Alaska Fishing Laws

Alaska Fishing Laws
The Alaska Fish and Game Department oversees fishing in the state and enforces the assorted laws concerning angling. For example, Alaska imposes creel and size limits on the fish you catch in its waters. They also have regulations regarding the definition of a resident of Alaska, as well as rules involving fishing licenses.

License Laws

For the purpose of obtaining a resident fishing license, Alaska law defines a resident of the state as an individual who has established a home in the state for the 12 months before he or she applies for the fishing license. Applicants applying for a resident fishing license in Alaska cannot claim residency anywhere else. Individuals moving to Alaska but not yet meeting residency requirements will have to purchase a non-resident fishing license until such time as they do.

Alaskan residents are required to have fishing licenses between the ages of 16 and 60. Residents 60 years old or older need to have an Alaska Department of Fish and Game Permanent Identification Card (PID), which amounts to a free lifetime fishing license. Non-residents under 16 do not need a fishing license, while non-residents over the age of 16 must purchase a license in order to fish. Non-residents have the option of buying an annual license or licenses that are valid for one, three, seven or 14 days. While fishing, you must have your license or PID on your person. The Alaska fishing license is valid through the end of the calendar year in which you purchased it.

Creel and Size Limits

Alaska's size is so overwhelming that the Department of Fish and Game divides the state into multiple regions, placing different size and creel limits on the various fish species in each one. For example, in the Yukon region, which cuts across the middle of the state, you may keep king a salmon only if the fish is 20 inches or longer, with a daily limit of three fish. However, you may only keep two king salmon that are 28 inches or longer. Other types of salmon have no size limit and you may possess as many as 10 per day. Species such as northern pike have no size limit, but you cannot catch more than 10 in a day. You can keep five Arctic grayling of any size.

Statewide Laws

Certain regulations in Alaska apply statewide in regards to fishing. Among them is the illegality of using a gaff on any fish that you intend to release. You cannot use explosives or poisons to disable and then capture fish in Alaskan waters. It is also unlawful to drive tracked or motorized vehicles in or across waters such as streams in which species such as char, salmon, grayling and trout migrate, unless you have a current and valid Fish Habitat permit. Ice fishermen may deploy only two lines at any one time and must attend them closely. You cannot lawfully snag fish in Alaska, and you need to let go quickly any fish that you catch with a hook anywhere but in its mouth.

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