Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Secondary Site Navigation
Cook Inlet Area
Information — Subsistence Fishing
All Alaska residents are eligible to participate in subsistence fisheries. There are several subsistence salmon fisheries in Cook Inlet. The closest fisheries to Cook Inlet’s major population centers include the Tyonek Fishery on the west side of Cook Inlet and the Seldovia fishery in Kachemak Bay. Halibut may also be caught as well by residents of rural communities through the Federal subsistence halibut program. Other subsistence fisheries include herring, bottomfish, and shellfish which are described below. Additional fisheries that occur outside the nonsubsistence use areas include whitefish in the Tyone River, as well as several locations for Dolly Varden and smelt. See subsistence regulations for more information on where specific fisheries occur, open fishing periods, and allowable gear type.
Salmon may be harvested for subsistence by obtaining a permit from the Division of Commercial fisheries for the Port Chatham, and Windy Bay subdistricts, and from the Division of Sport Fish in Palmer for the Yentna fish wheel fishery. Permits for the Tyonek, Seldovia, Port Graham, and Nanwalek subsistence salmon fisheries may be obtained from the Division of Subsistence or a local vendor. For residents of Hope, Cooper Landing, and Ninilchik a Federal subsistence fishery is also available. See http://www.doi.gov/subsistence/index.cfm for more details.
If you are looking for information for the Kenai, Kasilof, or Fish Creek dip net fisheries see Personal Use Fishing.
The National Marine Fisheries Service administers the subsistence halibut program under Federal regulations for residents of rural Alaska communities. To obtain a Subsistence Halibut Registration Certificate (SHARC) see the contact information at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/ram/subsistence/halibut.htm
Herring are found in Cook Inlet and may be harvested using gillnets outside the nonsubsistence use area. Gillnets used to take herring may not exceed 50 feet in length and two inches in mesh size. See subsistence regulations for more information.
Cook Inlet does have plentiful ocean fish besides halibut such as ling cod and rockfish, especially in Lower Cook Inlet. Fishing for bottomfish in Cook Inlet for subsistence does occur as long as the harvest takes place outside the nonsubsistence use area. Both lingcod and rockfish may be harvested in Cook Inlet using a single hand troll, single hand-held line, or single longline, none of which may have more than five hooks attached to it. Both lingcod and rockfish may also be kept if they are harvested incidentally in another subsistence finfish fishery such as salmon.
At one time there were numerous clam packing facilities in Cook Inlet due to the plentiful resource.
Today clam harvests still take place in several locations in Cook Inlet. Clams may be taken year round in Cook
Inlet and include up to 1000 littleneck clams and 700 butter clams. The other shellfish subsistence fishery is
Tanner crab which may be taken with pots, ring nets, dip nets, diving gear, hand lines, or by hand. See
subsistence regulations for more specific details.