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For the first time, residents can get their Bristol Bay subsistence permits online

Sarah Grace Durrance

People can carry around the permits on their phone instead of on paper. They can also get permits by email or at the Fish and Game offices in Dillingham and King Salmon.

People around Bristol Bay are casting their nets into the water as subsistence fishing gets underway.

For the first time ever, Bristol Bay’s subsistence permits are available in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's online store.

“The subsistence permit is free, but it’s still in the online store," said Tim Sands, an area management biologist based in Dillingham. "It’s another option available to people if they want to get their subsistence permit without having to come into the office.”

Sands said residents can also get their permit by email; that started last year.

An online permit means people can report their harvest on Fish and Game’s website, instead of by mail.

Residents can carry around the permits on their phone, instead of worrying about keeping tabs on a paper copy.

There’s another option too: If you go to the Dillingham office to get your permit in person, staff can scan the paper copy so you can save it on your phone.

There is one exception, however. State regulations say people fishing in the Naknek River drainage have to get their permits at the Fish and Game office in King Salmon.

Sands said the main reason for adding the electronic permits is convenience.


“So you don’t actually have to come to the office, although we love to see you! But I know it’s kind of a hassle for some people to get into the office," he said. "People are still worried about COVID stuff, so if they want to avoid that interaction, email or online is a way to do it. And also having it digitally on your phone makes it so you don’t have to keep a paper copy with you when you’re subsistence fishing.”

To get a subsistence permit online, go to the subsistence section of Fish and Game’s website, click on “subsistence and personal use permits” and then “online permits.” They are also available by email or in person at the Fish and Game office in Dillingham.

If you need a subsistence permit for the Naknek River drainage but can’t get to the King Salmon office, you can call (907) 246-3341 or email

Contact the author at or 907-842-2200.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.
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