Cook Inlet Area
Subsistence Fishing

Fishing Information

Strips of drying salmon hang on a rack All Alaska residents are eligible to participate in subsistence fisheries. There are several subsistence salmon fisheries in Cook Inlet. The closest fisheries to Cook Inlet's major population centers include the Tyonek Fishery on the west side of Cook Inlet and the Seldovia fishery in Kachemak Bay. Halibut may also be caught as well by residents of rural communities through the Federal subsistence halibut program. Other subsistence fisheries include herring, bottomfish, and shellfish which are described below. Additional fisheries that occur outside the nonsubsistence use areas include whitefish in the Tyone River, as well as several locations for Dolly Varden and smelt. See subsistence regulations for more information on where specific fisheries occur, open fishing periods, and allowable gear type.


Fisherman pulling his net in The fisheries for the Port Chatham, Windy Bay, Port Graham and Nanwalek subdistricts are all under one permit and are issued by Division of Commercial Fisheries. The fishery for Seldovia is also issued by Commercial Fisheries. The Division of Sport Fish in Palmer issues permits for the Yentna fish wheel fishery. Permits for Tyonek subsistence salmon fisheries may be obtained from the Subsistence Section or a local vendor. For residents of Hope, Cooper Landing, and Ninilchik a Federal subsistence fishery is also available. See The U.S. Department of Interior webpage for more details.

If you are looking for information for the Kenai, Kasilof, or Fish Creek dip net fisheries see Personal Use Fishing.


The National Marine Fisheries Service administers the subsistence halibut program under Federal regulations for residents of rural Alaska communities. To obtain a Subsistence Halibut Registration Certificate (SHARC) see the contact information at


Pacific Herring swimming Herring are found in Cook Inlet and may be harvested using gillnets outside the nonsubsistence use area. Gillnets used to take herring may not exceed 50 feet in length and two inches in mesh size. See subsistence finfish fishery regulations for more information.



Quillback Rockfish Cook Inlet does have plentiful ocean fish besides halibut such as ling cod and rockfish, especially in Lower Cook Inlet. Fishing for bottomfish in Cook Inlet for subsistence does occur as long as the harvest takes place outside the nonsubsistence use area. Both lingcod and rockfish may be harvested in Cook Inlet using a single hand troll, single hand-held line, or single longline, none of which may have more than five hooks attached to it. Both lingcod and rockfish may also be kept if they are harvested incidentally in another subsistence finfish fishery such as salmon.



At one time there were numerous clam packing facilities in Cook Inlet due to the plentiful resource. Today clam harvests still take place in several locations in Cook Inlet. In the subsistence taking of clams, the bag and possession limit for littleneck and butter clams is 40 clams of either species or in combination with minimum size limits for each species. The other shellfish subsistence fishery is Tanner crab which may be taken with pots, ring nets, dip nets, diving gear, hand lines, or by hand. See subsistence shellfish fishery regulations for more specific details.