Alaska Department of Fish and Game
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The following is a summary of regulations that apply statewide which are found in either Chapter 75 of the Alaska Administrative Code or in Title 16 of Alaska Statutes. For the full text of the Administrative Code online, go to Alaska State Legislature - Regulations For the full text of Title 16, go to Alaska State Legislature - Statutes. (See warning from the legislature regarding these links).
- Waters closed to sport fishing: (a) the waters within 300 feet of a fish weir or fish ladder are closed to sport fishing, unless a lesser or greater distance is indicated by department markers. (b) It is unlawful to cast, drift, or place by any means a hook, bait, lure, or fly into waters closed to sport fishing.
- Possession or marking of live fish or live fish eggs: It is unlawful to possess, transport, and release live fish or live fish eggs or in any way mark any live fish before release, except in accordance with the terms of a permit issued by the Commissioner under 5 AAC 41 or AS 16.05.930(a).
- Sale of sport-caught fish unlawful: No person may buy, sell, or barter sport-caught fish or their parts.
- Possession of sport-caught fish (except halibut): (a) Sport-caught fish, their parts, and articles manufactured from such fish may be possessed within the state by any person at any time, and may be transported within and exported out of the state by any person at any time except that no person may possess any unpreserved fish (see definition of preserved fish below), or part of one, not legally taken by himself, unless he furnishes, upon request of any peace officer of the state, a statement signed by the person taking the fish stating the type of fish, number of fish, location, date taken, and license number. The statement is unnecessary if the person possessing the fish is accompanied by the person who took the fish. No person may possess fish which were not legally taken. (b) A person may possess only the limit of fish allowed for the water on which that person is fishing. (c) Upon request by an ADF&G employee, a person must show to the employee fish taken and possessed by the person in a sport fishery. (d) Upon request by an employee of the department or a peace officer of the state, a person while taking fish must present, for inspection, any apparatus designed to be or capable of being used to take fish in a sport fishery.
- Possession of sport-caught halibut: Consult federal regulations. See www.fakr.noaa.gov or http://www.iphc.washington.edu/sport/8-alaska-sport.html for information.
- Molesting of fish: Molesting or impeding spawning or the natural movement of fish contrary to lawful methods and means of sport fishing is prohibited.
- Wasting of fish: The intentional waste or destruction of any species of sport-caught fish is prohibited. However, whitefish, herring, and other species for which bag limits, seasons, or other regulatory methods and means are not provided in 5 AAC 47 - 5 AAC 75 (area-specific regulations), as well as the head, tail, fins, and viscera of legally taken sport fish, may be used for bait or other purposes.
- Liability for violations: Unless otherwise provided by , 5 AAC 42 -- 5 AAC 77 (area-specific regulations), or in AS 16, a person who violates a provision of 5 AAC 42 -- 5 AAC 77 is strictly liable for the offense, regardless of that person's intent.
- Sport fishing gear: Unless provided in 5 AAC 75.020 -- 5 AAC 75.049 (area-specific regulations), or by the area regulations in 5 AAC 46 -- 5 AAC 70, sport fishing may only be conducted by the use of a single line having attached to it not more than one plug, spoon, spinner, or series of spinners, or two flies, or two hooks. The line must be closely attended.
- Use of explosives or toxicants: The use of any explosive or toxicant for taking any fish in the waters of Alaska is prohibited. The use of a shaft tipped with an explosive charge, commonly known as a bang stick or powerhead, is prohibited in fresh water and salt water.
- Gaffs prohibited: A gaff may not be used to puncture any fish intended to be released.
- Freshwater sport fishing: (1) A person may not take fish in fresh water with (a) a fixed or weighted hooks and lures (except those of standard manufacture), (b) multiple hooks with gap between point and shank larger than 1/2 inch, unless permitted in the area regulations in the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim area, (c) spear, unless permitted by the area regulations, or (d) arrow, unless permitted by the area regulations. (2) It is unlawful to intentionally snag or attempt to snag any fish in fresh water. Fish unintentionally hooked elsewhere than the mouth must be released immediately. "Snag" means to hook a fish elsewhere than in the mouth.
- Sport fishing gear for burbot: Unless otherwise provided in area regulations, burbot may be taken in fresh water with more than one line and hook if: (1) the total aggregate number of hooks used on set lines, closely attended gear, and ice fishing gear as defined in 5 AAC 75.020 and 5 AAC 75.021, does not exceed 15 or the daily bag limit for burbot in the waters being fished, whichever is less; (2) the hooks are single hooks with gap between point and shank larger than 3/4 inch; (3) each hook is set to rest on the bottom of the lake or stream; (4) each line is identified with angler s name and address; (5) each line is physically inspected at least once in each 24-hour period.
- Use of sport-caught fish as bait: (1) Whitefish, herring, and other species for which no seasonal or harvest limits are specified in 5 AAC 47 - 5 AAC 75, as well as the head, tail, fins, and viscera of legally taken sport fish, may be used for bait or other purposes. (2) Herring and other species of fish for which no seasonal or harvest limits are specified in 5 AAC 47 - 5 AAC 75 may be used as live bait, except that live fish may not be used as bait for sport fishing in fresh water. (3) Live bait may be possessed, transported, or released only in the salt waters or the regulatory area in which it was taken.
- Sport fishing gear for northern pike: Unless otherwise provided by the area regulations in 5 AAC 46 - 5 AAC 70, northern pike may be taken by spear.
- Gear for fly-fishing-only waters: In waters designated as fly-fishing-only waters, sport fishing is permitted only as follows: (1) with not more than one unweighted, single-hook fly with gap between point and shank of 3/8 inch or less; (2) Weights may only be used 18 inches or more ahead of the fly; (3) Beads not attached to the fly are not allowed.
- Sport fishing gear for shellfish: Unless otherwise provided by the area regulations in 5 AAC 46 -- 5 AAC 70, shellfish may be taken only as follows: (1) on a keg or buoy attached to each pot, the sport angler shall plainly and legibly inscribe his or her first initial, last name, home address, and the name or the Coast Guard number of the vessel used to operate the pot; (2) an escape mechanism, as described in 5 AAC 39.145, must be provided for each pot; (3) no more than five pots per person, regardless of type, with a maximum of 10 pots per vessel, regardless of type, may be used to take shellfish at any given time; (4) crab may be taken only with pots, ring nets, diving gear, dip nets, hooked or hookless lines either operated by hand or attached to a pole or rod, or by hand; (5) shrimp may be taken only with pots and ring nets; (6) clams may be taken only by hand, or with rakes, shovels, or manually operated clam guns.
- Ice fishing gear: Sport fishing through the ice is permitted using two closely attended lines, provided only one hook or artificial lure is used on each line, except that additional gear may be used for northern pike and burbot as specified in statewide or area regulations. (b)The maximum number of hooks and type of lines that may be deployed by an angler targeting all species of fish, including northern pike and burbot, is not cumulative and is equal to the maximum number of lines/hooks allowed for northern pike, burbot, or other species, whichever is greater, provided that the maximum number of lines and hooks used to target a species may not exceed the number allowed for that species. For example, in a lake where regulations allow 15 lines for burbot and 5 lines for northern pike, the maximum number of lines you may fish is 15 (not 15 + 5 = 20); and when setting your 15 lines, only 5 of them may be placed to target pike.
- Possession of licenses, stamps, and harvest record: All persons engaged in sport fishing or in possession of fish must show their sport fishing licenses, Harvest Records and special permits or stamps to any local representative of the department or to any peace officer of the state upon his request.
- Motorized vehicles in streams: It is unlawful to operate a motorized or tracked vehicle, without a valid Fish Habitat permit, in or across waters where salmon, trout, char, grayling, sheefish or whitefish spawn, rear, or migrate.
- What is an emergency order?
The commissioner or an authorized designee may, under criteria adopted by the Board of Fisheries, summarily increase or decrease sport fish bag limits or modify methods of harvest for sport fish by means of emergency orders. An emergency order has the force and effect of law after field announcement by the commissioner or an authorized designee.
These changes may not reduce the allocation of harvest among other user groups. An emergency order may not supersede bag and possession limits or methods and means established in regulatory management plans established by the Board of Fisheries. The department shall use its emergency order authority to manage sport fishing opportunity in the following circumstances:
(1) The Commissioner or an authorized designee may decrease sport fish bag and possession limits and restrict methods and means of harvest by emergency order when (A) the total escapement of a species of anadromous fish is projected to be less than the escapement goal or the lower limit of the escapement range for that species listed in management plans that have been adopted by the Board of Fisheries or established by the department; or (B) the recreational harvest must be curtailed in any fishery for conservation reasons; the department my issue a "catch-and-release only" emergency order when the estimated hooking mortality is not projected to reduce the population of fish below the number required for spawning escapement or, in the case of resident species, below the level requirement for maintenance of the desired age and size distribution of the population; "catch-and-release" as a tool to address conservation under this section shall be labeled "conservation catch-and-release" to differentiate from catch-and-release regulations adopted by the Board of Fisheries for special management to create diversity in sport fisheries.
(2) The Commissioner or an authorized designee may increase sport fish bag and possession limits and liberalize methods and means of harvest by emergency order when (A) the total escapement of a species of anadromous fish is projected to exceed the optimum escapement goal by 25 percent or the upper limit of the escapement range for that species listed in management plans that have been adopted by the Board of Fisheries or established by the department, if the total harvest under the increased bag and possession limit will not reduce the escapement below the optimum escapement goal or the upper limit of the escapement range; or (B) hatchery-produced fish escape through existing fisheries to designated harvest areas in numbers that exceed brood stock needs, any natural spawning requirements, or cost recovery goals of private nonprofit hatcheries; the intent of this subparagraph is to allow harvest when there are no other competing user groups.
ADF&G realizes that EOs may cause disappointment for anglers. We urge you to stay informed. EOs are announced in newspapers, by radio, recorded ADF&G hotlines, on the ADF&G website, and at kiosks and ADF&G offices.