Division of Sport Fisheries

Israel Payton
Director of the Division of Sport Fish

Tom Brookover

Israel Payton was born in a small cabin on the Hayes River, which is a remote tributary of the Susitna River. He and his family later moved down river to their current homestead on the Yentna River near the small community of Skwentna. They lived a subsistence lifestyle and took what they needed from the land and water. It was through these experiences that Israel learned the true value of the resources of Alaska. Israel later obtained a commercial pilots license and has since flown across the state on hunting and fishing endeavors.

“As a bush pilot, I have flown in and out of numerous remote locations across Alaska and spent many years guiding sport anglers and hunters,” Payton said. “No other place can compare. I see this as a testament to exceptional management practices and I am grateful to be in a position to continue to ensure that these resources remain healthy and sustainable for generations to come.”

Israel brings a wealth of experience to his position as Director of the Division of Sport Fish. Israel served on the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) for seven years. Prior to that, he served 10 years on a Fish and Game advisory committee.

“Serving in these positions provided me with an in-depth understanding and appreciation for what Fish and Game does to protect Alaska’s resources,” he said. “Over the years, ADF&G staff have really impressed me with their passion and professionalism toward their jobs. This drove my desire to be part of the Sport Fish team.”

Some of Israel’s goals in his position include implementing and following the ADF&G mission, guiding principles, core services, and goals; following and reinforcing the division’s strategic plan and ensuring staff have the support they need, while maintaining and improving relationships and trust with the public, BOF, other agencies, and within the department.