Hunting and fishing are popular sports in the North and a way of life for many residents. Both resident and nonresident sport fishermen and hunters must be aware of rules and regulations before going out in the field. Failure to comply with state hunting and fishing regulations can result in monetary fines and loss of trophies or property.
Regulation booklets are available from the government sources listed below and may also be found at a variety of different outlets, including outdoor stores. Visitors will also find all the outdoor gear they need for fishing, hunting, boating or camping.
Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game: Located at 1255 W. 8th St., in Juneau; mailing address is P. O. Box 115526, Juneau, AK 99811; license information, phone (907) 465-2376; email. Hunting and fishing licenses are available by mail or online or through one of 1,000 license vendors throughout Alaska.
Alberta Fish & Game Association: phone 1-877-944-0313 or (780) 944-0313; visit their website; or for licenses, click on Alberta Regulations and read online or order a print copy of the fishing and hunting regulations.
British Columbia Fish & Game: Fish & Wildlife Branch, Ministry of Environment, P.O. Box 9391, Stn. Prov. Govt., Victoria, BC V8W 9M8; phone 1-877-855-3222; or email; visit for fishing regulations or for Hunting information.
NWT Fish & Game: Wildlife & Fisheries, Dept. of Environment & Natural Resources: 600, 5102–50th Ave., Yellowknife, NT X1A 3S8; phone (867) 767-9231; click through for links to hunting and fishing licenses.
Yukon Fish & Game: Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Viewing: Dept. of Environment, Fish & Wildlife Branch, Box 2703 (V-3A), Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 2C6, phone (867) 667-5652; or email. Click on the Hunting, Fishing & Trapping tab at top leads to Fishing Regulations, Hunting Regulations and other publications available to download. Hunting licenses and fishing licenses may be purchased online.
The biggest challenge for visiting fishermen is the sheer number and variety of fishing opportunities available. Many fishing guides and charter operators advertise in The MILEPOST®. The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game has hundreds of pamphlets on fishing regional waters, as well as online regional sport fishing updates. An annual resident sportfishing license is $29. Resident Senior Citizen and Disabled Veteran license applications are only available in person through local Fish and Game offices or by contacting the Fish and Game Licensing office.
A non-resident annual sport fishing license is $145. Nonresidents may also purchase 1-day sport fishing licenses ($25), 3-day licenses ($45), 7-day licenses ($70) and 14-day licenses ($105).
To fish for kings, residents and nonresidents must also purchase a King Salmon Stamp. An annual resident king salmon stamp is $10. Nonresidents fees are: $15 for a 1-day stamp, $30 for 3 days, $45 for 7 days, $75 for 14 days, and $100 for an annual nonresident King Salmon Stamp.
Salmon are the most popular sport fish in Alaska, with all 5 species of Pacific salmon found here: king (chinook), silver (coho), pink (humpy), chum (dog) and red (sockeye). Other sport fish include halibut, rainbow and steelhead, Dolly Varden and arctic char, cutthroat and brook trout, northern pike and lake trout. NOTE: For brevity, we refer to salmon within our text simply as king(s), silver(s), pinks, chum(s) and red(s); rainbow trout are simply rainbow(s).
Knowing the kind of fish and fishing you want may help plan your trip. For example, king fishing in Southeast is restricted to saltwater, but cutthroat are common on the mainland and every major island in Southeast. Alaska’s Interior has the largest arctic grayling fishery in North America. Northern pike is the most sought-after indigenous sport fish in Interior Alaska after the arctic grayling. These fish are the main sport fish species in the Tanana River drainage.
Excellent fishing is available north or south within a day’s drive of Anchorage. The Kenai Peninsula offers streams where king, red, silver, pink and chum salmon may be caught during the summer. Dolly Varden, steelhead and rainbow also run in Peninsula streams. Several lakes contain trout and landlocked salmon. In-season saltwater fishing for halibut, rockfish and several salmon species is excellent at many spots along the Peninsula and out of Whittier, Homer, Seward and Valdez. Because of the importance of fishing to Alaska, both commercially and for sport, regulations are updated yearly by the state and are strictly enforced, so it is crucial to obtain a current regulations book. There are often last-minute closures too, so you must check just prior to fishing, to ensure compliance. Go to the ADF&G home page, and click on Licenses & Permits at the bottom of the Fishing & Hunting category list.
Most fishing enthusiasts focus their trips between April and October, when the weather is milder, but anglers have great success during the colder months as well. The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game Sport Fish Division gives a run timing for all fisheries by region. Also check local newspapers for ADF&G regional fishing updates.
Where to fish is probably the most difficult choice, with the huge number of fishing destinations available. Throughout The MILEPOST® you will see the friendly little fish symbol at the end of some paragraphs. Wherever you see one, you will find a description of the fishing. Fishing spots are also listed under the “Area Fishing” heading in the Attractions section of each community.
You can fish any body of water that is legal, but local knowledge of whether or not it contains fish, helps. NOTE: We are very grateful to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game who has provided us with information on which lakes are stocked and what fisheries are along the highways.
There is a long tradition of harvesting shellfish in Alaska. However, shellfish harvested in Alaska waters can contain the toxin causing PSP (paralytic shellfish poisoning). This includes clams, mussels, oysters, cockles, geoducks and scallops. Crabmeat is not known to contain the toxin causing PSP, but crab viscera can contain unsafe levels of toxin and should be discarded. According to the Alaska Dept. of Health and Social Services, the toxin that causes PSP cannot be cooked, cleaned or frozen out of shellfish. Early signs of PSP include tingling of the lips and tongues, which may progress to tingling of fingers and toes, loss of control of arms and legs, followed by difficulty breathing. PSP can be fatal in as little as 2 hours.
Alaska Fishing Reports by Management Area
Hunting in Alaska
Nonresident hunters in Alaska must be accompanied by an Alaska-licensed guide or an Alaska resident 19 years of age or older within second degree of kindred and holding a current Alaska hunting license when hunting brown bear, Dall sheep or mountain goats. A resident annual hunting license costs $45. An annual nonresident hunting license costs $160.
A combined annual hunting and sport fishing license is $69 for residents or a cost of $405 for nonresidents. Nonresidents may also purchase a combined annual hunting and one-day fishing license for $185, annual hunting and three-day license for $205, 7 days ($230) and 14 days ($265).
There are 26 game management units in Alaska and wide variation in hunting seasons and bag limits for various species. Check for special regulations in each unit.
Big game includes black and brown/grizzly bears, deer, elk, mountain goats, moose, wolves and wolverines, caribou, Dall sheep, musk-oxen and bison. Big game tags are required for residents hunting musk-ox and brown/grizzly bear and for nonresidents hunting any big game animal. These nonrefundable, nontransferable metal locking tags (valid for the calendar year) must be purchased prior to the taking of the animal. A tag may be used for any species for which the tag fee is of equal or lesser value. Examples of nonresident tag prices: brown/grizzly bear/$1,000, Dall sheep/$850, and mountain goat/$800.
Small game animals include grouse, ptarmigan and hares. Fur animals that may be hunted are the coyote, fox and lynx. Waterfowl are also abundant. There is no recreational hunting of polar bear, walrus or other marine animals.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Wildlife Conservation has an entire web section devoted to providing information for hunters/trappers. Find “Trapping” in the Hunting subhead menu.