What Fishing License Do You Need to Fish in Alaska?

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With more than 12,000 rivers and three million lakes, there are plenty of opportunities to fish in Alaska. However, you better have the proper Alaska fishing license before casting your line. If you don’t, you could end up in hot water.

Unfortunately, navigating the various options and legal requirements can be tricky. We want to help you stay on the right side of the law and avoid legal trouble.

Today, we’re diving into the frigid waters to help you figure out which Alaska fishing license you need.

Let’s get started!

What Is a Fishing License?

A fishing license is an official document giving the holder the legal right to engage in fishing activities within a specific water body or region. They help authorities regulate and manage fishing activities to protect habitats and fish populations.

In addition, revenue generated from the selling of fishing licenses helps to contribute to a variety of conservation efforts.

Casting into public waters will almost always require a license. Authorities in Alaska take these offenses very seriously. If caught fishing without one, you can expect severe fines, jail time, and bans for applying for future permits. If you ask us, it’s not a risk worth taking.

The Different Types of Fishing Licenses to Fish in Alaska

If you plan to do any fishing in Alaska, a fishing license will be required. However, it can be challenging to know which one to get. Alaska has four types of fishing: commercial, sport, and personal or subsistence use. 

Generally, most nonresident anglers fall under the sport fishing license. With tourism playing a significant role in the Alaskan economy, many guided fishing services exist. They’ll typically do their part to work with you and anyone else on the trip to fulfill the requirements.

A sign in Alaska that says "Commercial Fishing in Seward" and shows the many different types of fish and shellfish you can catch.

Fishing License Prices for Nonresidents in Alaska

There are several fishing licenses available for nonresidents in Alaska. Prices range from $15 for single-day adventures to $100 for an annual pass. Those who plan to fish for King Salmon will require a unique stamp ranging from $15 to $100.

Alaska does offer a nonresident military fishing license for $20. The King Salmon stamp for these individuals costs only $30 for the year. However, these discounts are only available to active duty members of the armed forces stationed in Alaska.

Pro Tip: Did you know you can get a fishing license at Walmart? It’s easy, and this article will show you how to get one!

The Best Times to Go Fishing in Alaska

While fishing is available year-round in Alaska, the best time is May through September. The weather tends to be warmer and more predictable during this time. Trying to fish during winter can be challenging as you battle the extreme cold.

Summer is the busiest time of year for tourism throughout the state. As a result, fishing and other guide services will be in demand. Make reservations far in advance if you plan to visit during peak times. This can increase the chances of you enjoying the best possible experience.

Close up of fish under a sign in Seward, Alaska.

Can You Fish in Alaska Without a Fishing License?

Alaska offers very few exemptions for fishing without a license. One group that’s exempt from the rule is any Alaskan resident over the age of 60. It’s important to note that you must be a legal resident of Alaska to enjoy this benefit.

The only other exemption for fishing without a license is for minors. Youth who are residents of Alaska only need to get a permit once they turn 18. However, nonresident children require one once they turn 16.

Where to Buy Your Fishing License

If you want to get your Alaska fishing license, it’s relatively easy to do. Let’s take a look at where you can go to get it and start casting.

Local Retailers

Because fishing is such a big deal in Alaska, there are plenty of places to purchase your license. You can visit various sporting goods stores, bait shops, and other retailers to get the appropriate permit. Many big-box retailers will also have services available.

Visiting a local retailer can be a great option and one that we highly encourage. Many of these locations sell a large number of fishing licenses every year. As a result, they’re very familiar with the rules and regulations. They can help ensure you purchase the proper license for your adventures.

Pro Tip: If you enjoy fishing during your travels, you might want to consider purchasing a travel fishing rod for your next trip. They’re lighter and more compact than a standard rod!

A man fly fishing in Alaska legally with a fishing license.


Online is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to get your Alaska fishing license. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s online store makes it easy to complete the transaction.

All you have to do is select the permit that you want to purchase, fill in the blanks with your information, input your credit card, and hit submit.

If all goes as planned, you can complete the process and start legally fishing in minutes. However, it’s important to remember that you should only use this method if you know what you need. The last thing you want is to select the wrong options or make a mistake and waste your money.

A sign that says "Scheffler Creek Salmon" and pictures the five different types of salmon with descriptions that you can catch around the area.

Get Your Alaska Fishing License and Catch a Big One

The stories we hear from others regarding their fishing adventures in Alaska are remarkable. Even if some of them are stretching the truth, it’s some of the best fishing in the world.

If you enjoy fishing, do yourself a favor and get an Alaska fishing license. You may set the hook and return with a trophy catch as a souvenir.

Have you gone fishing in Alaska? 

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