Renowned for its incredible varieties of fish and some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery, Alaska promises an unforgettable angling experience!
Home to freshwater, saltwater, and even ice fishing opportunities, the state is guaranteed to give you a perfect day out fishing whether you’re throwing your line in for some adventure, relaxation, or freshly caught dinner.
Regardless of your preferences, ensuring you have the correct Alaskan Fishing License before you start fishing is essential.
Not only is it a legal requirement, but having a fishing license also supports the state’s efforts to maintain and conserve its incredible fish populations.
With so many choices available for you, deciding where and what to fish can be overwhelming.
We’ve created this guide to make it simple to understand what fishing licenses you will need; that way, you can quickly get on with the exciting part! We’ll cover:
- The people who need a fishing license
- The regular resident, non-resident, and special fishing licenses available in Alaska
- How much a license costs and the different options available to you
- Online and offline options for buying a fishing license.
Let’s dive right in!
In most cases, both visitors and residents are required to obtain a sport fishing license to catch fish anywhere in Alaska.
What license you require will vary depending on your residency status and whether you hope to catch fish with annual harvest limits, such as rainbow trout or king salmon.
Special licenses apply to some groups such as military personnel and senior citizens. You can read more details about these special licenses later in this article!
There are a few groups who don’t need to purchase a license to fish in Alaska, and one such category of exemptions is related to age. In particular, residents younger than 18 and non-residents younger than 16 don’t need a fishing license!
Resident seniors (those of 60+ years of age) can also participate in sport or personal fishing activities without a license as long as they possess a free ADF&G (Alaska Department of Fish and Game) identification card.
These groups don’t also have to purchase a king salmon stamp to fish for king salmon.
However, they must still have a Sport Fishing Harvest Record card for species that have annual harvest limits.
This record can be found for free on the ADF&G website or by visiting the office in person.
It’s important for most residents to note that fishing for personal use still requires a sport fishing license.
Meanwhile, residents who fish for subsistence use don’t need a license. In both cases, different gear rules and limits apply, which can still vary in different areas.
Since there are various different types of fishing licenses in Alaska, it’s important to know which category you fall in.
The right fishing license for you depends on your residency status, how long you intend to fish, and even the type of fish you want to catch.
For residents 18 years and above who are fishing for sport or personal use, a Sport Fishing License is required.
Those who are older than 60 may be exempt, but they must possess an ADF&G identification card.
Alaska nonresident fishing licenses are also available for visitors coming into the state. Nonresidents who are 16 years old and older must have a valid non-resident fishing license.
While Alaska fishing licenses typically have a validity period of one year, there are still options for visitors who are only staying for a shorter time.
Non-residents may buy fishing licenses that are valid for 1, 3, 7, or 14 days. These can also be combined with a hunting license if you’re keen to also give hunting a go.
Note that if you’re a foreigner or not a resident of the US, you can still purchase short-term non-resident fishing licenses, but no hunting licenses will be made available.
If you’re interested in catching any of Alaska’s prized king salmon, you need to have king salmon stamps. Fortunately, these stamps are available for both residents and non-residents.
Although these stamps are generally for annual use, short-term stamps are also available for 1, 3, 7, or 14 days.
If you are a disabled veteran and a resident of Alaska, you may be eligible for a complimentary license.
To enjoy this privilege, disabled veterans must be physically in Alaska to apply and should be certified 50% disabled or more.
Exclusions do apply, and you can be disqualified on a number of grounds, such as having a resident fishing license in a different state.
Residents who are actively serving in the National Guard or the military are eligible for a complimentary hunting and fishing license as recognition for their service.
Non-residents on active duty and permanently stationed in Alaska for less than 12 months (as well as their dependents) can receive a special military license. This license can be bought at the same rates as resident licenses.
On the other hand, non-residents who meet the same requirements above and are stationed for more than 12 months can directly purchase a resident fishing license.
The annual, low-income licenses are also an option available for families who have a gross annual income below the US Department of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines.
These guidelines differ between household sizes and take into account all sources of income for all members of the family.
If eligible, low-income residents can receive annual licenses for only $5, which is a major discount from the typical rate. For the latest poverty guidelines, check here.
Residents who cannot or struggle to fish for themselves may have another resident fish for them. The residents who are eligible for this privilege include those with physical or developmental disabilities, as well as legally blind ones or those over the age of 65.
Additionally, residents who possess either a disabled veteran license, a license for the blind, or a low-income license are not required to possess a king salmon stamp.
Below, you’ll find the prices for each of the licenses we’ve discussed above.
|Sport Fishing License
|Sport Fishing License for the Blind
|Low Income Sport Fishing, Hunting, and Trapping License
|King Salmon Stamp
|Annual Sport Fishing License
|1-day Sport Fishing License
|3-day Sport Fishing License
|7-day Sport Fishing License
|14-day Sport Fishing License
|Annual King Salmon Stamp
|1-day King Salmon Stamp
|3-day King Salmon Stamp
|7-day King Salmon Stamp
|14-day King Salmon Stamp
|Annual Sport Fishing License
|Annual King Salmon Stamp
If you have a nearby local office of the ADF&G, dropping by to buy your license will save you a lot of time.
As a plus, if you have any questions about your fishing license, the office will be more than equipped to fully answer them.
Don’t have any nearby ADF&G office? Not to worry — you can visit your local vendors and see if they’re authorized to sell licenses!
Currently, there are about 800 vendors scattered across the state, with some even operating in the lower 48 states.
Like in many other states, Walmart stores in Alaska also offer fishing licenses, as well as a variety of supplies that you might need during your fishing trip.
Because of how convenient it is, many people choose to visit Walmart instead of buying their licenses elsewhere.
When in doubt, you can also check in with your county clerk’s office and see if they have licenses available. If there aren’t any during your visit, the county clerk can always direct you to nearby authorized vendors or the nearest ADF&G office.
Perhaps the easiest way of getting your hands on a license is by purchasing one from the ADF&G website.
All you need to do is sign up, select your license, and pay! This is the best option for those who are on the go or don’t have a lot of time on their hands to physically visit an office or an authorized vendor.
Alaska has also already released the ADFG Mobile App, a handy tool that’s available for both Android and iOS devices.
Although it’s still in the initial stages and will receive updates in the future, you can already start applying for some permits, such as a personal use fishing license.
Some authorized vendors also offer licenses online so you don’t have to visit the store in person.
This adds a layer of convenience that also allows you to bundle other relevant supplies you might need for a day out fishing.
Alaska fishing licenses are valid from the date of purchase and only until the end of the calendar year. If it’s your first time venturing to the state with fishing in mind, try going on guided fishing trips as they’ll make sure you have the correct fishing license.
In Alaska, residents below 18 years old and non-residents below 16 years old can usually fish without needing a license.
However, if kids want to catch fish with annual limits, they must have a Sport Fishing Harvest Record card on them.
Alaska currently doesn’t have a designated free fishing day.
Instead, non-residents can freely throw their reel in virtually throughout the year, as long as they are below 16 years old and comply with the state’s fishing regulations, such as having a harvest record card.
Aside from kids, everyone else must have a license on them. You might think that resident disabled veterans and residents on active military duty don’t need a license, but they actually have the privilege of receiving complimentary licenses. They would, however, still need to apply for one.