Are you an avid angler dreaming of reeling in a majestic king salmon in the pristine waters of Alaska? Before you embark on your fishing adventure, it’s crucial to understand the regulations and requirements, particularly the need for an Alaska king salmon stamp. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the details of the king salmon stamp, when it’s necessary, and how to obtain one, ensuring that you’re well-prepared for your Alaskan fishing experience.

What is an Alaska King Salmon Stamp?

An Alaska king salmon stamp, also known as a chinook salmon stamp, is a special permit required for anglers who wish to fish for king salmon in the state’s waters. This stamp is mandatory for both residents and non-residents and is in addition to the regular sport fishing license. The purpose of the king salmon stamp is to support conservation efforts and maintain the sustainability of Alaska’s prized king salmon population.

Who Needs a King Salmon Stamp?

All anglers, regardless of age or residency status, must purchase a king salmon stamp if they intend to fish for king salmon in Alaska. This requirement applies to both fresh and saltwater fishing. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Alaska residents under 18 and non-residents under 16: These anglers are exempt from purchasing a king salmon stamp but must still possess a valid sport fishing license and follow all other fishing regulations.
  • Alaska residents with an ADF&G Permanent Identification Card: Residents aged 60 or older and disabled veterans who hold an Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) Permanent Identification Card do not need to purchase a king salmon stamp. This card can be obtained by applying through the ADF&G website or at any ADF&G office.

Types of King Salmon Stamps Available

Alaska offers several options for king salmon stamps, catering to the needs of both residents and non-residents:

  • Resident Annual King Salmon Stamp: Priced at $10, this stamp is valid for the entire calendar year and is available exclusively to Alaska residents.
  • Non-Resident 1-Day King Salmon Stamp: Visiting Alaska for a short fishing trip? The 1-day stamp, priced at $15, is perfect for non-residents planning a brief excursion.
  • Non-Resident 3-Day King Salmon Stamp: If you’re dedicating a few days to fishing in Alaska, the 3-day stamp, costing $30, is a suitable choice.
  • Non-Resident 7-Day King Salmon Stamp: For those spending a week fishing in Alaska’s waters, the 7-day stamp, priced at $45, will cover your king salmon fishing needs.
  • Non-Resident 14-Day King Salmon Stamp: If you’re fortunate enough to enjoy two weeks of fishing in Alaska, the 14-day stamp, costing $75, is the ideal option.
  • Non-Resident Annual King Salmon Stamp: Non-residents who frequently visit Alaska for fishing or plan an extended stay can opt for the annual stamp, priced at $100.

Where to Purchase Your King Salmon Stamp

Obtaining your king salmon stamp is a simple process. You can purchase it online through the ADF&G website, at most sporting goods stores in Alaska, or at any ADF&G office. When buying your stamp online, you can print it immediately and sign it before heading out to fish. If you purchase a physical stamp, remember to sign it in ink and affix it to your sport fishing license.

Harvest Record Cards: An Essential Companion

In addition to your king salmon stamp, you’ll need to obtain a Sport Fishing Harvest Record Card when targeting species with annual harvest limits, such as king salmon. This free card is available online, at license vendors, and at ADF&G offices. Always carry your harvest record card while fishing and record your catch immediately in the field. Although you don’t need to turn in the card at the end of the season, retain it until the fishing season concludes.

Familiarize Yourself with King Salmon Fishing Regulations

Before casting your line, take the time to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations for the area you plan to fish. These regulations may include:

  • Size Limits: Some waters have minimum and/or maximum size limits for king salmon. For example, in Southeast Alaska, the minimum size for king salmon is 28 inches.
  • Bag Limits: The number of king salmon you can keep per day or per season varies depending on the location. In most areas, the daily bag limit is one king salmon, with an annual limit of three to five fish.
  • Gear Restrictions: Certain waters may have restrictions on the type of fishing gear allowed, such as single hooks only or no bait.
  • Seasonal Closures: Some rivers and streams may have specific dates when king salmon fishing is closed to protect spawning fish.

To ensure you’re following the most up-to-date regulations, always check the ADF&G website or consult with local fishing authorities before embarking on your king salmon fishing adventure.

Best Practices for a Successful and Responsible Fishing Trip

To make the most of your king salmon fishing experience in Alaska, consider the following best practices:

  • Hire a Knowledgeable Guide: If you’re new to king salmon fishing or unfamiliar with the area, hiring an experienced guide can greatly increase your chances of success. Local guides are well-versed in the best fishing spots, techniques, and regulations.
  • Use Appropriate Gear: King salmon are powerful fish, so ensure you have the right gear to handle them. Use a sturdy rod and reel combo with a high line capacity, and choose lures or bait that are proven to be effective for king salmon.
  • Practice Catch and Release: While it’s exciting to bring home a trophy king salmon, consider practicing catch and release to help maintain healthy populations. If you do keep a fish, handle it carefully and follow all regulations regarding size and bag limits.
  • Be a Responsible Angler: Alaska’s pristine wilderness is a precious resource. When fishing, be mindful of your surroundings and practice Leave No Trace principles. Dispose of waste properly, avoid disturbing wildlife, and tread lightly on the land.


Fishing for king salmon in Alaska is an unforgettable experience, but it’s essential to understand and follow the state’s regulations, including the requirement for a king salmon stamp. By purchasing the appropriate stamp, obtaining a harvest record card, and adhering to size limits, bag limits, and other guidelines, you can enjoy a successful and responsible fishing trip.

Remember to practice catch and release when possible, respect the environment, and consider hiring a knowledgeable guide to make the most of your king salmon fishing adventure in Alaska’s stunning wilderness. With the right preparation and mindset, you’ll be ready to embark on an angling journey of a lifetime, seeking the thrill of hooking into a mighty king salmon in the heart of Alaska’s untamed beauty.

Can I fish for king salmon without a stamp if I don’t plan to keep any fish?

No, a king salmon stamp is required for all anglers fishing for king salmon, regardless of whether they plan to keep or release their catch.

Do I need a separate king salmon stamp for each day of fishing?

It depends on the type of stamp you purchase. A 1-day stamp is valid for a single day of fishing, while annual stamps cover the entire calendar year.

Can I purchase a king salmon stamp at the fishing location?

While some remote locations may not have stamp vendors, most popular fishing areas in Alaska will have sporting goods stores or ADF&G offices where you can purchase a stamp.

What happens if I catch a king salmon without a stamp?

Fishing for king salmon without a valid stamp is a violation of Alaska’s fishing regulations and can result in fines and other penalties.

Are there any special regulations for guided king salmon fishing trips?

Yes, there may be additional regulations for guided trips, such as lower bag limits or specific areas where guided fishing is allowed. Be sure to check with your guide or the ADF&G for details.

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