Fishing Jobs in Alaska

I've heard fishing jobs in Alaska are plentiful and that all I have to do to get one is show up there. Is that true? One of our working RVer readers asks about working in the fish industry in Alaska.

He continues with his questions about fishing jobs for RVers in Alaska:

It is going to cost a bundle to fly up to AK and I don't want to spend the money just to find out there are no jobs when I get there. I don't know much about them. Are these jobs where they pay you to go fishing? That sounds too good to be true, but you never know.

I've seen a movie about fishing for crabs and that looked downright dangerous. I don't think I could do that. Is that what these jobs are? I've heard they pay very good, but I don't want to get killed making a few bucks.

I've also heard about slime lines. Do you know what they are?

Coleen, the working while RVing editor replies:

The Alaska fishing jobs you heard about were probably the slime lines. They often need workers during the summer. The slime lines are where they clean massive amounts of salmon. It is slimy, dirty work. You stand for hours. The hours can be long. For some people, it is a way to make a decent amount of money in a short time. They sometimes have tent cities or places to park a camper on the premises or close by.

Working as a deckhand on an Alaskan fishing boat is whole different story. Deckhands go out on the salmon and halibut charters. They help the captain. They help the tourists who pay big money to go out on a charter. Pay may be per day. A good chunk of the pay may come from tips. Deckhands need to have the proper state permits.

Going out on a commercial fishing boat is yet another story. Yes, it can be dangerous. How much you make can depend on how well the boat does. Though it is hard work, I know people who love commercial fishing.

If you have the right qualifications, you can also work as a boat captain, give boat tours, or serve as a fishing guide. However, since you asked the questions you did, I'm guessing that you don't have the required training, time on the water, and licenses for those positions. You'd typically need at least a six-pack license for charters and tours, which would allow you to take out six paying customers.

Set netters also hire seasonal workers, but the set net season has been on and off. There's no guarantee the state will allow them to fish. So, you may get hired. And, you may work. Or not.

You could probably make some spending money cleaning and filleting fish for those who don't know how. Or, for those who don't want to get dirty doing it. Combine that with a campground job by the water or a fishing resort job, and it could amount to something worthwhile. But, I wouldn't make a trip up to Alaska depending on it.

During our time in Alaska, there has been work available every summer. Summer fishing jobs in Alaska are plentiful, but work can be hard, dirty, and far from glamorous. And, it probably means you will be cleaning fish, or possibly netting them, not catching them with a rod and reel.

Go to the Employment Opportunities index page listing articles about different kinds of jobs for RVers.

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