Prices drop for Alaska sport fish permits

An angler casts for sockeye salmon in the “sanctuary” area of the Russian River-Kenai River confluence on Sunday, June 28, 2020 near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Elizabeth Earl/KDLL)

Alaska sport fish permit prices are slightly lower this year after the Alaska Department of Fish & Game removed a surcharge that had been in place for 15 years.

Fish & Game raised the price of permits in 2005 to pay off a $68 million bond debt. The bond financed the construction of sport fish hatcheries in Fairbanks and Anchorage, as well as hatchery enhancements in Southeast Alaska.

That debt was paid off in 2020.

“At the end of the calendar year of 2020, the surcharge essentially expired,” said Ryan Ragan, program coordinator with the department’s Division of Sport Fish.

It’s not huge change for Alaska residents. Last year’s permit was $29. Now, it’s $20.

But for nonresidents, an annual permit is down to $100 from $145. A one-day permit is down to $15 from $25.

Alaska resident sport fish permits are good for one calendar year. While more residents bought sport fish permits in 2020 than in 2019, nonresident permit sales declined last year as tourism dropped off, Ragan said. That created an almost $9 million loss in revenue for the department. Ragan said it’s hard to tell how this upcoming season will be.

You can buy a sport fish permit on the Fish & Game website.