What You Should Know About Alaska Fishing Laws

What You Should Know About Alaska Fishing Laws

July 30, 2019

Here’s a quick overview of some of the most important information you should know about Alaska fishing laws before fishing in the state. A comprehensive overview of all fishing laws in Alaska can be found at www.adfg.alaska.gov.


Licenses are required for fishing in Alaska, whether for personal use or sport fishing. Licenses are available at a variety of different prices for residents, non-residents, military members and seniors. Residents under the age of 18 do not need a sport fishing license. The license is good from the date of purchase until December 31 of the purchase year, unless the license says otherwise.

Stream crossing

Crossing streams or rivers may be required for hunting or fishing activities. If there is knowledge that the stream supports anadromous fish, driving through the gravels can disturb migration and affect fish at a sensitive stage of their life. Therefore, crossing the body of water may require a fish habitat permit, depending on the time of year and manner of crossing.

Fishing in bear country

Anyone fishing in bear country is responsible for their own safety. Fishers should avoid making it easy for bears to access food or food containers. This means keeping a clean camp, properly storing items that could attract bears up high and away from camp and properly disposing of trash by burning it and dispersing the ashes, or by storing it in a packable, bear-resistant trash receptacle.

After catching a fish you will harvest, kill it immediately and bleed it in the water to clear the blood, which will help you avoid attracting the attention of bears.

Requirements for guides

All sport fishing guides and guide businesses must have annual registrations that they keep current. Sport fish guiding businesses and their individual sport fishing guides must register separately, but if the owner is also a guide or is the only guide, then they do not need to double register. Any assistants, deckhands or others who work under the supervision of a registered fishing guide in Alaska and on the same vessel are exempt from guide registration requirements.

People interested in looking up information about potential guide businesses and their credentials can access a database run by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for more information. However, while every effort is made to keep this information up to date, there are some circumstances in which it is difficult to do so, so customers should make sure to do their own research into any business they’re interested in fishing with.

Creel surveys

In some cases, anglers in Alaska can expect to undergo creel surveys after their fishing trip, in which technicians ask questions aimed at determining the numbers of fish caught, the species and the fishing time required to catch the fish. This information is used to determine angler participation and catch rate in the state, as well as general harvest amounts.

For more information about Alaska fishing laws, contact Phantom Tri-River Charters today with any questions. We look forward to welcoming you to Alaska for your next trip!

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