Alaska Fishing License: How to Buy & How Much They Cost

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Alaska Fishing License Feature Image

Alaska is home to some of the finest recreational fishing on the planet. From catching huge King Salmon on the Kenai Peninsula to fishing for supersized Pacific Halibut offshore, Alaska is a fisherman’s paradise.

Alaskan residents and the Department of Fish and Game strive to preserve the quality of the fishing with licensing restrictions and bag and size limits.

It’s important before you plan a trip to fish in Alaska, or if you are an Alaskan resident about to take up the great hobby of fishing, to be aware of what kind of license you required.

We’ve simplified this task by breaking down exactly which license you need for your situation and how much it costs. We hope you find this useful.

Who Needs a Fishing License In Alaska?

Fishing for Alaska’s enormous King Salmon attracts anglers from all over the US and the world

All residents age 18 or older and nonresidents age 16 or older must purchase and possess a sport fishing license to participate in Alaska sport and personal use fisheries. In addition, a king salmon stamp is required to fish for king salmon (except king salmon in stocked lakes). These laws apply in both fresh and marine waters.

Who is Exempt from Needing a Fishing License in Alaska?

  • Alaska residents age 60 or older holding ADF&G Identification Cards
  • Resident anglers younger than 18
  • Nonresident anglers younger than 16
  • Resident senior and disabled veterans holding ADF&G Identification Cards

Alaska Identification Card applications are available online 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 in order to fish for king salmon.

A nice Alaskan chum salmon taken by a kayak angler

Fishing License Types in Alaska

Alaska offers four types of fishing. Sport fishing is open to anyone in virtually all of Alaska, while commercial, subsistence, and personal use fishing are limited to certain areas, certain types of gear, or just to Alaska residents.

Alaska also issues special permits for harvesting salmon. This particular type of license is called a King Salmon Stamp, and it is required for anyone who plans on fishing for salmon in their natural habitat. Salmon that are stocked in lakes are exempt from the King Salmon Stamp requirement.

Only residents can request a subsistence or personal use license. Non-residents are allowed to apply for sports licenses or commercial licenses.

Before checking the license or permit requirements you can avail, it will help if you first check the fishing open to you. The chart below helps you determine the ones applicable to you. 

If you are currently…CommercialSportSubsistencePersonal Use
…living outside of the State of AlaskaYESYESNONO
…living in Alaska, but have been here less than one yearYESYESNONO
…living in Alaska, and have been here for at least one yearYESYESYESYES
If you are fishing…CommercialSportSubsistencePersonal Use
…in a nonsubsistence area. These include the densely populated areas around Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, Ketchikan, Wasilla, Palmer, Kenai, and ValdezYESYESNOYES
…in other areas of AlaskaYESYESYESMAYBE
If you are …CommercialSportSubsistencePersonal Use
…keeping your fish for personal or family consumptionYESYESYESYES
…bartering or trading your fish with other peopleYESNOYESNO
…selling your fishYESNOMAYBENO
If you are catching your fish with…CommercialSportSubsistencePersonal Use
…rods and reelsNOYESMAYBENO
…dipnetsNONOYESYES
…seine nets or gillnetsYESNOYESYES
…other gearYESMAYBEYESYES

Fishing Licenses and Permits

Visitors to Alaska need a non resident license, while anglers from the state buy resident licenses

Most Alaska fisheries require license or permits. The following are the four different fishing licenses and permits you can avail. 

Commercial Fishing License/Permit

The commercial fishing industry of Alaska represents a very important part of the economy and fishery resources worldwide. As with any renewable resource participants must follow practices that support sustainability. Proper licensing, permitting and reporting is essential to assist the managing agencies to ensure that we all get to enjoy these resources for years to come. 

Click here to learn more details and to assist you in ensuring that all licensing requirements for Commercial Fishing have been met.  

Sport Fishing License

In Alaska, a license is required in order to participate in hunting/trapping/fishing, personal use fishing, commercial fishing, and sport fish or hunt guiding. Several different licenses are available for residents, non-residents, members of the military, residents who are disabled veterans, and resident seniors who are 60 years or older. Most licenses, as well as king salmon and Alaska duck stamps can be obtained online.

Click here to know more about Sport Fishing and Hunting License

Subsistence and Personal Use Fishing License and Permit

All Alaska residents, and ONLY Alaska residents, are eligible to participate in both Subsistence and Personal Use fisheries. Subsistence and Personal Use fisheries are managed under different regulations. A valid Resident Sport Fishing License is required to participate in Personal Use fisheries, but is not required to participate in Subsistence fisheries.

Click here to learn more about Subsistence and Personal Use

Source: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishing.matrix

The full list of prices for fishing and hunting licenses may be found online here. Here is a list of some of the more common fishing licenses: 

Resident Licenses

This license is available to Alaska Resident who is physically present in Alaska with the intent to remain indefinitely and make a home here, has maintained that person’s domicile in Alaska for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding this application for a license, and is not claiming residency or obtaining benefits under a claim of residency in another state, territory, or country; a member of the military service or U.S. Coast Guard who has been permanently stationed in Alaska for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding this application for a license; or a dependent of a resident member of the military service or U.S. Coast Guard who has lived in Alaska for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding this application for a license. A person who does not otherwise qualify as a resident may not qualify by virtue of an interest in an Alaska business.

Fishing License Type (Resident)Price
Annual Sport Fishing License$20
Resident Annual Sport Fishing License for the Blind$0.50
Annual Low Income Sport Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping License$5
ADF&G Permanent Senior ID Card (60 or older)Free
ADF&G Disabled Veteran Card: FreeFree

Nonresident Licenses

These licenses are applicable to all visitors to Alaska who want to fish from other states or countries. Non resident licenses are typically more expensive than resident licenses and some of the discounts and exemptions that apply to veterans, the disabled and seniors don’t usually apply to non resident license holders.

Fishing License Type (Nonresident)Price
1 Day Sport Fishing License$15.00
3 Day Sport Fishing License$30.00
7 Day Sport Fishing License$45.00
14 Day Sport Fishing License$75.00
Annual Sport Fishing License$100.00

King Salmon Stamps

Fishing License Type (Nonresident)Price
Resident Annual King Salmon Stamp$10.00
Nonresident 1 Day King Salmon Stamp$30.00
Nonresident 7 Day King Salmon Stamp$45.00
Nonresident 14 Day King Salmon Stamp$75.00

Source: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=huntlicense.prices

Who Can Purchase Discounted Alaska Fishing Licenses?

There are discounts and exemptions available for resident seniors, veterans and those on low incomes

Alaska offers special licenses for resident seniors, resident disabled veterans and several options that accommodate the special needs of Alaska elderly and disabled hunters and anglers. These range from free or low cost licenses to exemptions from certain regulations that allow meaningful access to hunting opportunity to authorizing someone else to harvest game or fish on your behalf.

Alaska residents who are 60 years of age or older and meet the Department of Fish and Game’s residency definition are eligible for a permanent identification card in order to hunt, sport fish, or trap for free. Also, they are not required to purchase a king salmon stamp to fish for king salmon or an Alaska state conservation stamp to hunt waterfowl.

Resident Low Income Licenses

To be eligible for a low income license, a person must meet the Alaska residency definition. The annual fishing, hunting and trapping license fee is $5.00 for a resident who has annual family or household income equal to or less than the most recent poverty guidelines for the state set by the United States Department of Health and Human Services for the year preceding application.

Special Fishing Licenses in Alaska

To view the complete list of Alaska fishing and hunting licenses including all other special licenses, just visit the link: Licenses, Stamps, and Tags

Proxy Fishing

Alaska’s proxy laws allow Alaska residents to harvest fish and shellfish for other Alaska residents who meet at least one of the following four criteria:
1) 65 years of age or older;
2) legally blind (affidavit required);
3) 70% or greater physically disabled (affidavit required).
4) Developmentally disabled (affidavit required)

These are the only four conditions for which proxy fishing is allowed. If none of these conditions apply, then proxy fishing is not allowed.

Alaska Fishing Licenses FAQs

Where Can I Buy an Alaska Fishing License?

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Alaska fishing license can be purchased through state offices that  are open Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm, with the exception of state holidays.

Alaska residents age 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. Alaska Identification Card applications are available online and at Fish and Game offices.

Online
You can buy your license online and receive it immediately after your purchase.

In Person at Various Outlets
Alaska fishing licenses can be bought at most sporting goods and grocery stores in Alaska, as well as Walmart stores.

What Happens with Alaska Fishing License Fees?

Licensing fee benefits the Division of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) which is one of the seven divisions in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G). They are charged with managing Alaska’s wildlife. DWC has management responsibility for all wildlife except marine mammals.
DWC also engages in hunter education and training, and operates three shooting ranges. A variety of other education and outreach efforts include education programs to minimize human-wildlife conflicts, teaming with teachers and schools for science education, and providing information to Alaska’s thousands of visitors, many of whom come to hunt and many others who come to view wildlife. The department also partners with other groups such as the Alaska Outdoor Heritage Foundation to offer outdoors skills clinics such as Becoming an Outdoors Woman.

Does Alaska Have Reciprocal License arrangements with neighboring states?

There is an existing reciprocal Alaska sport fishing license program for residents of Yukon Territory.
A resident of the Yukon Territory, Canada may obtain a sport fishing license and anadromous king salmon tag under this section for the same fee that is charged a resident of Alaska. Check out our state-by-state guides to fishing license costs, discounts for seniors and veterans and where to buy.

Does Alaska offer Lifetime Fishing Licenses

No, Alaska does not offer lifetime fishing licenses. 

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AUTHOR
Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water.