Things to know before you go fishing

Things to know before you go fishing

1. Where can I get a fishing license?

It’s easiest to purchase your fishing license after you arrive on the Kenai Peninsula, so you also can pick up a copy of the most current regulations. A few of the locations where a license can be purchased:

In Kenai: Tesoro Express gas stations, Holiday Station stores, Safeway, Walmart

In Soldotna: Tesoro Express gas station, Holiday Station store, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware, Sportsman’s Warehouse

In Ninilchik: Ninilchik Trading Company

In Homer: Safeway, Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware, and most fishing charter businesses

In Seward: Safeway, Bay Traders True Value, and most fishing charter businesses.


2. Does everyone need a fishing license?

You’ll need to purchase a license if you’re an Alaska nonresident over the age of 16 years of age, or an Alaskan resident between 16 and 59.

Anyone under the age of 16 is not required to buy a fishing license. You can purchase a fishing license online. Applications are available online at

A fishing license will cover any shellfish or finfish in fresh or salt waters, except king salmon. To fish for a king salmon you will need to purchase a king salmon stamp in addition to your license.


Resident license fees:

Resident annual sport fishing license, $24

Nonresident license fees:

1-day sport fishing license, $20
3-day sport fishing license, $35
7-day sport fishing license, $55
14-day sport fishing license, $80
Annual nonresident sport fishing license, $145 (military $24)


King Salmon Stamps:

Most anglers sport fishing for sea-run king salmon must have in their possession a current year’s king salmon stamp.

In order for the stamp to be valid, anglers must sign their name, in ink, across the face of the king salmon stamp and stick the stamp onto the back of their current year’s sport fishing license.


King Salmon Stamp Fees:

Resident king stamp, $10

Nonresident 1-day stamp, $10

Nonresident 1-day stamp, $20

Nonresident 3-day stamp, $50

Nonresident 14-day stamp, $100

Nonresident annual stamp, $20

Military non-resident annual stamp, $20


3. Where can I get a fishing guide?

There are a number of guide services found in the advertising pages of the guide. For a list of advertisers that offer fishing guide services, turn to page 61 of this guide.


4. How do I know if I have picked the right guide for me?

Be sure to prepare some questions to ask prospective companies before choosing a guide. Here are some suggested questions:

Do you have a valid Coast Guard license?

Are you insured?

Is the cabin big enough for all the passengers (deep sea fishing)?

Is it heated?

Is there a toilet?

What size is the boat?

How long have you been in business?

Do you have any local references?

How much time will we spend fishing and how much travel time?

What is included in your rate?

Do you provide lunch?

How much of a deposit do you require?

What if I cancel?

What if the trip is canceled due to bad weather?

Do you offer a child discount?

What age should my child be to go on a charter?


5. Where can I buy fishing gear?

While a guided tour affords the luxury of much of your necessary equipment being provided by your hosts, many local stores offer fishing equipment. You can rent or purchase most equipment, from tackle to hip waders to children’s fishing poles.

Some popular shopping locations for gear include Three Bears or WalMart in Kenai, Soldotna Trustworthy Hardware and Fishing, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Ken’s Alaskan Tackle or Fred Meyers in Soldotna, Ulmers Drug and Hardware in Homer.


6. Where can I go bank fishing?

The Kenai Peninsula offers abundant areas to go bank fishing without the assistance of a fishing guide. The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center has a map available of areas to go bank fishing. Here is a quick list of areas that are available within a one-hour radius of the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center:

Kenai River Area:

Cunningham Park
Rotary Park
Ciechanski State Recreation Site
Morgan’s Landing
Pipeline State Recreation Site
Izaak Walton State Recreation Site
Slikok Creek State Recreation Site
Bings Landing State Recreation Site Centennial Park Campground
Funny River State Recreation Site
Soldotna Visitor Information Center Swiftwater Campground
Kenai Keys State Recreation Site
Soldotna Creek Park

Additional Areas:

Crooked Creek Campground Anchor River
Deep Creek
Quartz Creek
Ptarmigan Creek


7. When is the best time of year to go sportfishing?

The best sport fishing is available May through September. See the fish run chart on page 32 of this guide for details on the Kenai’s various waterways.


8. Where is the best place to take my kids fishing?

The Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center recommends taking children to Cunningham Park and Centennial Park Campground or Soldotna Creek Park for bank fishing. The fishing is easy to access and you don’t have to travel far to get to the bank or back to your car when necessary.


9. What kind of clothing do I need to have?

When fishing in Alaska you should always be prepared. The water is swift and extremely cold. Here are a few things you should bring along:

First-aid kit, old clothes (your clothing will inevitably get ruined — or smell like fish you can often find old flannel shirts and jeans at a second-hand store), hip waders, rain gear, hat, sunglasses, jacket, lightweight gloves, pants, heavy socks, bug repellent. Be sure to pack a lot of layers.


10. What about bugs?

If you are bank fishing, you may need to use some bug repellent. You can purchase some at just about any local store. If you are on the river, you will not need to worry too much about the bugs. Remember that DEET, a chemical found in some insect repellents, will dissolve fishing line and other synthetic items.

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