fishing Licenses in Alaska!

The cold climate in Alaska and the jaw-dropping mountainous and marine view that the State offers makes it not only one of the best tourist destinations in the United States but also one of the most sought after fishing destination.

If you want to go on an adventure to fish Kings on the Kenai River, grayling on the North Slope or trophy halibut in the Salt, Alaska is a perfect place for you. However, fishes and marine animals are considered limited resources. It is the reason why there is a need to regulate fishing, whether for sporting events or solely for recreation. 

The agency tasked with regulating fishing activities in Alaska is the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G), and they have set up specific rules and regulations that anglers, residents, or tourists alike should follow. These rules are in place to prevent abuse and to make sure that fishing activities across the State are sustainable and fair for everybody. 

The ADF&G isn't the only government body in charge of taking care of the seas and rivers in the context of fishing. The rules and policies approved by the ADF&G are implemented by a special police force called Alaska Wildlife Troopers. As troopers, they are responsible for making sure that anglers are not violating the regulations set by the ADF&G. They are the ones who issue tickets, make arrests, and conduct an investigation on fishing-related violations. 

But of course, all policies are designed in such a way that they become self-regulating. And that means the implementation of rules falls on the hands of everyone.

If you are planning to go on a fishing adventure in Alaska, you also have to be self-regulating; and you can start by getting yourself a fishing license. This article will discuss everything you need to know about securing an Alaskan fishing license as well as other relevant rules that everyone needs to follow to maintain the sustainability of fishing in the Alaskan waters. 

Who are eligible to fish in Alaska? 

In general, fishing in Alaska is open for everyone -- residents and non-residents are permitted to fish in their waters as long as they have the necessary documents, licenses, and stamps to conduct their activities. It is important to note that Alaska offers four types of fishing. Sportfishing is open to anyone in virtually all of Alaska. At the same time, commercial, subsistence, and personal use fishing are limited to certain areas, certain types of gear, or just to Alaska residents.

Individuals living outside the State of Alaska or living in Alaska for less than a year are eligible to fish for sports and commercial purposes but not for subsistence and personal use. Meanwhile, residents living in the State for more than three years are suitable for all types of fishing licenses.

Furthermore, the method of catching fishes and the purpose of fishing also have different rules to follow, and some practices may only be used in certain types of fishing. Each of these types, however, requires specific licenses that you can procure for a fee. 

How to get an Alaskan Fishing License? 

The Alaskan fishing license can be procured easily -- they're usually readily available at most sporting goods stores, and Fish and Game offices. You can also purchase one online by following this link: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/Store/Cart/ViewCart/

Different Types of Fishing Licenses and Stamps in Alaska and how much it cost to get them

While procuring Alaskan fishing license and stamps can be very easy, the most complicated part of it is knowing which type of permit and stamp you need to get for yourself before you can start fishing legally.

There are two basic types of fishing licenses in Alaska: short term and annual fishing licenses. 

Short-term Licenses

Short term licenses are reserved for those who want to go on fishing trips for a short period. Depending on the duration that you plan to go on your fishing trips, you can purchase any of the following sport fishing licenses:

  1. 1-Day Sport Fishing License ($25.00)
  2. 3-Day Sport Fishing License ($45.00)
  3. 7-Day Sport Fishing License ($70.00)
  4. 14-Day Sport Fishing License ($105.00)

It is also important to note that when buying short term licenses, you need to indicate the date and time that the grants are intended for. 

Annual Sport Fishing Licenses

If you plan to fish in the waters of Alaska for more than two weeks, then the best license for you to get are the annual fishing licenses offered by the State. For extended coverage of your license, purchasing an Annual Sport Fish & Hunt License will only cost $305.00. 

It is worth noting that depending on your residency and age, different licenses may be required. All residents aged 18 or older and nonresidents aged 16 or older, MUST purchase and possess a sport fishing license to participate in Alaska sport and personal use fisheries. For Alaska residents aged 60 or older and Alaska disabled veterans who maintain their residency, may participate in sport fisheries without a sport fishing license, but must apply for and possess an ADF&G Identification Card. 

Other Special Licenses and Stamps 

Aside from fishing licenses, there other stamps and cards that needed to be purchased for particular locations or types of fish. Here's a summary of what you need to know:

Annual King Salmon Stamp

To be allowed to fish king salmon, due to its scarcity in supply and in a move to maintain sustainability, anglers are required to purchase an annual king salmon stamp. The stamp costs $100.00 per year and can also be purchased online and at most sporting goods stores, and at Fish and Game offices. Holders of ADF&G Identification Card and resident anglers under 18 years of age and nonresidents under 16 years of age DO NOT need to purchase a king salmon stamp to fish for king salmon.

Sport Fishing Harvest Record Card

To participate in sport fisheries with annual harvest limits, resident anglers younger than 18, nonresident anglers younger than 16, as well as resident senior and disabled veterans holding ADF&G Identification Cards must obtain a free Sport Fishing Harvest Record Card. The record card can be downloaded for free from this link: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=sportlicense.main

You can also get a free copy from license vendors, and at Fish and Game offices

Other Fishing Regulations in Alaska

Other rules are implemented on fishing in Alaska. Every fishing season, the State is enforcing different weight and size limits. Currently, the rules include: 

Alaskan Resident (All-Southeast Marine Waters)

  • The resident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length.


  • The nonresident bag and possession limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length;
  • From January 1 through June 30, the annual limit is three king salmon 28 inches or greater in length;
  • From July 1 through December 31, the annual limit is one king salmon, 28 inches or greater in length, and any king salmon harvested from January 1 through June 30 will apply toward the one fish annual limit;
  • Immediately upon landing and retaining a king salmon, a nonresident must enter the species, date, and location, in ink, on the back of their sport fishing license or a nontransferable harvest record.

For 2020, there has been no announcement yet, but you can always revert to the ADF&G website for updates. You can also read an updated king salmon regulations here: https://www.aksportingjournal.com/southeast-alaska-king-salmon-regulations-for-2020/.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What locations do you fish out of?

Alaska offers a variety of options where anglers can enjoy and waters to fish out of. The state has salt-water boats located in Homer, Seward, and Ninilchik, as well as to riverboats that run on the Kasilof and Kenai.

Q: How many fish can you catch?

The fishing limits vary depending on the species and locations. For more information, you can always visit the state fishing guidebook by following this link: https://www.aksportingjournal.com/southeast-alaska-king-salmon-regulations-for-2020

Q: How to contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG)?

There are different ways to contact the ADFG. The easiest way is to go to their website (adfg.alaska.gov). You can also follow this link to see the contact information of each relevant department in the organization: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=contacts.subject. Furthermore, you can also visit one of their offices all across the state. For site locations, this link would help https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=contacts.main.

Q: What is a Child Crewmember License?

Child crewmember licenses are available for residents and non-residents for ages ten years or younger at a discounted rate.

Q: What happens to lost/destroyed license/tag/stamp?

If your sport or commercial crewmember license, big game locking tag, king salmon, or duck stamp is lost/destroyed, you may purchase a duplicate for $5.00. You can visit a licensed vendor or Department of Fish and Game office, and request a duplicate license/tag/stamp.