Fishing Facts (FAQ)

So you know that an Alaska fishing vacation is in your future but you still have a few questions about what to expect when you arrive in the 49th state? The FAQs on this page should help you make the most of your vacation.


1. Where can I get a fishing license?

It is probably easiest to wait until you arrive on the Kenai Peninsula to purchase your fishing license, as you also can pick up a copy of the most current regulations. A few of the locations where a license can be purchased:

In Kenai: Tesoro Express gas stations, Holiday Station stores, Safeway

In Soldotna: Tesoro Express gas station, Holiday Station store, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware

In Ninilchik: Ninilchik Trading Company

In Homer: Safeway, Ulmer's Drug and Hardware, and most fishing charter businesses

In Seward: Safeway, Bay Traders True Value, and most fishing charter businesses

Or you can purchase fishing licenses online at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

2. Does everyone need a fishing license?   

If you are a nonresident and 16 years of age or over you will need to purchase a fishing license. If you are a resident of Alaska between the ages of 16 and 59 you will need to purchase a fishing license.

Anyone under the age of 16 is not required to buy a fishing license.

Alaska residents 60 years of age or over do not need to purchase a fishing license. These persons may apply for a lifetime license for fishing and hunting. This license is called an ADF&G Permanent Identification Card (PID). Application forms are available at Fish and Game and online at

3. What kind of fishing license do I need, and how much will it cost?   

A fishing license will cover any shellfish or finfish in fresh or salt waters, except king salmon. To fish for a king salmon you will need to purchase a king salmon stamp in addition to your license. In order for your king salmon stamp to be valid, you must sign your name in ink across the stamp and put it on the back of your fishing license.

(From Alaska Department of Fish and Game ADF&G regulations)

Resident license fees:

+Resident annual sport fishing license, $24
+Resident annual sport fishing license for the blind, 25 cents
+Resident annual - income restricted, $5

Nonresident license fees:

+1-day sport fishing license, $20
+3-day sport fishing license, $35
+7-day sport fishing license, $55
+14-day sport fishing license, $80
+Annual nonresident sport fishing license, $145 (military $24)

King Salmon Stamps:

Most anglers sport fishing for sea-run king salmon must have in their possession a current year's king salmon stamp.

In order for the stamp to be valid, anglers must sign their name, in ink, across the face of the king salmon stamp and stick the stamp onto the back of their current year's sport fishing license.

King Salmon Stamp Fees:

+Resident king stamp, $10 annually
+Nonresident 1-day stamp, $10
+Nonresident 3-day stamp, $20
+Nonresident 7-day stamp, $30
+Nonresident 14-day stamp, $50
+Nonresident annual stamp, $100
+Military annual stamp, $20

4. How can I get a fishing guide?   

There are a number of guide services found in the advertiser's index.

The Kenai River Professional Guide Association ( maintains a list of member guides, as well.

5. How do I know if I have picked the right guide for me?   

Be sure to prepare some questions to ask prospective companies before choosing a guide. Here are some suggested questions:

+Do you have a valid Coast Guard license?
+Are you insured?
+Is the cabin big enough for all the passengers (deep sea fishing)? Is it heated? Is there a toilet?
+What size is the boat?
+How long have you been in business?
+Do you have any local references?
+How much time will we spend fishing and how much travel time?
+What is included in your rate? Do you provide lunch?
+How much of a deposit do you require? What if I cancel? What if the trip is canceled due to bad weather?
+Do you offer a child discount? What age should my child be to go on a charter?

6. Where can I buy fishing gear?  

While a guided tour affords the luxury of much of your necessary equipment being provided by your hosts, many local stores offer fishing equipment. You can rent or purchase most equipment, from tackle to hip waders to children's fishing poles.

Some popular shopping locations for gear include Three Bears in Kenai, Silvertip Net and Gear on Kalifornsky Beach Road on the way toward Kasilof, Ken's Tackle in Soldotna or Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing.

7. Where can I go bank fishing?   

The Kenai Peninsula offers abundant areas to go bank fishing without the assistance of a fishing guide. The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center has a map available of areas to go bank fishing. Here is a quick list of areas that are available within a one-hour radius of the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center:

Kenai River Area:              

- Cunningham Park

- Rotary Park

- Ciechanski State Recreation Site

- Morgan's Landing

- Pipeline State Recreation Site

- Izaak Walton State Recreation Site

- Slikok Creek State Recreation Site

- Bings Landing State Recreation Site

- Centennial Park Campground

- Funny River State Recreation Site

- Soldotna Visitor Information Center

- Swiftwater Campground

- Kenai Keys State Recreation Site

- Soldotna Creek Park

Additional Areas:

- Crooked Creek Campground

- Anchor River

- Deep Creek

- Quartz Creek

- Ninilchik

- Ptarmigan Creek

8. What is the best time of year to go sportfishing? 

The best sport fishing is available May through September. See the fish run chart in this guide for details on the Kenai's various waterways.

9. Where is the best place to take my kids fishing?   

The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center recommends taking children to Cunningham Park and Centennial Park Campground or Soldotna Creek Park for bank fishing. The fishing is easy to access and you don't have to travel far to get to the bank or back to your car when necessary.

10. What kind of clothing do I need to have?   

When fishing in Alaska you should always be prepared. The water is swift and extremely cold. Here is list of suggested things to take along:

+First-aid kit
+Old clothes (your clothing will inevitably get ruined - or smell like fish - you can often find old flannel shirts and jeans at a second-hand store)
+Hip waders
+Rain gear
+Lightweight gloves
+Heavy socks
+Bug repellant

11. What about bugs?  

If you are bank fishing, you may need to use some bug repellant. You can purchase some at just about any local store. If you are on the river, you will not need to worry too much about the bugs. Remember that DEET, a chemical found in some insect repellents, will dissolve fishing line and other synthetic items.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game
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