Your Guide to Fishing Regulations in Alaska

Fishing and Alaska go hand-in-gill. The fishing industry is among the most beloved pastimes for locals, tourists, and seasonal workers alike.

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  • Alaska is home to 48 fish species, including Chinook “King” Salmon, the largest salmon species in the world. If you enjoy fishing, Alaska is the best place to be. But before you go, here’s what you need to know about fishing in Alaska.

    Best Places to Fish in Alaska

    Our seasonal employees often love fishing, and they’ve helped us narrow the list of the top rivers to fish in Alaska. On your next weekend off, here are the places we recommend you explore and what you can catch there:

    Bristol Bay: Salmon
    Homer: Halibut
    Kodiak Island Archipelago: Salmon & Halibut
    Ketchikan: Salmon
    Kvichak River: Trout
    Kasilof River: Chinook Salmon
    Willow Creek Confluence: Salmon & Trout
    The Pasagshak River: Sockeye Salmon

    Getting Your Fishing License in Alaska

    Now that you have an idea of where you’d like to go fishing, the next step is buying your fishing license. In Alaska, there are three ways to get your license.

    1. You can buy one from nearly any outdoors store
    2. Your fishing guide can sell you one if you’re on a guided fishing tour
    3. You can buy one online through the Alaska Fish and Game Department

    If you’re a resident of Alaska, you can buy an annual sport fishing license for $29. For nonresidents, the license can be purchased in one of two ways. If you’re planning on fishing 1-2 times during the year, you should purchase a single day license, which starts at $25/day. However, if you’re planning on going several times throughout the year, your best bet would be to purchase the annual (non-resident) pass for $145.

    Fishing Regulations in Alaska

    You know where you’re going to fish and you’re legally allowed to keep what you reeled in. Now the big question: how many fish can you catch and are there fish species you’re not allowed to keep?

    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a full list of Alaska fishing limits and regulations for 2018. Since you’re most likely going to seek the famed Chinook or Halibut, we’ve included the regulations for those below.

    Chinook (King) Salmon

    The best times to catch Alaskan King Salmon are mid-May through mid-September. You’re allowed to catch one Chinook salmon, if it’s larger than 28 inches, between July 1st and December 31st. From April 5th through June 30th, you’re allowed to catch three Chinook Salmon, up to one per day, again, if the fish is larger than 28 inches.


    Halibut fishing is fantastic throughout the whole year. You’re allowed to catch one halibut each day, with no annual limit, so long as the fish is either 38 inches or smaller or 80 inches or larger—meaning you’re not allowed to keep the fish if it falls between 38 and 80 inches.

    Please be warned, failure to comply with these laws can result in thousands of dollars in fines, license suspension and even jail time.

    If you work in Alaska during the summer, finding a fishing buddy is relatively easy. So after you arrive on the job, be sure to ask your coworkers about their favorite fishing spots, we have plenty of employees who’d love to share their secrets with you!

    Are you ready to work in Alaska and experience the allure of America’s largest state? Take a look at our current job openings and get started!