Fish Radio
Dude licenses take a dive
April 7, 2015

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch —Dude licenses were a dud and put out to pasture. I’ll tell you more after this –

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Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to try out fishing first hand, or help out a buddy on deck for a week? That was the good intention of seven day, so called dude licenses passed by Alaska lawmakers a decade ago. But they put the brakes on the practice this year because the low cost licenses were bilking the system

 “What was happening is that people were purchasing six, seven or eight of these 7 day licenses instead of buying an annual license.”

Michelle Kaelke is the Financing and Licensing Supervisor for the Department of Fish and Game.

Ten years ago when the program began, 47 dude licenses were sold; that number jumped to 1,344 in 2012. It turns out, fishermen mostly at Bristol Bay, were buying consecutive seven day licenses for $30 instead of annual ones for $250.

“About three years ago we started looking at our statistics and we were scratching our heads over why we had more non resident commercial crewmembers than residents. Once we started looking into the weeds we realized it wasn’t more people, it was that they were buying multiple licenses so they were getting counted multiple times.”

The dude license loophole was closed at the start of this year by limiting them to one per comer.  Kaelke points out that the misuse of the licenses not only cheated Fish and Game out of needed fees; it also bit into the state fund that helps injured fishermen.

 “The money from the commercial crew licenses also goes into the Fishermen’s Fund and so that fund was also losing money from these 7 day licenses.” 

You can now print all your fishing licenses from your home computer. Find links to Fish and Game’s Online store at

Thanks to the assist from KMXT/Kodiak.

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.     In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.