License to fish II: There’s no such thing as a one-day resident license for sport fishing, but was one issued to Tshibaka in 2019?


The fishing license obtained by U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka in 2019 was a one-day fishing license, something only sold to non-residents.

Or was it?

In one place on the license, it’s a one-day license, while in another place on the license it says it is a resident license. Those two classifications can’t coexist.

The tangled question came up this weekend as to whether Tshibaka, running against U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, was entitled to fish on a resident license in the Kenai Classic invitational in 2019, as she had only returned to the state eight months prior, and a person must live in the state for 12 consecutive months before applying for a resident fishing license.

The mistakes on the license were spotted by a sharp-eyed Must Read Alaska reader, who noted that, “If you look at the bottom of the license there is a block for a date and time. Those are only used for non resident licenses. It is clear to me that that license was valid ONLY for August 23, 2019 beginning at 0600. Someone punched the incorrect box but that box is NEVER punched by the license holder.” He asked for a clarification in a followup story.

Indeed, at the top of the license, it appears that the wrong box was punched with the special fish-shaped punch. It says “RES $29 Sport Fish,” information that contradicts what the vendor had written at the bottom of the license, indicating only a single day of fishing was allowed on the permit.

The other information on the license, however, shows that Tshibaka’s residency was 15 years and 8 months, which is literally accurate, but since she didn’t live in Alaska consecutively for the prior 12 months, she made a mistake in filling out the permit to take part in the charitable event, which raises millions of dollars for fish habitat restoration and conservation on the Kenai River.

The intent of the residency permit is to distinguish those who live here and plan to stay from those who come from out of state and are only here to fish, and then leave.

Read the original story at this link.

As a rising political figure, such matters can become lightning rods for criticism. The media went after Joe Miller in 2010 for obtaining a resident hunting and fishing license shortly after he returned from college at Yale University. Miller ran against Murkowski and won in the primary, but lost after she launched a write-in campaign for the general. The mainstream media was merciless about that residency license.

On the online application, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game notes, “Alaska Resident per AS 16.05.415(a): “resident” means a person (including an alien) who is physically present in Alaska with the intent to remain indefinitely and make a home here, has maintained that person’s domicile in Alaska for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding this application for a license, and is not claiming residency or obtaining benefits under a claim of residency in another state, territory, or country; a member of the military service or U.S. Coast Guard who has been stationed in Alaska for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding this application for a license; or a dependent of a resident member of the military service or U.S. Coast Guard who has lived in Alaska for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding this application for a license. A person who does not otherwise qualify as a resident may not qualify by virtue of an interest in an Alaska business.”

But those who get licenses in the field don’t typically see that description. Tshibaka was attending the classic as a state official, at the time the commissioner of the Department of Administration. Her main role there was to get educated on the conservation and other work being done by the Kenai River Sportsfishing Association, and to learn about the importance of the Kenai salmon runs to the communities of the Kenai Peninsula.

On the Fish and Game website, it states: “Short-term non-resident fishing licenses are valid for only 1, 3, 7, or 14 days.” That is arguably the license she had when she attended the charitable event in 2019, according to some sports fishing experts.


  1. Big life lesson here folks… “proofreed everything”. I agree with the commenter who said the issuer of the license most likely punched the wrong category, and Kelly should note that in her campaign – but she signed it and should own up to not reading what she was signing… Kelly for Alaska must promise to never ever fail to read something she is signing or voting on again – turn a simple assumptive mistake into a positive campaign point.

  2. Suzanne: Please follow up and report what she (Tshibaka) was charged for her one day of fishing. What did she actually pay for her fishing liscense?

  3. Good grief. I could care less if she ran a trawler through the inlet, she’s not Murkowski. If Alaskans don’t get that? …we are done.

      • Well, Slip, it’s hard to say… you got a pulse, an IQ above room temperature, maybe a sliver of integrity. Democrats hate you,
        you’re definitely in the running.
        With ranked-choice voting you might even win.

  4. Suzanne should delve into the resident/non-resident issue as a general topic.
    In SE Alaska we have citizens who have never physically remained in the state for 12 consecutive months and who have no prior history of any kind in the state beyond coming here for summers…weren’t born here or served in the military here or attended college here or worked a year round job here…nothing except coming here to spend summers.
    Many buy property, register to vote, obtain an Alaska DL, license vehicles and boats, pay utility and other local bills, etc.
    They do everything that full time residents do except stay physically in the state over the off season. Some stay long enough to qualify each year for the PFD but some don’t.
    Some get cited by AST for falsely claiming residency and then have the choice of trial or just paying the fine.
    Those who choose trial are then subject to the individual biases of the presiding judge.
    In many cases the judge clings to any reason to dismiss the case or to find in favor of the defendant.
    AST ends up burning many man hours investigating the case only to have a judge throw the case out because the defendant brings in 12 months of utility bills and presents an Alaska DL as “evidence” of full time residency.
    FYI…individually utility bills or DLs or property tax recipients or vehicle registration or voter registration do not establish residency for fish and game resident status but if you throw the entire bundle at the judge it apparently is sufficient because the actual statutory language doesn’t explicitly require 12 consecutive months of physical residency to qualify for a resident fishing/hunting/trapping license.
    The end result of the vague statutory language on this issue is wasted law enforcement effort (in many cases), citizens enduring uncertainty and often large legal fees to fight the citation and unequal application of the law that appears totally dependent on whichever judge your case draws.
    It’s a very real problem that could be solved by the state legislature through clear and unambiguous statutory language.
    Does a person need to spend 12 full consecutive months physically in Alaska to qualify as a resident for fish and game licensing? That’s the position that some AST officers have expressed and the basis for the some of the citations they write.
    Or does owning property and paying utility or other property related bills (you don’t even need to ever be in the state to do that) or registering to vote (only requires 30 days of physical residency) or getting an Alaska DL (you can get that the day you arrive in the state) or registering a vehicle or boat (same day as you arrive also) or doing any of the other activities a person can engage in that don’t require 12 months of physical residency qualify?
    Who knows?
    Currently it’s up to the officer who checks your license or the judge who hears your case and that’s not how our legal system is supposed to work because different citizens get different outcomes on the same set of circumstances…that’s not equal protection under the law as required by the constitution.
    One way or the other this needs clarification so that everyone understands exactly the requirements for obtaining a resident fishing/hunting/trapping license in Alaska.

    • There are at least three different definitions of “resident” in application in the State govt… PFD, elections, & ADF&G – more?

  5. Boy Suzanne, you can really reach here. Heheh!
    This will be a hoot in her courtroom appearance. I’m betting she will just pay a fine and crawl away.

  6. Let’s see, one candidate gets the wrong fishing license for a day because some teenager punched the wrong box. Net cost to the state? A salmon. Maybe.

    The other candidate, unable to think analytically, knee-jerk supports Biden’s Cabinet level nominee for two reasons: 1) she’s female and 2) she’s indigenous. The Cabinet-level appointee shuts down exploration in ANWR. Net cost to the state? Billions of dollars in exploratory expenses and potential lost oil revenue.

    One cost us billions of dollars, the other cost us a salmon. That’s your choice for Senator.

  7. This is all Murkowski’s opposition research team has?
    Every Alaskan’s now gonna vote for Murkowski because somebody just found an administrative issue with Kelly Tshibaka’s 2019 fishing license, and if they don’t, the twin miracles of ballot harvesting and Dominion vote-tabulation equipment will make sure they do?
    Murkowski needs a horrific fishing-license scandal, ranked-choice voting plus Democrat Party help, and Native Corporation approval, and Dominion vote-counting machinery, truckloads of money to win the election because the campaign –and the candidate– don’t inspire popular support.
    Kelly Tshibaka, on the other hand, inspires popular support that won’t be undermined by some administrative issue with a 2019 fishing license.

    • Respectfully, you’re wrong on this one. Read the previous MRAK posts regarding KT and you’ll find most readers have a problem with her…and this is a very Conservative audience! There is no popular support even among MRAK readers, and it’s even worse when you add in the general population whose vote would be needed. Tonight, in District 6 Texas, two Republicans faced off in a Congressional runoff race. The widow of the late Congressman was believed to have “popular support” and expected to win easily. She had the TX Republican Party AND Trump’s endorsement. She lost by 6 points! You, Kelly, and the AK Republican Party are about to find out that having Trump endorse you is a very bad thing. Find a real Alaskan with at least some qualifications if you expect to replace Murkowski…and don’t let Trump endorse them!!!

      • If you do bother to read all the MRAK reports about Kelly T you will find find the opposite of your trollish “conclusion”. Lisa is on the ropes and the demrats have no one. As another commenter noted, “this is all their oppo research could find?” Kelly is a great candidate and will be a great senator. She’s very electable, even with the msm and trolls opposing her at minutely detailed points. Enjoy your schadenfreude AJ… but have some respect. If the election were held today, Kelly would get all the Trump voters (he won Alaska btw) and about 20% of the non-Trump vote – yeah, all the ones who are sick of the lib-smears. That amounts to a resounding victory.

      • Wright is the only candidate that Trump has endorsed since leaving office to lose their race. Her opponent raised a bunch more cash and he narrows the D’s hold on Congress. I’ll take it.

  8. That’s it? In the grand scheme of things, who cares? She acknowledged it, now move on to something of substance please.

  9. At least her daddy did not give her the fishing license as an “inheritance”, because, you know, “she was the most qualified candidate”.

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