Wildlife troopers keep busy despite quiet fishing season

Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Just because the winter until now has been too mild to get a lot of folks out ice fishing and trapping on the Kenai Peninsula doesn't mean Alaska Fish and Wildlife Protection Troopers have been idle.

In fact, since the beginning of the year, some two dozen people have been cited by officers in the Kenai Peninsula post for allegedly making false statements on 2002 resident sportfishing license applications.

"We're probably doing more this year than in previous years because there aren't a lot of people out ice fishing and trapping," said Sgt. Glenn Godfrey, supervisor of the Fish and Wildlife post headquartered in Soldotna.

"Our officers will patrol for four or five hours and still have three hours or so left on their shift. They come in and do these kinds of investigations," he said.

Using computer data bases and telephone to contact establishments that sell sportfishing licenses, troopers determine whether fishers provided false statements when applying for licenses last year.

The investigations require between 15 minutes and a half hour to complete and result in citations that cost the violator $300, plus a $10 court surcharge.

According to Godfrey, the apparent incentive for people to lie is the high cost of a nonresident sportfishing license.

"People who are going to be here three or four months will claim they're residents and some will say they've been here a year when they actually just moved here," Godfrey said.

A resident sportfishing license costs $15 for the entire year, plus a $10 king salmon stamp.

For a nonresident, the cost of the license varies depending on how long the person plans to fish. A one-day license costs $10; a three-day license is $20; a 14-day license is $50; and a season-long license costs $100.

If a nonresident wants to fish for king salmon, the added permit stamp costs an additional amount corresponding exactly to the cost of the license.

Most of the people cited this year for making false statements on last year's applications are Soldotna area residents who had not lived in Alaska for an entire year.

The long arm of the law, however, also has reached to Tucson, Boca Raton, Fla., Clifton Springs, N.Y., and Arlington, Texas, to nab fishers who were only visiting here last year when they claimed to be residents.

"Don't buy a resident sportfishing license until you read the license and are sure you meet all the residency requirements" is Godfrey's advice to people who don't want to be cited and fined $300.

"Read and know the law yourself," he said.

"Don't trust the information you might get from the (license) vendor."

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