Sport Fishing Guides & Charter Requirements

Guide and Related Registration/Licensing Questions:

What is the quickest way to get my registration or license?
By completing a freshwater registration or saltwater license application in person at an Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) office or obtaining your registration or license through the ADF&G Store beginning early 2017 at: You will be issued a temporary registration or license that is good for 21 days until your guide/business card is mailed to you.
How long will it take for me to get my registration or license once I've applied?
If you apply in person or through the ADF&G online store, you should receive your registration/license card within 14 days. If you apply by mail, you should receive your card within 21 days. When applying please make sure you supply a valid mailing address for where you want the card sent.
If my U.S. Coast Guard license is pending can I still get my ADF&G guide freshwater registration or saltwater license?
No, not if you plan to operate a motorized vessel on navigable waters. You may apply for a guide freshwater registration or saltwater license only if you do not operate a motorized vessel with clients onboard.
May someone else apply for a registration or license for me?
Yes, they may complete and sign the application for you as your agent. Be sure they have your information in order to complete the application.
Is my saltwater guide license valid to provide sport fishing guide services in fresh water?
Yes, a guide who has a valid saltwater guide license may provide sport fishing guide services in fresh water. They will need to have a freshwater logbook to report that guiding activity. A guide who has a freshwater guide registration may only provide sport fishing guide services in fresh water; they would need a saltwater guide license and saltwater logbook to provide sport fishing guide services in salt water.
Why do I have to buy a king stamp/fishing license if I can't fish while guiding?
Alaska Administrative Code 5 AAC 75.075(c)(3) states that a guide have all current licenses, tags, and permits that are required to engage in the sport fishery for which the sport fishing guide services are being provided. In most cases statewide, guides are allowed to fish even though they may not be allowed to retain all or certain species that they catch, therefore, guides are required to have licenses, tags, and permits. At some point during a guided trip, the guide may end up assisting the client which may give the appearance of actively fishing.
Do homemade vessels have to be registered with DMV?
Yes, the only exception is personal float tube.
Do I still need to get an ADF&G registration or license if all I do is drop clients off at a fishing hole and pick them up later?
No, you do not need to be registered or licensed by ADF&G as a guide if you do not accompany the clients. The definition of "sport fishing guide services" includes accompanying or physically directing the sport fisherman in sport fishing activities during any part of a sport fishing trip. If an individual provides any direction to the clients on where to fish or what to use, or provides detailed instructions that would improve the client's success, for compensation, that individual would be considered a guide.
Is a First Aid certification from the internet allowed?
Yes, there are several internet web sites that have basic first aid training and certification.
Does the captain of the sport fish charter boat need an ADF&G guide registration or license if he has a U.S. Coast Guard license?
No, he/she doesn't need to be registered or licensed by ADF&G if he/she is not providing sport fishing guide services and only piloting the vessel, but he/she MUST have a registered or licensed guide on board the vessel.
Do deck hands need to be registered or licensed by ADF&G?
Assistants, deckhands, and similar persons who work directly under the supervision of, and on the same vessel as a sport fishing guide, do not need a sport fishing guide registration or license.
Do people transporting clients from ship to shore, or to fishing locations, need a guide registration or license?
They must have a valid U.S. Coast Guard license if they are transporting clients. A guide registration or license is required if they are assisting clients in sport fishing.
Is the (name of river) considered navigable?
Contact the U.S. Coast Guard for information regarding navigable waterways.
I rent my rafts, how do I get AK numbers and decals?
If the rental rafts are used for sport fishing guiding, the owner of the rafts will need to obtain the AK vessel numbers from the Dept. of Motor Vehicle (DMV). The ADF&G decals and year tabs are provided at the time you are issued logbooks. You will need the AK vessel numbers of the rental rafts at the time you pick up your logbooks. The decals can be made portable by adhering them to Plexiglas or wood and displaying one on each side of the raft while clients are on board. ADF&G should be informed of the AK numbers for every vessel that may be used during the course of guiding clients.
When do I have to fill out my logbook?
Freshwater and saltwater logbooks differ on when to record guided trip information. See the instructions within each logbook.
What do I do if my saltwater boat breaks down in season and I have to borrow one?
You can borrow a vessel to temporarily replace the original vessel. Use the logbook originally issued to your business to continue logging client trips for up to seven (7) days. You will also want to make certain the borrowed vessel has a decal and current year tabs. A new logbook is required if you use the temporary vessel for more than seven (7) days. Contact ADF&G if you need a new logbook and decals for the borrowed vessel.
What happens if I'm late turning in my data pages?
Contact ADF&G logbook staff in Anchorage (907) 267-2299 and explain the situation. Consideration for late submission will be evaluated. Late submissions could result in a penalty subject to a fine.